Judging from the 40 messages Wesley Matthews had waiting when he turned on his phone after Thursday's game, word is spreading about the undrafted rookie out of Marquette, the surprise to the Jazz's season so far.
Matthews had the best game of his young career on the brightest stage, scoring 12 points in 25 minutes against the Spurs on TNT. He played the final 14:59, including the entire fourth quarter ahead of Ronnie Brewer .
"I thought it was a great game for him to break out," Deron Williams said. "You know, national TV game, the other 29 teams watching. It was good for him."
Matthews has played 63 minutes through five games, compared to 15 minutes for Eric Maynor , the Jazz's first-round draft pick. He impressed Thursday by repeatedly attacking the basket as well as hitting a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter.
The Jazz opted to carry Matthews as the 14th player on their opening night roster after losing C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver to injury. As happy as he was to make the team, Matthews has refused to be satisfied with just that.
After Thursday's game, Matthews was asked if he felt as if he was establishing himself in the Jazz's rotation and emerging as a contributor.
"A little bit," Matthews said, "but there's still things I can do better. I feel like I can always get better -- every player can always get better. I've just got to keep going out there, proving myself, making sure that I'm bringing energy every day and defense.
"That's my mind-set. Offense just happens when I'm playing with guys like Booz [ Carlos Boozer ] and D-Will and A.K. [ Andrei Kirilenko ] and everybody. I just have to make sure I'm just doing the right things."
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Matthews made a strong first impression in summer league practices and has continued to do so with his willingness to defend. "We're looking for some of that," Sloan said, "so we let him play some."
From his arrival in training camp, Matthews has acted as if he belongs. There's no guarantee what will happen once Miles and Korver return given the Jazz's luxury-tax payroll. For now, Matthews was asked about exceeding his own expectations.
"Not yet," he said. "I just want to make sure I get better and make sure I'm not content -- and I know I'm not and I know I'm still hungry. At the same time, stay humble and just be excited.
"You know, this is a dream. There's so many people that wish they could do what we do right now. And even if my contract's not guaranteed, a lot of people would love to be where I'm at right now."
At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Sacramento rookie Tyreke Evans made an impression against the Jazz in the preseason. "For a point guard, he's about as big as they come," Sloan said of Evans, who scored 21 points but also committed seven turnovers.
"He's a big guy, he's a strong guy," Williams added. "I was really impressed with him. I don't watch much college basketball, so I was just going off what I heard. But he can definitely play the game."
Williams sat out practice after getting kicked in the shin and banging his hip Thursday but is expected to play tonight. ... Kirilenko's family was set to be reunited Friday night after his adopted daughter, Alexandra , had her passport and visa approved. "It's finally finished," Kirilenko said of an adoption process that started months ago.