Posted by: Diana on June 15th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Hectic, excitement and craziness seem to be the only words to describe the atmosphere of the 3rd pre-draft workout for the Utah Jazz. Those are the words that describe any event with Jimmer involved.
A few weeks ago the Jazz worked out Michael Stockton and Jackson Emery there was a fair amount of media in attendance but it failed in comparison to how the workout was today with Jimmer and Kemba. Today was just crazy.
As I walked into the Zions Bank Basketball Center I was greeted by a friendly usher who normally works at the ESA. This usher had a list of who was invited into this prestigious Jazz event. I a little less nervous than last time, walked through the door with confidence ready for the day. I told the usher my name, he asks me to repeat, I do. ” I’m sorry dear your not on the list”. My heart pounding I think oh no, I had just talked with the Jazz yesterday I should be on the list. I tell the usher the name of the person who invited me, he doesn’t recognize the name, now I’m really beginning to panic. Just at that moment, a girl walks down the spiral staircase in the middle of the entry way, she knows the person who invited me. She tells me to sit and wait till that person arrives. I sit down, my heart is now calming down, I will get in. I will get to see Jimmer and Kemba.
As I am sitting more members of the media arrive. DJ and Scotty G arrived as I was talking with the usher, Brian Smith of the Tribune arrive shortly after. I wished I was as famous as those people so I could just pass the usher and sign in at the PR table and be on my way (everyone who came had to sign in with the Jazz’s PR department, they did not have that at the previous workout).
As I am waiting, Jody from the Desert News comes through the door. I wave at Jody and he kindly comes over and talks to me. It feels like I’m talking with an old friend, with how friendly and interactive Jody is with fans on Twitter.
Shortly after Jody leaves, the person who invited me arrives. I get to pass the usher and the table and go through that magic hallway where the real media has been disappearing through.
Finally I made it to the media waiting room, and waiting I did. It was fun to chat with the people around me, it was fun to watch the people who’s reports I have read since being a kid. I also thought of Sloan thinking how many press conferences he must have done in this room and thinking of his last one. I imagined there must have been a much different feel on that dreadful February day.
Today, however, the feeling in the room was hope. It seemed like the majority of the media in the room waiting was genuinely excited to be there. It seemed to me that it was an excitement that many hadn’t felt while covering the Jazz the past season.
The excitement of the Jazz having a fresh start with their 3rd and 12th picks this year. The freedom to make moves to improve their team, through the picks or through trades. The excitement amplified because of who was working out for the Jazz today. The Jazz having two of the top college players going at each other as we waited. The local hero going against the best player of the NCAA championship team.
The time ticked slowly by as we waited for the workout to finish. Jonathan comes in and talks to everyone, again this didn’t happen last time. Jonathan tells us exactly what will happen and when we can talk to which player and made sure we knew when we couldn’t talk to players. Jonathan said we were to talk to Kemba first while Jimmer talks to KFAN and then Jimmer second while Kemba had his interview with KFAN. We weren’t to talk to Jimmer first even though he’d be in the room for a bit for his KFAN interview, we were to talk to Kemba.
As we were walking in I felt like I was taking part in a small day in Jazz history, a day that will be remembered even if the Jazz don’t draft Jimmer or Kemba. There are plenty of people in the gym as we went in, not just the players and coaches like during the 2nd workout. When I walked in I noticed Gail Miller talking in the corner with Coach Rose and some of the other BYU coaches. Kevin O’Connor is also there standing around with other members of the Jazz Brass. Everyone was talking anxiously, a very happy good energy in the air.
(photo via ksl.com)
I am standing talking to Jody again, and the craziness begins, in a flash you see a crowd of people streaming to the same spot of the gym, its time to interview Kemba. Kemba is confident while talking with the media, and was patient although 80% or more of the questions had to do with how Jimmer did in the workout. I even asked Kemba a question. I asked Kemba if he was drafted how the Jazz might help him shine in the NBA with their history of point guards like John Stockton and Deron Williams. Kemba kind of laughed and said how he would never be able to live up to those standards but how he would work hard and do everything he could to be a good point guard for the Jazz if drafted by them. The media slowly began to leave Kemba, I was one of the last to leave thats how I got in my question to him.
There were a few minutes to wait between when we were able to interview Kemba and when Jimmer came in for his interview, again its fun to look around and realize who I am with and where I am. The feeling in the room changed once Jimmer entered again. I didn’t notice him at first it was just strange how there was a noticeable change in the room.
Standing in the scrum of media members I am a little bit closer to Jimmer than I was to Kemba. It was nice, because being the shortest one there it was sometimes hard to see Kemba while he was talking. Jimmer is as confident as Kemba if not more so. Jimmer is used to the attention and is not phased by it at all. The questions are coming quick, I try a few times to talk but am unsuccessful the first few attempts. About five minutes into the interview I ask my question successfully. Someone had asked him about what it was like to have Coach Rose and others from BYU there. I followed up asking if Coach Rose gave him any advice before this workout. He answered with
Not before this workout specifically but before the whole process began he told me to go out there and don’t change and you’ll be alright, show them that you can compete. Play exactly how Jimmer plays. That’s what he told me and thats what I tried to do.
I was thrilled to get a question in with everyone still around, it almost felt like a rite of passage. After Jimmer answered questions things seemed to die down a lot. Coach Rose did a small interview, then Coach Corbin and finally Kevin O’Connor. It was cool to witness a Kevin O’Connor “no comment” in real life.
Today was just an incredible day. Randy Rigby later on KFAN said it was a “monumental day for Jazz workouts”
To see interviews in case you haven’t yet check them out here.
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