TAYLORSVILLE — Amid the ragtag play at the Pro Players Charity Classic Monday night at SLCC Lifetime Activities Center, a first-round draft choice stood out above all the NBA veterans.
No, not Enes Kanter.
No, it wasn't Jimmer Fredette.
It was actually the Jazz's second first-round choice, Alec Burks of Colorado, who stole the show in a game featuring Jazz players against NBA stars and a few other Jazz players.
Burks, the No. 12 overall pick out of Colorado, scored 29 points on 12 of 13 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. And he did it despite playing less than half the game.
"It was great, a lot of fun," the 6-foot-6 shooting guard said afterward. "I hadn't done this in awhile, so it was fun to get on the court and play a game."
And what about that shooting range?
"People don't think I can shoot," he said. "But I've been working hard and it showed a little bit here tonight. I'm ready to play basketball."
Another former first-round draft choice who impressed Monday night was Derrick Favors, the 6-10 forward out of Georgia Tech. Favors finished with 24 points, including 16 in the third quarter when he put on a dunking exhibition.
"It was fun to get out here and play in front of the fans and to play with the guys again," said Favors. "I've been working out so hard and I've got a lot more confidence in my game."
Neither Burks nor Favors started the game for the Jazz side, but their play off the bench was a big difference in the eventual 144-128 victory.
Burks entered the game with a little under four minutes left in the first quarter and immediately made his presence known with a drive to the basket, ending with a dunk.
About a minute later, he scored on a reverse layup and within another minute, he threw down another dunk off a nice pass from Favors from the baseline.
OK, so Burks can score inside.
But just before the end of the quarter, he fired in a 3-pointer from the left angle, the first of five on the night.
The purple team, which was down 19-13, was suddenly up 30-26 as Burks led all scorers with nine points in a little more than three minutes of action.
The second quarter was more of the same as Burks opened the scoring with a reverse dunk and followed with a 3-pointer from the right angle. Ninety seconds later, Burks connected with another 3-pointer again from the right angle.
That was eight points in less than three minutes, giving Burks 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting in less than eight minutes of play.
The only thing that stopped Burks was former University of Utah star Johnnie Bryant, who was acting as the Jazz coach and left him on the bench for the final six minutes of the half.
In the third quarter Burks just kept going. He didn't get in until the 3:55 mark, but after assisting on baskets by Elijah Millsap and Favors, he scored on a layup. Then he closed the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers from the left side and right side to put the Jazz up 100-92.
Burks finally missed a shot early in the fourth quarter, but came back with a breakaway dunk a minute later and added another dunk.
The leading scorer in the game was Golden State's Stephen Curry, who poured in 38 points, made several of his patented long-range bombs from "Jimmer" range and also impressed with several dunks.
Fredette finished with 19 points, despite missing on about a half dozen long-range shots, but he showed he can play with the big boys.11 comments on this story
As for Kanter, he left the game midway through the first quarter with a bloody chin, courtesy of Favors' elbow and didn't return. He had eight stitches to go along with his four points.
Other impressive performances were turned in by Jeremy Evans, who scored 17 with several spectacular dunks that excited the crowd, C.J. Miles, who scored 21 and NBA veteran Corey Maggette, who scored 22.
The game benefited several charities, including the Special Olympics. At halftime a pair of local Special Olympic teams entertained the crowd with a 10-minute mini-game.