Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin eager to get ball rolling

By Lynn Debruin

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Dec. 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Boone said Hall of Famer Sloan may still be the most influential mentor as Corbin spent three seasons as a player under him and almost seven as an assistant.

Guard-forward Miles said he wouldn't be surprised to see Corbin let the team "open it up a little more" because of its youth and quickness.

"It's just a matter of us earning the trust and showing we can do it without turning the ball over and taking bad shots," Miles said.

Corbin is not Sloan, and he's surely not the average Utah resident.

He is Southern Baptist in a Mormon-dominated state, black where the population is 86 percent white.

This summer, the native of Columbia, S.C., was honored with a key to the city.

"For me, it was great because my family could be there and I had some friends come up," said Corbin, who displays a southern disposition with his personable style and infectious laugh.

Columbia remains a place where he can still be "just Tyrone," cutting the grass, trimming trees at his mom's house or sitting by a pond and fishing if he wants.

Though he'd spend the better part of two months there because of the extended offseason, and get a chance to see his basketball-playing son settle in at UC Davis, Corbin is champing at the bit to get the ball rolling again in Salt Lake City.

"I'm sure he's up in his office, sweating right now, itching to get on the court," Millsap said. "He's a guy who wants to get better. That's why guys respect him, why he's going to succeed."

Corbin promised all offseason he would be ready to hit the ground running.

"You've got to be ready coming out of it because no one's going to feel sorry for you so you can't feel sorry for yourself," he said.

"My mom never made excuses. She never allowed us to make excuses. You came where you came from but you can pick yourself up if you work your way through it."

It helped that he had golf to relieve the stress of a long summer.

If that outlet hadn't been available, Corbin said, "I don't think anybody would enjoy being around me."

While Corbin's golf game may have improved, his personality hasn't changed through the years.

He can laugh at himself. He won't use balls that bear his name on holes where he might accidentally hit a house. And when his tongue curls up over his lip, ?la Michael Jordan, after each swing, he quips, "That's about the only trait we share."

Then there's that propensity to sweat, which his assistants constantly rib him about. Even when putting a group of season ticket holders through workouts during the lockout, Corbin was drenched through his polo shirt.

"He was into it," assistant Sidney Lowe said. "That's who he is. That's him all the time."

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere