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Utah Jazz: Rookies Enes Kanter and Alec Burks ready to begin pro careers

Published: Friday, Dec. 9 2011 9:50 p.m. MST

Burks, meanwhile, already got an opportunity to strut his stuff for Jazz fans a few weeks ago in the Pro Players Charity Classic at Salt Lake Community College, where he poured in 29 points and may have answered some skeptics' doubts about his outside shooting ability.

"I'm just showing everybody I'm getting better ... that's what I wanted to show people," said Burks, who averaged averaging 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game during his sophomore year at Colorado last season. "People don't think I can shoot, they don't give me (respect) on my jumper as I deserve, so I just showed people a little bit of that, too.

"I work on that all the time. I've put emphasis on working on that during the lockout."

Kanter and Burks realize that rookies often get some "special treatment," like being forced to use pink backpacks or carrying their teammates' luggage on road trips, as well as helping pack around the team's ball bags and other equipment.

It's a rite of passage that every rookie must accept.

"It doesn't matter," Kanter said. "If it's like a tradition, so I'm just going to do it to like the other rookies."

"I don't have no problems doing that," Burks agreed. "I'd rather do that than be back home doing nothing. I'll do whatever they need me to do. I'll be a rookie for you."

Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin has high expectations for these two young men, and it all starts with training camp this weekend.

"I expect them to come in and work hard, pay attention, learn, and learn the things that they need to learn as far as strategic-wise so they can get to their talent," he said. "There's going to be a lot of different things for them. The game's going to be a lot faster, the guys are going to be bigger, stronger and faster, and they have to get used to that so they can get back to just playing basketball.

"Initially, it's going to be a little shock for them, because it's so late in the season and we don't have extended training camp and we don't have many exhibition games. But they're going to learn on the curve and, looking at them on film and talking to them individiually and understanding their excitement about being here, the curve should be short for them."

Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan seldom let rookies get much playing time in their first season, but Corbin has more of a wait-and-see approach toward these two.

"You know what, we'll see," he said. "It's so early in the process and I really haven't had time with them on the floor yet to see how they mix in with this group of guys. We're going to throw it out there and I want them to expect to play, to work like they expect to play, and we'll see where it falls."

Corbin also expects Okur's presence to be a huge help to Kanter.

"I think he can help Enes tremendously because he's a veteran," Corbin said of his "other" Turkish center. "They can communicate because they're from the same country and know the same language.

"I can say something to him where sometimes those foreign guys look at you and give you that blank look, which means they really don't understand what you're saying," he laughed. "I hope Memo can come across and help us out a little bit there."

Yep, it's all part of NBA Basketball 101. And it's in full swing starting this weekend.

Email: rhollis@desnews.com

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