Utah Jazz notebook: Long wait over for athletic Paul Carter

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 10:40 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — If patience is a virtue the Jazz want in players, Paul Carter might have a great shot at a roster spot.

That was all the NBA hopeful could show the team during its first six practices.

Because they needed clearance from basketball's international governing body, camp invitees Carter and Scottie Reynolds weren't able to start practicing when the Jazz began.

Reynolds, a former Villanova guard, still awaits his green light. But Carter, an Illinois-Chicago forward, finally got to join Jazz practice Tuesday.

"Man, I'm glad I get to practice today," Carter said while warming up.

Both players recently played international hoops — Carter in Cyrus (the Greek Island); Reynolds in the Philippines — so FIBA needed to verify that they do not have contractual obligations prohibiting them from playing in the NBA.

So they waited — and still wait.

"It's the worst feeling sitting around watching," said Carter, who's been in Utah since Friday. "But you know you're blessed to be able to practice, so that's all you can do."

Well, besides text and re-text your agent and ask Jazz management over and over, "Did you hear anything?"

The 6-8, 203-pound forward played at Minnesota before transferring to the University of Illinois-Chicago. Carter, called a "tremendous athlete" by coach Tyrone Corbin, participated in two Jazz pre-draft workouts. Utah is interested in seeing if the usual power forward can play small forward.

"He's a competitor. He can shoot the ball," Corbin said. "He's long and rangy and can play some three for us."

The Jazz now have 16 players — not counting Reynolds — on a roster that must be trimmed to 13-15 by the end of next week. Carter, Northwestern State forward Trey Gilder and point guards Jamaal Tinsley and Keith McLeod have non-guaranteed contracts.

Carter believes he can still make the team despite the late start.

"My hopes are always up," he said. "That's just who I am — just come out and do what you can do and let the chips fall where they may."

Carter said Earl Watson and Al Jefferson were among players who asked every morning if he'd been cleared.

"I told them (Tuesday) I'm practicing," Carter said, smiling. "They're like, 'Finally ... now we get to see what you actually do.' "

NO HURRY: Corbin continues to evaluate rotations, and he hasn't finalized starters or reserves.

"It's not a rush on it," he said. "We'll feel our guys to see which combination we feel is going to give us the best chance to advance faster. We want to make sure the guys understand the importance of winning and not just (worry about) who's getting the start and who's coming off the bench."

NICE SURPRISES: Asked who's shown something positive he wasn't expecting, Corbin mentioned three players. (Media members aren't allowed to watch Jazz practices.)

— On rookie shooting guard Alec Burks: "He's rangier than I thought he was. His ability to get from one spot to another in such a quick time is a little bit more than I thought at this point in his career."

— On power forward Derrick Favors: "His quickness and (going) faster longer, and he can get to one spot on the defensive end to another spot to make a play. He's stronger in defending his own man in the post."

— On center Al Jefferson: "The way he's come back, his physical shape, first of all. His ability to move and help on defense and run the floor and try to help guys out has been great."

JAZZ & JOSH: Free agent Josh Howard met Tuesday with the Jazz about a potential contract, ESPN reported. His camp said the Jazz and San Antonio have offered the small forward a "firm offer." On Saturday, Utah general manager Kevin O'Connor said they'd had "serious discussions" but no formal offer had been made.

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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