Looking up in the rafters, I was seeing a lot of greatness up there.
SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday was field trip day for the Utah Jazz.
They didn't pack sack lunches and hop on a school bus, but the team ventured away from its practice facility for a welcome break.
The youngest team members were, no doubt, the most excited about the destination.
This was the first visit rookies Enes Kanter and Alec Burks ever made to their new place of employment, EnergySolutions Arena.
"I've played at Madison Square Garden, and that's about the closest thing I've ever seen to that," Burks said. "It was just unreal. You see a dream in front of your eyes. It was just crazy."
The Delta Center opened on Oct. 4, 1991, less than three months after the 20-year-old's birthday (July 20). Burks, a Missouri native who played at Colorado, was surprised by the number of seats (19,911). He thought the arena had a "crazy design," which is a good thing.
Kanter has seen big basketball buildings, including Kentucky's Rupp Arena, which holds 24,000. But the Turkish native sat out as a freshman last season due to eligibility issues, so he's never played in a facility that size.
"The arena was great," Kanter said. "I was just like, 'Wow. I'm going to play here the next years.' I was really excited. It was real big and it was just crazy."
The Jazz visited ESA to film promotional shots and to have pictures taken for the upcoming season.
Be forewarned: Kanter said some dancing was involved.
But, he added, "It was fun."
NBA hopeful Trey Gilder doesn't have a guaranteed contract, so his mind ran wild with hopeful dreams when he stepped onto Larry H. Miller Court.
"I was thinking I want to stay here," he said.
The ex-Northwestern State small forward, who played two games with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, was in awe of banners and retired jerseys high in the building.
"Looking up in the rafters, I was seeing a lot of greatness up there," said Gilder, who's played professionally in the D-League and Australia. "I want to be able to put on the jersey on opening night."
Burks smiled when asked if visiting the Jazz's arena — they also got to check out the locker room for the first time — made his NBA dream-come-true seem more real.
"It's been real since we started. It's hit me real hard," Burks said. "Going in the gym yesterday made it even more real for me."
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Utah only had one practice Wednesday, so you can imagine how excited players were to resume two-a-days Thursday after cramming in six workouts from Sunday through Tuesday.
"I kind of want the games to get here now, so you won't have to do two-a-days anymore," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said, chuckling. "You want the games to get here. You're excited for it. We're ready to play."
Utah has one workout today before doubling up again Saturday with a morning practice and a 7 p.m. intrasquad scrimmage at ESA.
HAPPY TO PRACTICE: It took five days, but former Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds finally practiced Wednesday after receiving FIBA clearance.
He's thrilled to practice.
"It was good," said Reynolds, who's played in Italy and the Philippines. "I know it was light for them. For me, it was just good to get back onto the court, get my feet wet as far as sharpening my skills and learning the offense with actually being on the court."
Reynolds credited starting point guard Devin Harris and the coaching staff for spending extra time to help him get up to speed.Comment on this story
SICK BAY: Point guard Jamaal Tinsely missed his third practice in a row with stomach flu. The former Pacer was expected to rejoin the Jazz for Thursday's night session.