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Utah Jazz notebook: Don't expect any players to learn Turkish

Published: Friday, Dec. 23 2011 11:44 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson has a memo for the Jazz's only remaining Turkish player.

Big Al is happy to pick up where traded center Mehmet Okur left off. He'll gladly help rookie Enes Kanter learn the ways of the NBA.

But the lessons won't be in Turkish.

"No," Jefferson said, smiling. "He's going to have to brush up on his English."

Paul Millsap agreed — yes, in English — with Jefferson.

"I've been trying to learn Spanish and that's tough (enough)," Millsap said. "I don't know about Turkish."

Kanter and Okur communicated in their native tongue, and the 19-year-old might've been teased when told about Okur's language-teaching efforts in Utah.

"I think Memo taught lots of people Turkish here, because he's been here long time," Kanter said. "Lots of people can speak Turkish here."

Fortunately, Kanter has picked up English in the U.S. after attending Kentucky for one year and going to an American high school.

"He's getting better," non-Turkish-talker C.J. Miles said.

But Kanter is a shy kid, Miles noticed. The Turk is "loosening up," the veteran Jazz player claimed. But Kanter barely spoke when the team visited children in hospitals Thursday afternoon.

At one point, Miles joked, "You going to talk today?"

"No," Kanter replied — yes, in English. "I'm chilling."

Hearing that cool description made Miles laugh and say, "You got it."

ENTER OSTERTAG JOKE HERE: Former Jazz center Greg Ostertag is reportedly attempting to revive his pro basketball career.

The Big O, now 38, has signed a D-League contract, according to RidiculousUpside.com. The 7-foot-2 center must clear waivers before being claimed by a team Tuesday.

Ostertag's 11-year NBA career ended in the 2005-06 season after he returned to Utah.

No word on whether or not Karl Malone has been training Ostertag.

SOME HELP, SANTA?: The Jazz haven't had a day off since beginning camp on Dec. 9, so Millsap's family might receive Jazz schedules or NBA socks for Christmas.

Either that, or Millsap could go on a Christmas Eve shopping spree.

"I haven't even started (shopping)," he said, laughing. "With the things we've been doing, we haven't really had time to go out and pick and choose things."

ROSTER WATCH: General manager Kevin O'Connor said the Jazz will monitor the waiver wire — the NBA one, presumably — this weekend to see if an enticing player becomes available.

Because of the condensed 66-game schedule, Utah wouldn't mind increasing its roster to 14 again after dropping to 13 with Okur's absence.

NBA teams have to whittle their 2011-12 roster's down to 13-15 players today.

GOLFING GIANT: Coach Tyrone Corbin chuckled while reminiscing about Okur's golf game, a hobby the 6-foot-11 big man picked up in recent years.

"Imagine seeing a big guy like him out on the golf course," Corbin said. "But he really enjoyed the game, and he got good fast."

As much as he likes his former player, Corbin laughed when claiming Okur hadn't passed his golf game up just yet.

"He didn't start to beat me," the coach said. "He would win a few holes."

Still, the 6-foot-6 Corbin was impressed with how well such a tall guy played golf.

"He got to where he could hit the ball," Corbin added. "He would make some not-so-good shots and have a pretty funny response to it."

Those might have been the Turkish words Okur told Kanter he taught teammates.

Email: jody@desnews.com

twitter: DJJazzyJody

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