August Miller, Deseret News
The Jazz get their first almost real-deal look at first-round draft pick rookie center Kosta Koufos tonight when they open Rocky Mountain Revue play with an NBA summer-league game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Since Revue camp opened Monday, though, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has had an up-close peek during closed-to-the-media practices.
And he apparently likes what he's seen so far.
"He's only 19 years old and hasn't had the experience of being here," said Sloan, who had only seen Koufos play on tape when the Jazz drafted him last month. "But he has worked hard. That's all you can ask, and you let the rest of it take care of itself. He has some things that he can work on, as everybody does. But he has some things that can be worthwhile to his career.
"He runs pretty well for a big guy. He seems to have pretty good hands. He has the ability to be able to shoot the ball pretty well."
Sloan especially enjoys the 7-foot-1 big man's long-distance shot, even if it does seem to be a bit funky-looking.
"So was Larry Bird's. Larry Bird's shot was kind of ugly at times. Except it went in," he said. "I'll tell you one thing: When he (Koufos) gets the ball on the perimeter there and looks at the basket, you think it's going in. There are not a lot of guys (like that). But you think his shot's going in just about every time he shoots it."
Attitude seems to fall on the plus side, too.
"Obviously he's a young kid who's gonna have to work very hard to make himself a player. I mean, who else doesn't have to do that?" Sloan said. "Very few have come in this league that can just step out here and play. (But) he seems to be aware of the fact he's gonna have to work.
"He looks like a guy that can (make the league)," the Jazz coach added. "At 23rd (overall) ... he seems like to me a very good pick."
The six-day, eight-team Revue at Salt Lake Community College's Lifetime Activities Center gets under way today with Dallas facing Atlanta, and it concludes July 25.
LARRY'S LOCKER: After Wednesday's promotion of Jazz owner Larry H. Miller's oldest son Greg Miller to chief executive officer of Miller's business empire, Sloan suggested he has no idea how or even if he'd be impacted.
"I work for whoever's in charge," the Jazz coach said. "That's never been a problem."
Greg Miller on Wednesday said he has no plans to have a stall in the Jazz's locker room like his father a presence Sloan at first found awkward when he worked for the franchise as an assistant 20-plus years ago, but now has come to not only accept but enjoy.
"I always felt like (the locker room) was someplace that our owner didn't belong, but as I experienced it with (former coach) Frank (Layden) and worked under those conditions, I think it's the best thing you can have," he said. "Because you don't have to listen to hearsay. You see it first hand.
"You know, he (Larry Miller) has given us a great deal of support over the years in anything that's come up, and you can't ask for a better situation that that."
JURY STILL OUT: Asked in an online chat this week how Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko looked working out earlier this summer at IMG Academies in Florida, and if Fesenko still has "what it takes to become a stud" in the NBA, David Thorpe an NBA analyst for ESPN.com, and executive director of the Academies' Pro Training Center offered this response:"He barely practiced when I was there. Sick, injured, etc. He could be a max player, or he could end up back in Ukraine."
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