Britton Johnsen knows the odds are against him. He knows the Jazz roster is already filled to the brim with 15 players under contract. He knows his chances of ending up in an NBA uniform for his hometown team are slimmer than he is.
The former University of Utah standout also knows that opportunities to participate in NBA training camps are rare, especially for 29-year-olds.
Another thing he knows?
You just never know what might happen.
It's that hope of the unknown that enticed Johnsen to accept an invitation to participate in the Jazz's upcoming fall camp.
"I know there's no spots open as of now," Johnsen said. "I'm going to go and try to do everything I can to make the team; that's my ultimate goal. At the same time, I understand it's going to be a tough (goal to achieve)."
Johnsen had other offers from across Europe where he's spent most of the past four years after short NBA stints with Orlando and Indiana but he decided to seize the Jazz's offer. And why not? At the very least, he'll get a trip to Idaho out of it. It also could open another NBA door.
"There's always openings over there," he said, referring to Europe. "I'm just kind of looking at this like maybe something good will happen out of it."
A severely bruised left thigh limited Johnsen's court time with the Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue squad this summer. But before the injury, the 6-10 forward averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 17 minutes in two summer-league games. He called the contusion "bad timing, bad luck," but he says "it's perfect" now.
Still, something pretty good almost happened for Johnsen, who earned Utah's Mr. Basketball honors at Murray High, from his brief Revue performance. The well-traveled player committed to play with an Italian pro team, but he said the deal fell apart at the last minute.
This will be the third NBA training camp for Johnsen. He made the Magic in 2003 as a result of his first camp showing, but he was then the last player cut by New Orleans in 2004.
"It's flattering to know the Jazz invited me," he said. "So I want to take the opportunity to do this."
The Jazz have not yet released their full roster for the camp, which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 3, including four days of practice in Boise. Former Syracuse point guard Gerry McNamara also will join the Jazz's 15 contracted players for training.
WORLD RECORD FOR KORVER?: Jazz forward Kyle Korver will be shooting for or, more accurately, kicking for a Guinness World Record today. In an effort to raise money for one of his favorite charities, Korver will be part of a group hoping to play the longest kickball game in history.
To kick the current record to the curb, Korver and friends will have to play longer than 24 hours. Event organizer Adam Bruckner said he isn't sure whether the game will last 200 innings with a final score of 95-85 or what.
"It's just going to be fun," he said.
Proceeds raised by The Kyle Korver Foundation at the 25-hour marathon game will benefit the Helping Hand Rescue Mission in north Philadelphia, which Korver and Bruckner both help. Korver has worked closely with the underprivileged kids in that community for a couple of years, dating back to his days with the 76ers, and hopes to build a recreation room and learning center with money raised.
Korver and the other participants must all be at the field the whole time, but Bruckner, an assistant coach of the Philadelphia Kixx of the National Indoor Soccer League, isn't sure what kind of kicking performance to expect from the NBA player.
"We're going to have to work on a little technique. He's a basketball guy," Bruckner said, jokingly. "I've never seen him kick a ball ... It'll be interesting to see how he does."
The game starts at 7 p.m. at Capitolo playground, which is next to famous cheese steak restaurants Pat's and Geno's in South Philadelphia.FLASH IN A PLAN: The public is invited to an open house next Wednesday to check out plans for the new arena to be built in Lehi for the Utah Flash, the Jazz's D-League affiliate. World-renowned architect Frank Gehry will be on hand to unveil his designs for the development in Lehi, which will include a five-star hotel along with residential and commercial projects. The open house will run from 6-8 p.m. at The Flash Factory (4425 Thanksgiving Way).
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