BOISE — Depending on how the election in November goes, one Jazz player could have quite a connection with the White House.

One of Jazz All-Star forward Carlos Boozer's former teammates at Duke University is Barack Obama's personal assistant Reggie Love, a relationship that helped pave the way for Boozer to chat one-on-one recently with the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

"I had a chance to meet (Obama) in Miami about three weeks ago, and I had a talk with him for about 10 or 15 minutes," said Boozer, who — though he was raised in Alaska, the home of Republican Party candidate for vice president Sarah Palin — is a big Obama backer.

"He's so impressive," added Boozer, a two-time U.S. Olympian who won gold in China earlier this year with Team USA. "He (Obama) has this incredible aura about him. The way he talks, I want that guy leading my country."

Love, who attended Duke on a football scholarship, is constantly at Obama's side in his role as the Illinois senator's so-called "body man."

He also was a walk-on basketball player at Duke and a teammate with Boozer on the Blue Devils' 2001 NCAA title team.

Boozer, who opened training camp Tuesday at Boise State University along with the rest of the Jazz, makes his offseason home in Miami.

A DIFFERENT GAME: The Jazz moved up the would-be start times of their practice sessions Wednesday so several players, including Louisiana Tech product Paul Millsap, could attend Wednesday night's ESPN-televised college football game between Louisiana Tech and nationally ranked host Boise State.

Price for the privilege was some extra running for all who took part in Wednesday's morning session.

Asked Wednesday if he planned to go to the football game as well, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan — who's been battling a cold this week — indicated otherwise.

"Are you crazy?" he asked. "Footballs don't even bounce right. It goes every which way."

INJURY REPORT: Veteran Brevin Knight, who is battling Ronnie Price for the backup point guard spot, strained his lower back in the Jazz's second practice Wednesday and sat out the final portion of the session.

Free-agent guard Gerry McNamara has a sore jaw after striking his head on the floor in the same practice. X-rays and a CT Scan were performed on McNamara, and results of both were negative.

It was uncertain Wednesday night whether either Knight or McNamara would be able to practice this morning, Jazz spokesman Jonathan Rinehart said.

The Jazz acquired Knight in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for journeyman Jason Hart, who last season lost his backup point guard position to Price.

McNamara, who played earlier this year in Latvia and part of last year in Greece, was a member of Syracuse's 2003 NCAA championship team.

ALUMNI UPDATE: According to Wednesday's local Idaho Statesman newspaper, NBA journeyman and ex-Jazz guard Randy Livingston has been named assistant coach of the NBA Development League's Idaho Stampede.

Livingston was the D-League's MVP for the 2006-07 season, and retired as a player after leading the Boise-based Stampede to a D-League championship this past season.

The Louisiana State product played 17 games for Utah during the 2004-05 NBA season, and spent last July working with and observing the Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue summer league team.

DOWN ON THE FARM: The Jazz-affiliated Utah Flash still haven't hired a general manager to replace Dave Fredman, now back with the Jazz as a full-time scout.

Flash owner Brandt Andersen, in Boise for Jazz camp, said coach Brad Jones has assumed some of Fredman's former duties for now and that a new GM may not be named until some time after the team's NBA Development League seasons begins.

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HE SAID IT: Noting the Jazz's depth this season, Sloan on Wednesday delivered an ultimatum of sorts, saying, "If a guy doesn't want to run up and down the floor and defend, I'll play somebody else. ... A few years ago, I looked and said, 'I've got to keep this guy out there.' I look around now, and I can make substitutions."

MISC.: Miles said he gained about 10 pounds during the offseason, and his body fat did not increase. ... ESPN.com's John Hollinger predicted Wednesday that the Jazz will finish the regular season first in the NBA's Western Conference. ... Summer Olympians Boozer, Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko again all sat out Wednesday's morning session, as pre-planned. ... The Jazz have an open-to-the-public scrimmage that starts at 6 tonight in Taco Bell Arena, but admission requires a free ticket that can be obtained at any Boise-area Larry H. Miller automobile dealership.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com