Utah Jazz bring draft-day party back

Published: Saturday, May 30 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams (8) escapes past Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) as Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) sets a pick at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. The Jazz will hope to score a player like Williams or Millsap in this year's draft.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

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Basketball fans in Utah lost one annual summer event this year with the cancellation of the Rocky Mountain Revue, but they're going to get another fun tradition back.

After taking last year off, the Utah Jazz will again throw a party at EnergySolutions Arena on the night of the NBA Draft.

Doors for the Jazz's June 25 draft-day party will open at 4:30 p.m. — a half hour before the NBA begins its ESPN-telecast from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Jazz have yet to announce all the details for the party, but the organization will present a highlight video from the 2008-09 season before the Blake Griffin-sweepstakes-winning Los Angeles Clippers officially make their first pick.

The Jazz, who lost in the first round of this year's playoffs after posting a 48-34 record in an injury-plagued season, own the 20th pick in the first round. They also have the 50th pick in the second and final round.

Traditionally, the Jazz have revealed to their live draft party guests which player they were about to draft prior to the official announcement by the NBA's bigwigs.

LONDON'S CALLING: Deron Williams and the Jazz will travel to England to take on the Chicago Bulls in an NBA Europe Live exhibition game in October, but the star point guard will get a sneak peek at the United Kingdom this weekend.

And it isn't just for, as Brits call it, a holiday.

Williams has been invited to participate in a meet-and-greet, question-and-answer session in Leyton with England basketball players on Sunday as part of the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games, according to a basketball blog on the U.K.-based Daily Mail.

The British basketball extravaganza attracted 27,000 youth participants last year. Chicago's Luol Deng, who is British, took part in it when he was a kid.

GONE CAMPING: Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor was in Chicago this week along with other player personnel executives and scouts from the league to evaluate about 50 NBA prospects at the annual pre-draft camp.

The three-day session was an invitation-only event. No players from Utah colleges were invited to participate, according to a list published on ESPN.com.

COMING IN JUNE: Every year, Jazz brass invite prospective draftees and free-agent pick-ups to Utah prior to the draft. It was hinted at one point that that might happen as early as Monday, but the organization now isn't likely to bring in players to evaluate, interview and work out for a couple of weeks, perhaps even as late as mid-June.

E-MAIL: jody@desnews.com

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