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Utah Jazz: Kanter improving both on, off the court

Published: Sunday, March 4 2012 10:51 p.m. MST

"He's talking slow English," Kanter said, chuckling.

"If that's what you want to call it," Tinsley said.

Added Kanter: "He knows my English isn't that good. If I don't understand coaches or players, I'm always asking him, 'What does that mean?' He's always telling me."

Jefferson said Kanter has been receptive to his pointers — usually.

"He don't have no other choice," Jefferson said, matter-of-factly. "You get on him. You tell him something, he listens. You can tell he try to improve in it and learn from his mistakes."

Jefferson chuckled.

"He act like he don't hear sometimes when you get on him," he said. "But he understands."

Kanter flashed a smile when told his teammate is on to him.

"Sometimes I'm using that excuse. It's my second language. If I don't want to hear something I'm saying, 'I didn't understand. What did you say?'" he said. "Yeah, I'm getting so much better. ... I'm just learning a lot. It's just helping me on the court, off the court."

Jefferson said Kanter's confidence is booming, especially when it comes to putting up mid-range jumpers. That 15-16-foot shot and face-up game remains an area of focus for Kanter, who has a nice soft touch.

Tinsley has noticed an improvement in the Turkish teen's mental toughness.

"He don't whine. He don't complain about certain things. Young guys they can tend to complain and worry about things," Tinsley said. "Every night he just go out there and play his minutes no matter if it's five, 10 minutes, and that's real good."

Coach Ty Corbin likes that Kanter is doing a better job of "being big" and using his massive frame to his advantage. But the rookie is learning that his size won't always allow him to push around NBA players who are often similar in stature and strength.

The Jazz coach still wants to see improvement in the way Kanter times his low-post moves. Progression has been made, but Kanter can't rely on trying to get a foul called instead of just pushing through and trying to finish with force.

"But, you know what man," Corbin added, "from the beginning of the year and training camp, he's making tremendous strides."

Kanter is quick to thank teammates and coaches for his wide-ranging improvement, including in the communication department.

"He should learn more English. He do a lot of talking," Tinsley joked. "He's a great guy and a good teammate. Everybody wants him to do good."

Jazz at Cavaliers

Tonight, 5 p.m.

TV: ROOT

Email: jody@desnews.com, Twitter: DJJazzyJody, Blog: Jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com

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