Utah Jazz players reflect on treasured tournament moments

Published: Thursday, May 3 2012 11:23 p.m. MDT

Harris loved the Mavs' march because he started and it was his second season.

"Being such a young player, being in that type of atmosphere," he recalled, "you can't really beat that."

ENES KANTER

Had he stayed in college, this answer might be different for the short-term and sidelined Kentucky Wildcat, whose old school won the 2012 championship. Though he didn't get to play in the NCAA, Kanter excelled while leading Turkey's Under-18 squad to a bronze medal in 2009.

"We won the quarterfinal in Under-18 European Championship. I was really excited," said Kanter, who believes it was the first time the Turks won in that round. "It was just great, feeling great. … I still talk to my teammates from back there."

BLAKE AHEARN

The Jazz's triple-OT win over Dallas gave Ahearn a fun flashback. His St. Louis-area high school team, De Smet Jesuit, endured one of those barnburners to win the 2002 district championship.

Get this: Ahearn cherishes the victory even though he didn't play in the game. He had a broken wrist. That bad luck had people counting his teammates out, making him extra proud they persevered.

"Even though I wasn't playing, it was a pretty fun game to be a part of," Ahearn said. "It kind of brought back memories the other night in triple overtime (against Dallas). I was technically a part of a triple overtime game before, and we won both of them.

"I think what made it special is we had a really good group of guys, a good team," Ahearn said. "I'm still friends with a lot of guys from that team. It was a fun thing to be a part of."

C.J. MILES

This postseason hasn't been memorable for Utah or Miles, who is out with a calf injury. But the 25-year-old has enjoyed every postseason he's been in with the Jazz over his seven-year career.

Beating Houston twice, including once two get to the 2007 Western Conference finals, was "fun." But the Jazz's improbable first-round series victory over Denver in 2010 tops the list.

"The last time we were in the playoffs was probably my favorite playoffs because I had a chance to play a lot of minutes and really help my team," Miles said. "That was fun just to be able to play."

In 10 playoff games in 2010, Miles averaged 14.4 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He was also lauded for his defense against prolific scorer Carmelo Anthony in the first round when Utah advanced despite losing Mehmet Okur to an Achilles tendon injury in Game 1.

"Everybody else stepped up," Miles said, specifically pointing out Kyrylo Fesenko, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. "We had a good team. We played hard."

ALEC BURKS

Looking back, friendship was more important than a championship for the Jazz's rookie guard.

"Going to state in high school my senior with all my friends — it was a great thing," Burks said. "It was the last time we were all together like that."

On the court, things didn't turn out like they hoped at Grandview High School in South Side Kansas City. That doesn't spoil Burks' fond feelings of time spent with childhood pals.

"We was suppose to win the state. We was undefeated and all that, but we lost the state championship game. Oh well. It was real fun, being around my friends," Burks said. "It was our senior year and we went out with a bang. It was probably the best moment I ever had. Stuff like that you'll never forget for the rest of your life. You could be 30, 40, 50. You'll never forget that. … We grew up together, so that's probably what made it more special."

DEMARRE CARROLL

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