Utah Jazz notebook: Newcomer Randy Foye agrees rumors about Jazz being first class are true
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — If the NBA ever decided to do its own version of "Good Things Utah," then perhaps Jazz newcomer Randy Foye should serve as the show's co-host.
Foye, a 6-foot-4 guard who signed with the Jazz as a free agent in late July, had heard plenty of good things about Utah's franchise before he came here. And although he's only been a member of the organization for a couple of months now, the six-year NBA veteran certainly likes what he has seen so far.
"Oh, man, first class, first class, everything is run first class from the top to the bottom," Foye said Friday morning prior to the fourth day of training camp at Zions Bank Basketball Center. "Everyone is held accountable, no matter who you are. Everyone comes in every day and works hard. This organization is first-class, blue-collar, hard-working guys.
"You know, you hear things about organizations around the league and you always hear 'Utah Jazz, everything is run first class; everything is done this way.' And you say, well, they said that about another organization, and I went there and it wasn't. All those stories that were floating around the league are true here — all the good things."
Of course, Foye's previous NBA experience has been as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers — which historically have been regarded as arguably three of the poorest run and least successful franchises in the league.
Foye, 28, is a former Villanova All-American who has averaged 11.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game in his NBA career, twice finishing among the league's top 10 free-throw shooters. Last season, he made 127-of-329 shots (38.6 percent) from 3-point range — seventh-best in the NBA — and averaged 11 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game for the Clippers in helping them earn the best record in franchise history.
And while he admires the way the Jazz conduct their business off the court, now he finds himself trying to familiarize himself with Utah's complex way of doing things on the court.
"I thought I was pretty familiar with (the Jazz offensive sets)," Foye said. "But going through it and its different calls, I thought it was just one thing but it's like eight different things out of one play. I'm close, but it's just the third or fourth day of practice, so I still need some more time. I'm working on it, but I'm a pretty bright guy so I think I should pick it up."
UTE FANS FOR A DAY: Several members of the Jazz organization, including the coaching staff and players Earl Watson, Enes Kanter and Paul Millsap, among others, took in Thursday night's Pac-12 football game between Utah and the University of Southern California.
Kanter even showed up wearing a Utes T-shirt and spent part of the night sitting with the MUSS, Utah's famed student cheering section.
"I was wearing the Utah stuff, just supporting Utah," said Kanter, the second-year Jazz center from Turkey. "It was so much fun. I didn't know the rules, but I just likes the — before the game, what's it called? Traigate? — tailgate. I had so much fun there.
"After that, I went to (the) student section. It was so much fun. I cheered with all those guys.
"It was a close game," Kanter said. "We had, like, two touchdowns in the first three minutes. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' I love football, though."
Watson reportedly got a field pass and was able to watch Thursday's game at Rice-Eccles Stadium up close and personal, leaving absolutely no doubt who he was cheering for in the Trojans' eventual 38-28 victory over the Utes.
"I want to root for USC when I went to UCLA, right?" he asked media members. "Downtown I saw a lot of USC fans walking around, and I almost booed them out the car window. I didn't do it; I had to be professional. I didn't want to get fined by the NBA so, you know. But I think UCLA would've covered that fine for me.
"I wore some Utah red. It was a good atmosphere, though. That's the first time I've went to one of their games."
INJURY UPDATE: Watson continues to heal from surgery he had on a torn meniscus in his left knee, an injury he suffered last April and one that forced him to miss Utah's final nine regular-season games, plus its first-round playoff series against San Antonio.
"It feels good, it's progressing," the veteran point guard said Friday. "I'm taking my time, being smart. I've never been hurt — this is my first time being hurt, ever, in my career — so you learn a lot when you get hurt. You know me, though, I played most of last year injured. … I learned a lot about myself. I learned about being patient and not rushing back.
"I was going full speed with no contact, but then I kinda pulled back. I've got to be smart about it. Camp is two-a-days, so I can't overdo it. I have no (return) date set. My main thing is coming back strong, being 100 percent when I get to play, and not have to worry about the effects the next day."
SCRIMMAGE SATURDAY: The Jazz will stage an intrasquad scrimmage, free and open to the public, today at 4 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena.
Coach Tyrone Corbin was asked what he'd be looking for at today's scrimmage, which culminates training camp before Monday's preseason opener at Golden State.
"Getting comfortable with the plays," he said. "We've got to make sure that we continue to get to thinking out of the play, just trying to get the guys more comfortable with the offensive sets. The communication on the defensive end has to continue to get better.
"And then once we get into playing, just making sure that when we play the game, we do the things we talked about doing in practice and not get away from that. It will be a little more relaxed atmosphere because it's for the fans, but we're still continuing to grow and learn with each other."
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