Utah Jazz respond with respect after hearing about Rick Majerus' death

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 9:30 p.m. MST

Utah Jazz coach Tyron Corbin yells to his players in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Associated Press

HOUSTON — News of Rick Majerus' death brought comments of respect, sadness and — fittingly, considering the former Ute coach's sense of humor — even a fond laugh from the Utah Jazz after Saturday night's game.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said outside his team locker room at the Toyota Center. "That's sad, sad."

Corbin had limited interactions with Majerus, but he lauded him for being "an unconventional coach, a hard-working guy.

"He's a good basketball mind. He impacted a lot of young peoples' lives," Corbin said. "I know the guys who played for him up at the U. always talked about how they enjoyed the time with him and how much he had an impact on their lives. It's sad to hear."

Johnnie Bryant, the Jazz's player development assistant, played for the University of Utah basketball team for three years, from 2005-'08. His college playing days were long after Majerus left the program, but he said the former coach's impact was "huge."

"The reason why I committed (to Utah) was the winning tradition," Bryant said.

The Oakland-bred guard only personally met Majerus once — at a camp during high school — but he still learned via players who played for the coach.

"I definitely say he put the University of Utah on the map to where everyone across the country knows about the University of Utah," Bryant said. "What he did with the players that he had and the talent that he had was unbelievable, and he did a great job at St. Louis as well."

Added Bryant: "He'll definitely be missed."

Corbin couldn't help but crack a smile while talking about Majerus, whose one-liners added to his national appeal.

"I always laugh," Corbin said, "because I think about him always staying at hotels wherever he'd go."

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


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