Jason Olson, Deseret News
The Junior Jazz youth basketball program, which completed its 31st season in 2014, was honored by the NBA, named the league's best youth program at a recent meeting in Orlando.
“This award is shared with all the recreational centers, clubs and community centers that partner with the Jazz to provide a tremendous youth experience that teaches fundamental basketball skills and connects to the game at the professional level,” Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby said in a statement. “Junior Jazz has touched many lives through the years with an emphasis on being active, having fun and displaying good sportsmanship.”
The Jazz organization said that the Junior Jazz program annually has more than 50,000 youth participants and 13,000 volunteers in a seven-state region. According to a team statement, "Junior Jazz emphasizes the development of teamwork, fundamental basketball skills and fun. Members include kindergarteners through 12th-graders, many of whom return year after year."
In addition to playing in basketball games, the Junior Jazz program allows youth several opportunities to interact and learn from Jazz players. In January and February, Jazz players helped host 14 clinics at area schools and facilities for Junior Jazz participants.
The Utah franchise also hosted a Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Party at EnergySolutions Arena at the end of the season. The party — with nearly 1,000 boys and girls in attendance as well as Jazz players Rudy Gobert, Malcolm Thomas and Marvin Williams — rewarded teams "that best exemplified sportsmanlike conduct throughout the season."
In addition, Jazz players join in a regional tour every summer, conducting basketball clinics and signing autographs while interacting with youth. According to the Jazz organization, last year's three-week tour that covered Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Nevada included 42 clinics and 2,000 youth participants.
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd
- The 1996 NBA Draft redone: How did the Jazz...
- 5 things to look for as BYU heads into fall camp
- Dick Harmon: Hanging with legacy players of...
- 5 things to watch for as BYU, Utah and USU...
- 5 things Utah football needs for coming season
- Brad Rock: Hill, Keeton, Booker not the best...
- Randy Hollis: Utah's Perrins is one of the...
- High school football: Hunter Wolverines 2015...
- Dick Harmon: Big 12 expansion talk... 111
- Ute football team picked to finish 5th... 54
- Morning links: BYU, Utah and Utah State... 44
- 4-star basketball recruit Connor... 32
- Whittingham dishes on stadium... 27
- 5 things to look for as BYU heads into... 27
- Mendenhall: BYU's 2015 schedule... 21
- Morning links: Devontae Booker to be... 20