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The Brothers Millsap: John joins Paul on Revue roster

Published: Friday, July 13 2007 12:05 a.m. MDT

John Millsap, left, has joined younger brother Jazz forward Paul Millsap on the Utah Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue roster. (Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News) John Millsap, left, has joined younger brother Jazz forward Paul Millsap on the Utah Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue roster. (Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News)
John Millsap likes to think he "paved the way" for his three younger brothers in basketball, and John says he's still in charge of the boys, even though now he's trying to follow in brother Paul's Utah Jazz footsteps.
"I'm still the older brother, and I've got years on my belt," said John this week at Zion's Bank Basketball Center, where the Jazz practice.
John, 24, has joined 22-year-old Paul on the Jazz's Rocky Mountain Revue roster, hoping the reputation of Paul's strong Jazz rookie year, his own 2006-07 CBA All-Star status and experience playing in Serbia, and that familiar Millsap work ethic will help him in attracting some NBA attention.
The Jazz Revue team opens play tonight at 7 at Salt Lake Community College against Atlanta.
Paul Millsap, who made the NBA All-Rookie second team last season, presumes the Jazz invited John to the Revue because they scouted some of John's CBA games with the now-defunct Utah Eagles and the Butte (Mont.) Daredevils, for whom he played following a dispersal draft, and liked what they saw.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Wednesday that Paul has already bettered himself from last year.
"I tell you what. He's stepped out here, and he's in great shape, better shape than he was a year ago," Sloan said. "We ran 17s (a drill) here in practice yesterday, and he was able to beat some of the smaller guys because he's in better shape, and he's got toughness."
The two brothers spent part of the summer with a personal trainer in Reno, even taking boxing lessons, "things like that to help my condition," says Paul. "It helped a lot."
The two occasionally sparred, but it remained friendly.
There was a day when the elder Millsap was the family's top dog at everything basketball related.
"I just say I paved the way," John says. "Growing up, I beat (Paul) at everything. When he was younger? Yeah, I schooled him most of the time. Right now, he's kind of schooling me on this level. He just started to take control. Just now."
When Paul was a sophomore and John a senior at Grambling (La.) High, Paul surpassed John's size.
"Paul was pretty good then," John says. "We was pretty much even at that point."
John went on to lead Texas-San Antonio in scoring (13.7) and rebounding (6.9) as a senior but was undrafted by the NBA and played a season in Serbia before joining the CBA Eagles after moving to Utah with Paul, mother Bettye and brother Abe, while brother Elijah played in Louisiana.
John acknowledges that Paul, a three-time NCAA rebounding champion who ranked second among NBA rookie rebounders with 5.2 a game in an average of 18 minutes played, is the better boardman nowadays. Paul is two inches taller at 6-foot-8 and much heavier, 258 pounds to 205.
"I'm not saying I'm as good as he is, but, yeah, I can rebound also. I shoot better than him," says John, who considers himself more a perimeter player while Paul is a power forward who can play the three.
The Millsaps are competitive with each other and a little vain about their personal strengths when it comes to family bragging rights. About rebounding, Paul says he's the star.
"Of course," says Paul, the No. 47 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft who averaged 6.8 points a game. "I don't doubt that. But (John) can score the ball. He can score, and I'm still working on that aspect of my game. I can rebound, block shots. He's trying to work on his defense a lot. If he gets better on defense, he's got the whole package. I'm just trying to work on everything else."
The Millsaps josh each other, but they're also close, raised by their single-parent mom, Bettye. John's strongest memory of growing up in Louisiana and Denver is, "Basically, just getting out of our situation. That was our focus, and basketball was a way out."
The "situation" was "Just family issues. We always wanted to get away from that, and we used basketball as a tool for that."
As kids, the four brothers played hard against each other, but there were no bloody noses or anything. "Oh, no we don't beat on each other like that, but it's competing," John says.
John and Paul say Elijah, the freshman of the year at Louisiana-Lafayette, and Abraham, who stars at Utah's Brighton High School, may one day be better than their two elders. "I haven't peaked yet," says Paul, not sure of his own potential as he prepares for his second pro year. "Hopefully, some day they're going to surpass me."
The family plan, says John, is for all four Millsap boys to become NBA players.
John says he had nothing but pride for Paul's accomplishments.
"Actually, it's exciting to watch him play and do as well as he is doing," says John. "Paul had good exposure, and he's worked very hard to get where he's at.
"There's things out there for me also," he adds.
"It's good to see (John) succeed," adds Paul. "He worked hard all his life to get to this point. It's good for him, and hopefully he can live up to it."


Rocky Mountain Revue

At Salt Lake Community College

TODAY
Phila. vs. San Antonio, 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta vs. Utah, 7 p.m., KJZZ

SATURDAY
Atlanta vs. San Antonio, 4:30 p.m.
Phila. vs. Utah, 7 p.m., KJZZ

MONDAY
Chicago vs. Phila., 2:15 p.m.
Dallas vs. Atlanta, 4:30 p.m.
San Antonio vs. Utah, 7 p.m.

TUESDAY
Atlanta vs. Chicago, 2:15 p.m.
San Antonio vs. Phila., 4:30 p.m.
Seattle vs. Utah, 7 p.m.

THURSDAY
Dallas vs. San Antonio, 2:15 p.m.
Seattle vs. Chicago, 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta vs. Utah, 7 p.m.

JULY 20
Philadelphia vs. Atlanta, noon
Dallas vs. Seattle, 4:30 p.m.
Chicago vs. Utah, 7 p.m.
At Salt Lake Community College

TODAY
Phila. vs. San Antonio, 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta vs. Utah, 7 p.m., KJZZ

SATURDAY
Atlanta vs. San Antonio, 4:30 p.m.
Phila. vs. Utah, 7 p.m., KJZZ


E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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