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Utah Utes basketball: Jerry Sloan observes practice, speaks to the Utes

Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 9:45 p.m. MST

Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan talks with University of Utah players after March 6 practice in Salt Lake City. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan talks with University of Utah players after March 6 practice in Salt Lake City. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak brought a special guest to practice Wednesday. Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, who was Krystkowiak’s coach with the Utah Jazz in 1992-93, spoke to the Runnin’ Utes after observing practice in the Huntsman Center.

“He’s one of those guys that meant a great deal to me,” said Krystkowiak, who added that the year he played for Sloan really validated what the game is all about — playing hard.

Krystkowiak praised Sloan for being a humble guy from a tough background, and for being the definition of hard work.

“It kind of fits the bill for what we’re talking about now, too, with our team. It really gets down to some basic stuff and getting down and playing hard,” Krystkowiak said. “It was a thrill for all of us to have him come watch practice and talk to our guys.”

Having Sloan come in and lend a hand, he noted, was a real honor. Krystkowiak is hopeful he’ll be able to attend Utah’s home games against Oregon State and Oregon this week.

Sloan has already been to a game this season and has watched the Utes a lot on television.

“Larry played for me and I always appreciated the fact that he’s a hard worker,” Sloan said. “And he’s got a bunch of guys working hard to try to get better.”

After acknowledging that it’s fun to see one of his former players coach, Sloan admitted that it also “makes you feel a little bit older.”

Sloan, who turns 71 on March 28, posted a 1,221-803 record as an NBA head coach with the Chicago Bulls (1979-82) and Utah Jazz (1988-2011). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

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