The Jazz rookie-free agent team's easy 99-81 victory over Coors Thursday night took away most of the intrigue of Saturday night's championship game in the Utah Pro-Am Summer League at East High. But the Jazz, always looking for an angle, have come up with a plan to make the third-place game more interesting.
Presenting . . . The Mel Turpin Show.Jazz president-general manager David Checketts has not only arranged for Turpin to play for Associated Business Products against the Salt Lake Community College team, but has contacted several NBA teams that will send scouts to watch Turpin's summer appearance. The idea, naturally, is to try to create interest in the overweight center that the Jazz desperately want to trade.
"I hope it works," said Checketts, who arranged the scheme with the help of Turpin's primary agent, ProServ's William Strickland. "The down side is, if the guy can't get up and down the floor, we'll have a problem."
In the meantime, Turpin's expected replacement as the Jazz's backup center continues to play well. Mike Brown had 19 points and eight rebounds for FHP, playing against Coors' Mark Eaton. The rematch for the league title comes Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
"He's a good, strong player," said Eaton of Brown, the ex-Chicago Bull. "I've always been impressed with his aggressiveness and ability to stand his ground."
Guard Jeff Moe added to his excellent week in the Jazz camp with 13-of-17 shooting and 29 points, while point guards Billy Donovan and Ricky Grace continued their steady play. Rookie center Eric Leckner appeared more active Thursday with nine rebounds, but had foul trouble for the third straight night and made only 1 of 10 shots for two points. "He's still just a little nervous," noted Eaton. "When you're a first-round pick, you feel a lot of pressure to come out and perform. The NBA is a lot different from college - it takes time to adjust. He'll be OK."
Brown and Leckner did slow down Coors' Danny Schayes. Coming off his 52-point outing against the SLCC team, Schayes settled for 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Eaton and Devin Durrant added 12 points each. Coors finished round-robin play tied for second with Associated at 2-1, but will play for the championship by virtue of an opening-night win over ABP.
ABP scored a 136-92 win over Seiko-Schubach's (SLCC) as Jeff Judkins scored 32 points.