Another Utah Pro-Am Summer League ended Saturday night at East High, and did everybody have a great time or what? NBA veterans Danny Schayes and Mark Eaton each went home with an MVP award, even though they played on the losing team. The overflow crowd convinced Jazz officials to stage a real overtime. And for the third straight August, the Jazz's rookie-free agent team won the championship.
Only forward Marty Embry left disappointed, failing to receive an invitation to training camp in October.Officially, FHP took a 98-91 win over Coors, overcoming Schayes' 32 points and Eaton's 15 points and 14 blocked shots. Mike Brown's 24 points and 11 rebounds and Billy Donovan's 18 points and 10 assists led FHP.
Afterward, Jazz Coach Frank Layden filled out most of his training camp roster. Who's coming? Take the 13 players on the team - don't forget Eddie Hughes - at the end of last season, and subtract Kelly Tripucka and Rickey Green. Add Brown and five other FHP players - center Eric Leckner, point guards Donovan and Ricky Grace and off guards Jeff Moe and Marty Simmons.
Not counting - for sake of discussion - Mel Turpin, Jose Ortiz or the injured Bart Kofoed, that leaves 15 players.
Kofoed will miss most if not all of camp following surgery last week on his fractured foot; that injury opened the way for Simmons, from Evansville. "It's a body at a position where we're going to be a little light," noted Layden.
Leckner, the first-round draft choice, made only 4 of 14 shots Saturday but showed a little promise against Eaton and Schayes with 12 points and seven rebounds. "He improved during the week," said Layden.
Utah State point guard Kevin Nixon, who left camp Wednesday because of a death in the family, apparently has his best shot with Sacramento. He's scheduled to report to the Kings' rookie-free agent camp tonight and indications are he'll compete for a job with veteran Michael Jackson.
Embry was the Jazz's fourth-round draft choice out of DePaul in 1986. He missed rookie camp that summer because of illness and ended up playing overseas - and Layden counseled him to do the same again. Embry, a 6-foot-8 power forward, asked for an explanation following the team meeting and Layden said he told him, "We could bring you back, and then you'd lose your opportunity to play overseas, and that's where the money is."
European teams are finalizing their rosters this month and, said Layden, "It's not fair to hold him up . . . and we're not going to spend the money and time to evaluate guys who can't make the team."
So depending on what happens with Turpin and Ortiz, everything's in place for training camp's opening Oct. 7. But what will those 3,500 people do until then? Many of them booed when the overtime format was announced, a Pro-Am version of the CBA sudden-death rule that makes the first team to score five points the winner. They wanted to stay longer.
Jazz officials gave in and allowed for a five-minute overtime. Actually, FHP would have won either way, because Donovan opened overtime by driving for a three-point play off the tip and Moe followed with a drive for a five-point lead. Moe went on to hit two jumpers and Coors never threatened.
The end of regulation was much more interesting, with Schayes scoring eight straight points to give Coors the lead after he was on the bench for a long while with five fouls. Brown helped FHP take control and when he tossed in a short jumper over Schayes, the Jazz entry was up 84-79 with 1:10 left.
But guard Mark Owen scored a rebound basket and Schayes drove for a layup to bring Coors within one point. After Donovan was fouled with 10 seconds left and made the first free throw and missed the second, Coors' Brian Taylor drove for the tying basket in the last second.
Despite collecting four fouls in the first half when Coors trailed 44-34, Schayes averaged 36.3 points and 15.8 rebounds to win league MVP honors. Eaton was the championship game's MVP, and they joined Moe, Brown and Associated Business Products' Jeff Judkins on the all-league team.