For a player who was once cut by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first few days of training camp, Scott Roth sounds fairly confident about his chances with the Jazz. "I have a spot on the team, as far as I'm concerned," he said Friday, when the Jazz opened camp at Westminster College. "Somebody's going to have to take my spot."
Actually, Roth had to convince himself to take that attitude before reporting to the Jazz camp. "I was worried about everything in the summer," he said. When the Jazz finally signed forward Jose Ortiz, Roth figured he was in trouble and called Coach Frank Layden to ask about his chances."Just come and play," was Layden's advice.
That was Roth's invitation last February, when the NBA trading deadline passed and the Jazz made him their 12th man. He'd spent two seasons playing professionally in Turkey and before joining Albany of the CBA, a team that included Micheal Ray Richardson, Tony Campbell and Michael Brooks - and Roth was the first to leave for the NBA.
So here's Roth again, competing with Marc Iavaroni for a job as the fourth forward, while also working at guard while Bart Kofoed is out with a broken foot. "That's really ideal for me," said the 6-foot-8 Roth. "I think that's what I'm naturally suited for . . . and I'm one of the only guys around here who can play two or three positions."
Roth played briefly at guard last season, when he appeared in 26 games, including all of his last 14. The most memorable? Easily, his three-point shot with one second left for a one-point win at Seattle, for the Jazz's franchise-record 46th victory. "That's confidence-building," said Roth. "Throughout the year, Frank was putting me in situations where a lot of guys wouldn't have gotten the opportunity."
And he's back for more - with Ortiz and everybody else.
CAMP NOTES: Recovering from March knee surgery, Darrell Griffith ran well in Friday morning's session and reported he's played in four full-scale games. Griffith will practice once a day starting today in St. George, alternating between the morning drills and the evening scrimmages. "There's no rush with him," said Layden . . . Bart Kofoed, who suffered a second stress fracture in his left foot in August, is recovering faster than he did last fall. Kofoed will be X-rayed again Monday in St. George . . . These famous Jazz jersey numbers have a chance to remain alive this season: the Adrian Dantley-Kelly Tripucka No. 4 (Marty Simmons), the John Drew-Carey Scurry No. 22 (Ron Rowan), the Rickey Green No. 14 (Ricky Grace) and the Jeff Wilkins-Darryl Dawkins No. 45 (Eric Leckner) . . . All 18 players reported as expected for the camp.