While Bobby Hansen continues his latest re-entry to the Jazz, Bart Kofoed is waiting for another NBA call. He's playing point guard for the Rochester (Minn.) Flyers of the Continental Basketball Association, trying to shake off the effects of the incident with Hansen and work on his game.
He's also started telling his side of the story, countering the version of Hansen's allies, trying to prove he's not a troublemaker and hoping that a reputation won't keep him from returning to the big leagues. "I know I'm not a bad guy, and I shouldn't be blackballed," he said Friday.
Added Kofoed, "It's too bad somebody had to get hurt in a situation like that, and it had to be me. I don't see how Bobby can hold a grudge against me. I think in his own mind he knows he was antagonizing me and helped that incident get to a boiling point. I feel bad that Bobby got hurt . . . I think it was both our faults."
Hansen sustained a fractured cheekbone and was fined by the Jazz; Kofoed lost his job and the $80,000 left on his guaranteed contract, pending the outcome of an NBA Players Association grievance that will likely be settled before arbitration. In Rochester, Kofoed is making about $2,000 a month, plus a free room at the Holiday Inn. "At least, I've come to the realization of real life again," he says. "I was kind of in a dream world for a while."
Playing for the worst team in the CBA's Western Division, Kofoed is adjusting to playing point guard and averaging about 29 minutes and seven points through 10 games, while trying to get his mind off the incident. "That weighs pretty heavy on my shoulders right now," he said. "You should be able to just concentrate on playing basketball, but that's not the case."
***** DANTLEY FILE: Adrian Dantley is off to quite a start with his new team. Upset about being associated with Mark Aguirre and his antics as a result of the trade, all Dantley did was lower himself to the same level by waiting to report to Dallas.
***** LOW PROFILE: Danny Vranes, the former University of Utah player and seven-year NBA veteran, has fled from Greece to other European countries in the latest adventure of a wild tale about overseas basketball. Vranes, who signed a reported $225,000 contract and went to Athens in October to play for Kresimir Cosic's team, was last paid in December, before the team started losing and had financial trouble.
Vranes refused to play until he was paid, apparently resulting in strong-arm tactics, and was advised to leave the country. He sent his wife and children home to Salt Lake City and headed north, figuring he should keep moving. Vranes' mother reported he is safe but plans to stay in Europe for a while.
***** MODEL TEAM: Amid the NBA's recent growth, commissioner David Stern told the Hartford Courant, "The Utah experience gave us the confidence to go into smaller markets like Charlotte and Orlando. If you're the only game in town, market yourself well and become part of the community, you can have a successful franchise."
Jazz president Frank Layden noted, "When I got here, I really believed this was a bad choice. The market was so small. Our philosophy was we'd run a low-budget operation, like a Grade B movie. But sometimes a Grade B movie can be an Academy Award winner."
Stern also told the Los Angeles Times, "The small market is a continuing issue we'll have to address as a league. Everyone recognizes that. We'll have to make sure they'll be able to continue to compete in the context of a prosperous league."
***** AT RANDOM: Warning: After Thursday's win over Boston, the Jazz's record was 30-20. After beating Boston in February 1987, the Jazz stood 30-20 - and went 14-18 the rest of the way before losing in the first round of the playoffs . . . At the All-Star break, Houston was 10-0 against Miami, Charlotte and San Antonio and 18-18 against everybody else . . . San Antonio's franchise-record 40 turnovers at Golden State came on the 15th anniversary of the Lakers' NBA-record 43 against Seattle . . .
Kofoed says of his Jazz days, "I always thought I should have gotten a shot at point guard and never did, and now that's all I'm playing. It's really helped develop my ballhand-ling skills and confidence in bringing the ball up the floor." . . . Even after outscoring Denver's Alex English 10-0 in the third quarter Tuesday, the Jazz's Marc Iavaroni ranks in the middle of 1989 unrestricted free agents. Now that Jim Petersen re-signed with Sacramento, the most attractive player is probably Philadelphia's Mike Gminski. Because they have Chris Welp and Bob Thornton behind him, the 76ers will work hard to keep Gminski . . .
Old buddies Adrian Dantley and Pace Mannion crossed paths in Detroit recently; now that Mannion is with Atlanta and Dantley - eventually - will be in Dallas, Mannion has played for six teams in six years and Dantley six in 13 years . . . In the magazine 7 Days, former Jazzman Danny Schayes says of Utahns, "They have no sense of humor. Sarcasm, irony doesn't exist out there. They don't get it. They believe everything you say."