SALT LAKE CITY — For those who weren't following along at home — or keeping score while transcribing hours of quotes — Georges Niang won the locker cleanout media session Wednesday at Zions Bank Basketball Campus.
A day after his team was eliminated from the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Houston Rockets, the affable power forward provided the unofficial quote of the day as player by player took the podium for one final interview before parting for the offseason.
Niang drew laughter with his response to what he hopes to accomplish physically during his training this summer.
"I want to continue to keep working on my body," he said, "and become the Greek god I know I can be."
Players weren't trying to provide humorous sound bites and comic-worthy quotes during this annual rite of season-ending passage, which includes a press conference and an exit interview with Jazz brass. But good-natured replies were a nice break in a four-hour Q&A that mostly included comments about a disappointing playoff result, unique team chemistry, a bright future, free agency aspirations and self-improvement plans.
Niang even let people know where he'll be at times now that the season is over, so anyone can check up to see how his Adonis transformation is progressing. He said he'll be hanging out at his Park City hotel looking at the mountains, and will host a charity golf tournament this July in Ames, Iowa, to raise money for adopted children.
Understandably, Jazz players weren't exactly in a joking mood after exiting a round earlier than they had the previous two postseasons, but there were some other lighter moments.
Asked if he'll try to pitch Utah to his free-agent friends, Derrick Favors said he will. The longest-tenured Jazzman from Atlanta considers SLC a second home and honestly admitted, "It's a little different, but it grows on you."
Forward Jae Crowder was among the Jazz players to publicly laud Quin Snyder for being an excellent coach. He also made a revelation about Utah's hardworking, detail-oriented coach.
"We joke with him and tell him to get some sleep," Crowder said. "He doesn't sleep a lot."
Instead of counting sheep and getting his Z's, Snyder apparently focuses on X's and O's, upcoming opponents and how to maximize his players' talent.
Center Ekpe Udoh turned the tables on a reporter when he asked what the team needs to do to improve and take the next step.
"What do you think?" Udoh asked the reporter. "Sir, before I answer this question, what's your take?"
"Better players," the reporter responded after being prodded, politely and humorously, by Udoh.
"Better players?" Udoh repeated. "Yeah, we all need them."
As laughter settled, the soon-to-be free agent said he'd like young guys like Donovan Mitchell and Royce O'Neale to have good summers and for the whole team to return with "grit."
Joe Ingles, who wore a "never too high never too low" hoodie, smiled when he clued media into his offseason focus and what to expect from him on the court in the future.
"I'm going to go right every time next season," Ingles said, poking fun at his struggles to do so during the playoffs.
Ingles also interrupted one of his answers to tease a yawning reporter, who made an early flight from Houston to make it back to the exit interviews.
"You all right?" Ingles asked. "Am I that boring, you yawning like that?"
Rookie Grayson Allen complimented the veterans on this Jazz team for helping him out many, many times — at least when they weren't doing things like making him wear a pink backpack and carry a giant bag of popcorn onto the plane for a road trip.
"It was a huge bag," the first-year player from Duke said, laughing while showing that he had to carry it over his shoulder. "I don't think anyone wanted it. I think it was just 'cause they wanted me to carry it."
The popcorn might've come in handy hours after these interviews ended.
Although he was serious when he delivered the standard "It's a business" line about the NBA several times, it was kind of humorous that Mitchell was wearing a shirt promoting his new signature shoe and drinking from a bottle of the sports drink he pitches while he said it.
Mitchell didn't give a complete itinerary of his offseason plans, but he's glad to not be wearing a boot like he was after injuring his foot last spring and he doesn't plan to travel to China twice like he did last summer.Comment on this story
Fans who were among the hordes of Marvel fans to catch the new blockbuster movie might have seen Mitchell with some of his Jazz buddies on Wednesday at the theater.
While speaking of the team's oft-talked-about friendship, the second-year star said they're still going to spend time together even though they don't have a game on the schedule for a while.
"A bunch of us are going to see the Avengers tonight," he said. "The season's over and we're still hanging out."
Don't be surprised if Niang is carrying some dumbbells around. Greek god bods don't build themselves.