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Utah Jazz notes: Alec Burks enjoying crazy dream of life in NBA

Published December 29, 2011 1:01 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Denver • Alec Burks used one word to capture all his feelings and emotions: crazy.

A year ago, Burks was a sleek, athletic guard for the Colorado Buffaloes. Now he's a backup wing for the Jazz.

The No. 12 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft played six scoreless minutes Tuesday in Utah's 2011-12 season opener, recording two assists and one rebound in a blowout road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.



He then spent pregame warmups Wednesday working out on the same Pepsi Center floor that friend and ex-Denver guard Chauncey Billups once roamed.

It's been a long, crazy trip for the 20-year-old Burks. And it's only just begun.

"I could be in school right now — Christmas break, really," said Burks, prior to tipoff Wednesday night against the Nuggets. "It's a great feeling. I'm living my dream out right now."

Burks is still devoted to the Buffaloes. So are his friends. Where most NBA players are hounded for ticket requests whenever they make their rookie debut in a once-familiar state, Burks expected few well-known faces to show up Wednesday.

Why? The Buffaloes were hosting New Orleans in nearby Boulder, Colo.

"I'd rather them support the Colorado team," Burks said.

Young fouls

Just because 20-year-old power forward Derrick Favors made his second consecutive start Wednesday doesn't mean he's fully NBA-ready.

Favors has wowed everyone from Jazz coaches to fans with his potential and rightfully earned his spot in Utah's first unit. But foul trouble still plagues the second-year stud.

He recorded four fouls in 19 minutes against the Lakers, and two of the penalties came in the game's first 7 minutes.

"He's going to learn. He's a young guy," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He's got to learn the referees. He's got to learn when he can be aggressive. I like the fact that he [goes] after the ball. He makes some fouls — they're young fouls."

No change

Despite hinting after the loss to the Lakers he might tweak Utah's starting lineup, Corbin decided to stick with an initial rotation of Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Favors and Al Jefferson against the Nuggets.

Corbin felt the Jazz let themselves down during a disappointing season opener, and he's content having power forward Paul Millsap come off the bench for now.

"We didn't play as hard as we play in practice, quite frankly," Corbin said.

bsmith@sltrib.com

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