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Waking up at 7:30 in the morning. Sitting in meeting rooms with few breaks, listening to people talk. Being sequestered in a New Jersey hotel over the course of four days.
The NBA's Rookie Symposium may not have seemed like a pleasant adventure for those who attended. And indeed, there were times it was boring and tedious. But for Trey Lyles and the other Utah Jazz players who went Jack Cooley and Elijah Millsap it turned into a valuable experience.
Basically, the symposium represented a crash course for rookies on what not to do off the floor in the NBA. It warns against the dangers and the trappings of the giltz and glamour of the NBA life. It advises on how to handle newfound wealth and fame. It advises on how to deal with women and how to adjust to life on the road.
Every rookie is required to attend, as mandated by the NBA, which means Lyles automatically went as Utah's lottery pick. Cooley and Millsap having stuck with the Jazz for most of the second half of last season were there as well.
"It was an intense four days," Lyles said. "But we enjoyed it; it was a good time. It was good, impactful stuff that people needed to hear."
As far as the NBA was concerned, this was serious stuff. Nobody could leave the hotel a secret location. Nobody could consume alcohol and visitors weren't allowed. There were different topics discussed, as well as advice for how to handle life in the NBA.
This included getting the proper amount of sleep; handling finances correctly; a correct manner in which to do charity work; and eating right.
All have been important things for rookies to adjust to. All have in the past been known as difficult things for rookies to adjust to.
"I think all of the information told to us was needed," Cooley said. "The NBA is trying to keep you out of trouble and that's a good thing."
Chris Herren the former Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics guard whose life turned into a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and addiction while he was in the league as well as following his basketball career made the biggest impact of the week.
Herren, who was a star at Fresno State University, has turned his life around in recent years, and has been very open about his rock-bottom experience, speaking to schools and groups about the pitfalls of what he went through.
"Hearing Chris' story about how he got involved and all that stuff, I thought it was really informative," Lyles said. "I enjoyed that part of it. It tells me that it can happen to anybody, the first pick of the draft or a second rounder. We have to keep our head on straight and don't do anything to jeopardize what we have."
Life off the court is still an adjustment for Lyles and Cooley, as well as Millsap. But the three are doing just fine. Millsap is 28, mature and has lived in the Salt Lake City area extensively. Lyles is making the transition but has family here, as his sister Tanika lives with him. Cooley has said that he loves SLC.
If anything, the NBA has made it a point to educate its rookies and to make their adjustments to the league as easy as possible. It's a popular thing among executives, who want to see their younger players thrive.
"I think the NBA doesn't get enough credit for player programs," Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey said. "We have a young league that in many ways is getting younger. It's important to help the players and steer them in positive directions."
Trail Blazers at Jazz
P Preseason home opener, Monday, 7 p.m.
TV • ROOT NBA's Rookie Symposium
Who went: All NBA rookie draft picks
Who went from the Jazz: Trey Lyles, Elijah Millsap, Jack Cooley
Where was it: In New Jersey over four days