| Courtesy The Zions Bank Basketball Center will be transformed into a state-of-the-art Utah Jazz Basketball Campus that will house the team’s business and basketball operations.
No one is going to pull off a curtain to unveil a oversize Jazz note in the already packed parking lot in front of the Zions Bank Basketball Campus.
But the less-heralded renovations at the Utah Jazz’s day-to-day practice facility in the shadow of I-15 may be just as important as the more expensive ones at the Vivint SmartHome Arena. While crews still are finishing construction on the building, the areas most frequently inhabited by players are complete, and the reviews so far are sparkling.
“It’s incredible. It’s top notch,” said Jonas Jerebko. “It’s everything you would need as a professional basketball player. I don’t think it can be much better than this. I don’t know what you would put in there.”
The change in terminology — from “center” to “campus” — in one sense reflects that the space has doubled in size and added new workout equipment, training and recovery faculties and business offices. The locker room design mimics the circular look of the one at the arena, facilitating social interaction between players and allowing the Jazz to feel like the details don’t change whether they’re preparing for practice or games.
But it’s also reflective of a shift to emphasize “flow,” promoting more open areas and in line with the thinking behind arena renovations.
A new entrance for players brings them to their locker room, and they are in the middle of everything from there: the gym, workout area, coaches offices and dining area all are connected better than before. And with plenty of windows and glass, the space opens up in a way that coach Quin Snyder hopes makes the players feel like it’s their “home away from home.”
“If it were just beautiful, it would be nice to look at,” he said. “But we’re practicing in it and working in it, and it’s gonna help us get better. It’s going to help our players improve individually. I can’t imagine there’s a facility in the league that’s a better training facility.”
At least one Jazzman agrees. Donovan Mitchell said Tuesday that Utah had “by far” the best facility of his 14 pre-draft workouts he attended.
It’s only two days into training camp, so newcomer Jonas Jerebko isn’t ready to make big proclamations, but the Swede said he has started to get comfortable in the stretch four role similar to the one he occupied in Boston.
“We’re moving the ball here,” he said. “Very unselfish team. Not saying that we didn’t have unselfish guys in Boston, but the ball wasn’t moving this way. We had more individual players who did more. So the ball is moving a lot here, and I like it.”
At 6 foot 10, Jerebko believes he brings a skillset that the Jazz don’t otherwise have on the roster, being able to leak out to the 3-point line and knock down shots, thus spacing the floor. While he struggled from the perimeter last season (34.6 percent 3-point shooting), he shot over 40 percent from deep in the combined two seasons prior.
Beyond getting comfortable with his on-court role, the ninth-year veteran said he’s also been acclimating to living in Utah.
“It’s been great,” he said. “The weather has been up and down. But I like it. Family likes it.”
Quin Snyder confirmed Wednesday that the Jazz’s 20-man training camp roster is fully healthy. … A day after former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak visited practice, the Jazz hosted former Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean. … Donovan Mitchell was not available to media after practice Wednesday, but the former Louisville player tweeted about coach Rick Pitino’s reported dismissal: “What is lost in all of this is the players [sic] lives. It pains me to see my brothers for life going through this! This is deeper than basketball.”