Jazz Guard Jared Butler Describes First Interaction With Will Hardy

Jul 3, 2022, 1:16 PM | Updated: Jul 22, 2022, 3:09 pm
Jared Butler #13 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) and head coach Will Hardy (Courtesy of Utah Jazz)
(Courtesy of Utah Jazz)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz guard and second-year player Jared Butler detailed his first interaction with new head coach Will Hardy.

The former Baylor Bears star discussed his new head coach with the media on Sunday, July 3.

Butler said his first contact with Hardy came via a phone call from the new coach. Butler described Hardy as “really intense,” but not “overbearing.”

“He’s like an intense personality, but not like overbearing. You can tell that he’s, you know, really serious about what he does,” Butler said of Hardy. “He’s got it all planned out. I feel a sense of urgency, but at the same time, he’s not like overbearing, so I like that a lot.”

The second-year guard added that Hardy is “heavily defensive-minded,” which is something Butler called “great” and a “resemblance” of the focus during his time playing at Baylor.

Will Hardy hired by Jazz

The Jazz officially hired Hardy, a former Boston Celtics assistant, on June 29.

“We could not be more excited to welcome Will Hardy as the next head coach of the Utah Jazz,” Jazz owner Ryan Smith said in a statement. “He has incredible experience and we believe in his continued trajectory. Danny and Justin ran a comprehensive process and we are confident Will is the right head coach to lead us into the next chapter of the Utah Jazz. Ashley and I and the entire ownership group are grateful to welcome Will, his wife Spencer, and their family to Utah.”

Hardy reportedly signed a five-year deal with the franchise.

“Will Hardy is one of the brightest young leaders in the NBA,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said in the release. “He understands the importance of setting a vision and creating a culture for players. He places great value on communication, player development and creating the most productive environment for players to succeed. His experience on coaching staffs that have made the NBA Finals and with USA Basketball are invaluable and have helped prepare him for this moment. We couldn’t be more excited for Will to lead the Jazz moving forward.”

Prior to his coaching career, Hardy was a standout player at Williams College between 2006-10, leading the Ephs to a 30-2 record as a senior, and the Division-III title game.

The new Jazzman began his coaching career with the San Antonio Spurs as a video assistant.

From the Spurs video room, Hardy was promoted to Gregg Popovich’s bench. After overseeing the team’s summer league rosters, Hardy followed former Spurs assistant Ime Udoka to the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2021 as the team’s lead assistant.

Hardy, 34, is the youngest head coach in the NBA.

Jared Butler with the Jazz

Prior to his time in the NBA, Butler was a standout player at Baylor. During his final collegiate season, Butler helped the Bears win the NCAA national title. During his three seasons at Baylor, the Reserve, Louisiana native averaged 14.1 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting.

The Jazz selected Butler with the No. 40 overall pick during the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft.

The six-foot-three-inch guard played in 42 games as a rookie, including one start. He also spent time with Utah’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars.

Butler averaged 3.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, and 0.4 steals in 8.6 minutes per contest with the Jazz. He shot 40.4 percent overall and 31.8 percent on three-pointers.

Butler is currently preparing to participate in Utah’s Summer League games.

Salt Lake City Summer League

The Jazz announced their Summer League roster as they prepare for the Salt Lake City Summer League. Utah will play three games at Vivint Arena beginning on July 5 before heading down to Las Vegas to wrap up Summer League action.

They will have 16 players on their roster with a mixture of NBA experience and undrafted free agents looking for a shot at making the team.

Bryan Bailey will be the head coach during the Salt Lake City Summer League, while Lamar Skeeter will coach the Jazz in Las Vegas.

Here is the roster for Summer League and their previous team:

  • Jared Butler, Utah Jazz
  • Bruno Caboclo, Sau Paulo FC (Brazil)
  • Kofi Cockburn, Illinois (College)
  • Tacko Fall, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • D.J. Funderburk, Saratov
  • Caleb Homesley, Hamburg
  • Johnny Juzang, UCLA (College)
  • Vic Law, Brisbane
  • Isaiah Miller, Iowa (College)
  • Darryl Morsell, Marquette (College)
  • James Palmer Jr., Ostrow Wielkopolski
  • Justin Robinson, Detroit Pistons
  • Borisa Simanic, Mega Mozzart
  • Xavier Sneed, Utah Jazz
  • Jordan Usher, Georgia Tech (College)
  • Jeenathan Williams, Buffalo (College)

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  • Utah Jazz Standings

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