Collin Sexton: Hardy Is Reason New Jazz Team Exceeded Expectations

Jun 13, 2023, 12:00 PM


Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz were not expected to be close to the playoffs this past year. Collin Sexton joined to Unrivaled to talk about expectations and how the Utah Jazz exceeded them.

There were a lot of changes that included Rudy Gobert being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Quin Snyder stepping down as head coach, hiring Will Hardy, and trading Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Those moves under Danny Ainge seemed like the Jazz were in tank mode in hopes of landing French phenom Victor Wembanyama. The Jazz started off hot with an impressive 10-3 record to start the season.

The tune changed from tanking for Wembanyama to possibly competing for a playoff spot. While the team didn’t earn a playoff spot, fans took notice of the talent and chemistry of the new Utah Jazz.

Collin Sexton Talks Jazz Head Coach Will Hardy

Guard Collin Sexton who was part of the Mitchell trade joined Unrivaled on the KSL Sports Zone and shared his thoughts about how the players and coaches wanted to prove doubters wrong.

“I would say everyone that was on this team had something to prove and everyone on the team had a chip on their shoulder coming into this season,” Sexton said. “Also, Coach Will had a chip on his shoulder as well. He is a new coach, people thinking he doesn’t know what he is doing.

“He had a chip on his shoulder to be able to coach us the best he could and he did that really, really well.”

While they did fade down the stretch, Hardy coached the team to 37 wins which was a lot more than most experts and fans felt they could accomplish.

The Jazz had an All-Star starter in Lauri Markkanen who blossomed, having the best season of his career. Rookie Walker Kessler was a surprise en route to being named to the NBA’s all-rookie team, and Sexton himself had a solid year before he missed nearly half the season to a variety of injuries.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KSLUnrivaled (@kslunrivaled)

Those players, plus others, exceeded expectations thanks to Hardy. Sexton said the team noticed how much Hardy was backing his players and that led to this new Jazz team’s fight and chemistry.

“He was with us each and every night,” Sexton added. “Whenever you have a coach that’s behind you and whenever you have a coach that is willing to fight for you, you tend to put it out there all on the line for him. I feel like that is what we did the entire season.”

Everything was supposed to be stacked against the Jazz last season, with very low expectations, but this team showed it would not fold and nearly made the playoffs.

The future looks bright with the current lineup, coaches, and a plethora of first-round draft picks over the next few years. These players need to keep a memory of the 2022/23 season and how they fought so hard to blow past expectations when no one believed in them.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

KSL Unrivaled

A detailed view of the fingernails of Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans that spelled out Utah...

Jeremy Mauss

USC Beat Writer Calls Trojans A ‘Soft’ Program

Utah's defense could have a big day against the USC offensive line.

7 months ago


Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson On Utah’s New-Found Offensive Spark Ahead Of USC

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson joined the Player's Club to discuss the Utes' offensive spark ahead of a big matchup against USC this weekend.

7 months ago

Utah Football Oregon State Beavers QB Nate Johnson...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses Evolving Under Pressure

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson discussed with Unrivaled's Player's Club about evolving quickly in a high-pressure situation.

7 months ago


Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Says He’d Like To Meet Michael Jackson, His Reason Will Surprise You

Utah QB Nate Johnson says he would choose to meet Michael Jackson if time travel existed due to a family connection with the King of Pop.

8 months ago

Nate Johnson - Utah Utes vs. Arizona...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses What Motivates Him To Win

Utah quarterback Nate Johnson discussed his motivation in light of showdown between Colorado and Oregon last weekend.

8 months ago


Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Discusses ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality As Utah Football’s Backup QB

Utah football's backup quarterback Nate Johnson was fourth on the depth chart at one point but has positioned himself as a key player.

8 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Collin Sexton: Hardy Is Reason New Jazz Team Exceeded Expectations