Slimmer Keyonte George Adjusting To Life With Jazz

Jun 30, 2023, 3:11 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Through two days of practice, Keyonte George said he’s enjoying his transition to the NBA as a member of the Utah Jazz.

With Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh sidelined with injuries, George has the team’s only first round pick to get full practice reps ahead of Monday’s Salt Lake City Summer League debut.

The 16th overall pick discussed what his first few days in a Jazz uniform have been like, and where he’s found success on the floor.

Keyonte George Preparing For Summer League

“The main difference is no school work,” George joked, “it’s just straight basketball.”

George was a top-ten high school recruit coming out of the IMG Academy in High School before committing to play college ball at Baylor.

After quickly climbing up draft boards during the first half of his freshman season, George hit a slump in the second half of the year that likely cost him a spot in the lottery.

The Jazz rookie blamed a tendency to favor his three-point shot, rather than attacking the paint for his late-season struggles.

“That should have been more of a point of attack going into those games, rather than trying to settle for the tre-ball,” George admitted, “making sure I’m getting downhill.”

The dip in production was notable at Baylor where after averaging 17.8 points per game including 5.3 free-throw attempts in his first 16 appearances, George’s numbers dropped to 13.1 points per game on 3.9 free-throw attempts.

The guard also suffered an ankle injury late in the season and played at a much heavier than he had been in high school.

“In high school, I was 190 lbs, that’s where I’m at now,” Goerge said. “In college, I was around 210-215 lbs throughout the season. During the season you’ve got to make sure you maintain your body — recover — you’re not able to get as much cardio so my playing weight was around 215.

George appeared noticeably thinner during his pre-draft workouts and has noticed the difference during his first few practices with the Jazz.

“I feel lighter, being able to cut faster, get faster downhill, those are the main differences I see,” George said. “[I’m] playing above the rim, I’m able to get higher now, the change of weight will be good for me.”

Beyond his physical transformation, George said he’s also working on his decision-making, a common criticism of his play in college.

Though George was one of Baylor’s top scorers last season, he had more turnovers than assists and had a tendency to make predetermined reads for how he attacked the defense.

“Everything has to be sharp, everything you’re doing has to be with intention,” George said. “You have to have a plan and that’s what I’ve been learning getting reps.”

When Will George Make His Summer League Debut?

The Salt Lake City Summer League will be returning for the eighth consecutive year at the Delta Center between July 3-6.

The Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers will all be competing in the showcase.

July 3: 5 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Jule 3: 7 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz

July 5: 5 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Jule 5: 7 p.m. Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz

July 6: 5 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers

July 6: 7 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Slimmer Keyonte George Adjusting To Life With Jazz