Best Anecdotes From Utah Jazz Media Day

Oct 2, 2023, 3:56 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2023, 1:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz wrapped up an abbreviated media day on Monday as the team prepares to head to Hawaii to open training camp.

The Jazz will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, October 8 before traveling to Seattle for a rematch on October 10.

While the arrival of John Collins, and the health of the team’s three rookies were the main storylines from camp, here are other odds and ends of note from media day.

Jordan Clarkson Was In A German Bus Crash

In what could have been the worst story of the Jazz offseason, Jordan Clarkson casually revealed that he was in a bus crash in Germany while on tour with musician girlfriend Maggie Lindemann

“[The driver] got sick and almost passed out,” Clarkson said, “the bus swerved off the road on the highway.”

Nobody was hurt in the crash, but the traveling tour was sidelined for the better part of a day.

“I was at a random gas station — I think we were in like Germany,” Clarkson admitted. “We stayed there for I want to say like 14 hours waiting for a new driver.”

Lauri Markkanen Wraps Finnish Military Service

Jazz All-Star Lauri Markkanen had arguably the busiest summer of any NBA player fulfilling mandatory service in the Finnish military before playing for the national team at the FIBA World Cup.

Markkanen spoke warmly of his time in the military, but not necessarily of the Finnish elements.

“Believe it or not, I’m from Finland but I’m not that happy in the cold,” Markkanen admitted. “We had a pretty cold summer — crawling out of my tent and seeing snow in the first week of May, that was a pretty freezing moment.”


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Markkanen said they worked on basic military techniques in the Finnish wilderness including time on the shooting range.

Just like his NBA game, the forward said he considered himself a pretty solid shooter.

Olynyk Praises Nash For Canadian Hoops Success

Kelly Olynyk and Team Canada won the bronze medal at the FIBA World Cup and will compete at the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 where they expect to be a serious threat to win the gold medal.

After a long history of irrelevance on the international stage, Canadian basketball has surged in recent years, and Olynyk credited Hall of Famer Steve Nash with the county’s sudden success.

“He’s definitely a key piece of the pie,” Olynyk said. “Obviously the [Toronto] Raptors play a big role, Vince Carter was huge. But Nash, in terms of Canadian basketball, definitely.”

Olynyk said he’ll be at the Paris games with Team Canada “one way or another.”

Collin Sexton Back To 100 Percent Health

For the first time in a Jazz uniform, Collin Sexton says he feels 100 percent.

The guard was acquired by the Jazz in the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster last summer but was still rehabbing from knee surgery that limited him throughout the year.

“Coming off the injury last year and playing, it was different, I wasn’t able to work out in the summer, I wasn’t able to play,” Sexton admitted.

“But this summer I was able to play as well as lift and get to the goals that I wanted to and I feel great. I’m excited and I plan to play the whole 82 [games] this year.”

Sexton appeared in just 48 games last season with the Jazz, but the team was notably better with him on the floor.

The Jazz were 24-24 with Sexton in uniform last season, and just 13-21 when he didn’t dress.

Kessler Getting Bigger

Though he still looks young, Walker Kessler said he’s getting bigger heading into his second year in the NBA.

“Weight-wise, I’m probably like 255 now, I don’t know what it was last year, but I feel a lot stronger,” Kessler noted. “Jumping, I won’t say a lot higher but I can feel I’m more explosive for sure. Part of this is growing up and maturing.”

Kessler didn’t get many minutes with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup but should be primed for a big role with the Jazz this season.

Romeo Langford Has Several Jazz Connections

Romeo Langford may be fighting for one of the last spots on the Jazz roster, but his connections to the organization are already plentiful.

The fifth-year veteran was drafted by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics in 2019 where he played three and a half seasons.

And, before Will Hardy was named the Jazz head coach, he worked with Langford for a season in Boston.

“He became my main coach playing in Boston,” Langford said of Hardy. “We always had one coach we went to, so at first it was Joe Mazzulla, but then with the coaching staff switch it became Will, so we became close on and off the floor.

The Jazz will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday at 7 pm MST in Hawaii. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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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Best Anecdotes From Utah Jazz Media Day