UTAH JAZZ

Stars Season Will Focus On Taylor Hendricks, Brice Sensabaugh

Nov 2, 2023, 2:28 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm

Brice Sensabaugh #8 and Taylor Hendricks #0 of the Utah Jazz...

Brice Sensabaugh #8 and Taylor Hendricks #0 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Stars will play an instrumental role in the development of Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh during their rookie seasons.

The Stars opened their training camp earlier this week ahead of their November 11 season opener, and have already spent several days with the two first-round draft picks.

“It’s about getting game minutes, number one,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said of Hendricks and Sensabaugh beginning the year in the G League. “But it’s not just about games, it’s about practice as well. Really, what you want young players to get is reps and live reps against good players.”

Taylor Hendricks, Brice Sensabaugh Join Stars

The Stars enter the year with one of the most talented rosters in recent memory, designed to increase the competition level of the team while instilling a winning culture.

In addition to Hendricks and Sensabaugh, the Stars will showcase former lottery pick Romeo Langford, former second round pick CJ Elleby, two-way contract players Micah Potter, Josh Christopher, and Johnny Juzang, as well as G League draft picks Karolis Lukosiunas and Isaac Johnson.

While the Jazz’s two first round picks will get plenty of time to work on their games on the floor, the Stars also hope to ingrain in Hendricks and Sensabaugh what it takes to thrive in the NBA.

“My message to them has been consistent, and the message from the Jazz has been consistent,” Stars general manager Marquis Newman said. “Use the time in the G league as a tool to get better, to enhance your game to transition from from being a college kid and student to being a professional man.”

From the beginning of the Jazz’s training camp in Hawaii to now preparing to open their season with the Jazz, Newman said he’s already seen growth from the two 19-year-olds on the roster.

“They’ve been around the Jazz guys, and now that they’re with the Stars and their confidence level, their demeanor, how they carry themselves — you can see that changing in them and that’s why the G League team exists.”

Jazz Excited About Josh Christopher

With the addition of a third two-way contract for NBA teams this year, the Jazz welcomed third-year NBA veteran Josh Christoper to the roster.

Christopher was a first round draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 2021 and was featured heavily on the roster over the last two seasons.

The Arizona State product was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies over the summer in a move that sent Dillon Brooks to the Rockets, but was waived before training camp.

From there, the Jazz wasted little time pursuing the 21-year-old guard.

“There were a lot of teams reaching out but it seemed like the Jazz were one of the main ones that were making that effort,” Christopher said of hitting free agency. “They were really doing their background check.”

The guard worked out for the Jazz during the pre-draft process, but was off the board by the time they were on the clock with the 30th pick.

“He’s a guy that we really liked, He can do stuff on both ends of the floor,” Newman said of the signing. “Defensively he can bring it, it’s just (a matter of) getting that every single day and then offensively he’s a guy that can play on and off the ball.”

After facing the Santa Cruz Warriors on November 11, the Stars will host the G League Ignite on November 13 in their home opener at the Maverik Center.

Fun Fact: Christopher’s brother Patrick is also a former Jazzman, having spent four games with the roster during the 2014-15 season before suffering a season-ending injury.

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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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Stars Season Will Focus On Taylor Hendricks, Brice Sensabaugh