Keyonte George: Jazz ‘Phenomenal’ Mentally Despite Struggles

Feb 14, 2024, 1:53 PM | Updated: 2:00 pm

Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George (3) is congratulated by teammate Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2)...

Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George (3) is congratulated by teammate Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) (Credit: Marielle Scott, Deseret News)

(Credit: Marielle Scott, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George said the team remains mentally strong despite back-to-back losses on the heels of the NBA trade deadline.

George joined Jake Scott and Ben Anderson on the KSL Sports Zone to discuss his trip to Indianapolis for the Rising Stars Challenge, and where the Jazz are as a team at the mid-way point of the season.

You can listen to the full interview in the player below.

Jazz Remain Together After Trade Deadline

Despite losing Kelly Olynyk, Ochai Agbaji, and Simone Fontecchio at the NBA trade deadline, George said the Jazz locker room remains unshaken.

“Mentally we’re phenomenal, we’re coming together each and every day,” George said. “We’re as tight as we’ve been, the vibes are still high.”

Since the trade deadline, the Jazz have suffered consecutive losses to the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors and dropped to the 11th seed in the West.

Related: Keyonte George Re-Enters Jazz Starting Lineup

The roster moves, teamed with the two-game losing streak have led to questions about whether the Jazz would prefer to fight for the play-in tournament, or fall back into the draft lottery

“We still understand that we’re still a winning team, and we can be a winning team,” George added. “We strung wins together early in the year, so we’ve just got to continue to know that we did that, and we can’t let these two losses take us off the path of where we want to be.”

With 28 games left to play in the regular season, the Jazz sit 1.5 games back of the Warriors for the 10th seed in the West, and 1.5 games ahead of the 12th-seeded Houston Rockets.

“Our togetherness is where we want it to be from the staff to the players, everybody around this great organization,” George said. “So we’re just trying to feed off that and we’ll definitely pick it up for sure.”

George Excited For Rising Stars Challenge

George will be representing the Jazz along with teammate Walker Kessler during the Rising Stars Challenge.

While Kessler will be playing for Team Jalen, coached by longtime NBA wing Jalen Rose, George will be playing for WNBA legend Tamika Catchings.

“It’s going to be fun, a fun weekend,” George said.

While the rookie will be locked into the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, he hopes to make the most of a rare opportunity to talk with the top players in the NBA throughout the weekend.

“Looking forward to being around great caliber players just like myself, maybe get a chance to talk to the guys who made the All-Star,” George said. “Maybe get a chance to pick their brain, ask questions.”

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Along with George and Kessler, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen will be a participant at All-Star weekend as a contestant in the Three-Point Shootout on Saturday night.

The Rising Stars Challenge will feature four seven-player teams competing in the three-game tournament. The games can be seen on Friday, February 16, at 7 MST on TNT.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports

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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Keyonte George: Jazz ‘Phenomenal’ Mentally Despite Struggles