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News » Collins savors Utah friendships


Collins savors Utah friendships


Collins savors Utah friendships There was that 22-point night in his rookie season, the four-block outing against Chicago three years ago and a double-double he once put up on San Antonio. Not to forget, of course, oh-so-many times his charge-seeking 6-foot-11 frame flailed to the floor. None of those, however, are what Jarron Collins will most remember about his eight seasons with the Utah Jazz . "All those friendships," Collins said, "is what I will truly take away with me."

That, the center who is currently battling for a roster spot with the Portland Trail Blazers pointed out, includes many relationships cultivated since 2001. Collins fondly recalls ushers like the legendary Wally Price, security guards such as NBA rep Marty Vuyk, and people throughout the community and within the organization. He visited the private family and friends room after Utah's 99-96 preseason win, and shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, did some razzing, and reminisced all night. If you didn't know better, you might've thought he was running for Salt Lake City mayor. Collins smiled as he named friends he played with in Utah ? a list that started with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, ended with Andrei Kirilenko and included the likes of Greg Ostertag, Bryon Russell and Carlos Arroyo. While overflowing with positive vibes, Collins insisted he harbors "no hard feelings" that the Jazz didn't bring him back after his contract expired last season. He's "humbled" the partnership lasted so long. "I consider myself very fortunate that I got to spend eight years here," he said. The 30-year-old averaged 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and was considered a workhorse, a solid locker-room presence and a pro's pro by those closest to him in Utah. "I give him a lot of credit for when he played here and the things he tried to do," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He did a good job for us. We appreciated having an opportunity to coach him." Sloan even defended the current Rip City resident when it was suggested that Collins might have added a flop to his 14-minute performance Thursday that also included six points, three rebounds and a block. "No, he didn't flop," Sloan said, laughing. "I've got to stick up for Jarron this time." Collins received a polite, albeit quiet, reception from Jazz fans when he entered Thursday's game. He was, however, mildly booed by a few when he shot free throws. Collins admitted it was "a little strange" to be a visitor in the building he called home for so long. But the NBA veteran, who was active in community service while here, will keep a place in his heart for Utah. "I wanted to leave a positive impact on my teammates and the community, and I think I accomplished those things," he said. "For me, my time here was great, but that's over and now I have a new team, new teammates, new city and new fans to win over." Wherever he ends up this year, he'll have friends in Utah. "Jarron's just a great guy," said Boozer, who exchanges occasional texts so they can keep up on their personal lives. "When you have great guys on your team for so long, they become part of your family. That's what Jarron is." Sloan shares those feelings. "You grow attached to them," the Jazz coach said. "The closest relationship I had with players was John (Stockton) and Karl (Malone), but Jarron was one of those guys that you knew he was going to always be there, always give you what he had and that's all you can ask anybody to do." Fooling a ref on occasion with a flop, then, was an added bonus. e-mail: jody@desnews.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 17, 2009

 

 
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