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Utah Jazz Summer League Roster

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In continuing the series of spending way too much time researching players and then telling you what you need to know about them, I present the Utah Jazz's (Is it Jazz's? Jazz'? Jazinga?) Summer League roster in excruciating detail.

For the rest of the Orlando Pro Summer League rosters, refer to this constantly updating post.

For the Vegas Summer League rosters, refer to this post.

Other entries thus far in the series include: New Jersey Nets (Just started, but 28 more are on their way!)


Sundiata Gaines 6-1 / 195
Dominic Waters 6-1 / 180
Tyrese Rice 6-1 / 190
Othyus Jeffers 6-5 / 200
Bernard Robinson 6-6 / 210
Thomas Gardner 6-5 / 225
Jermareo Davidson 6-10 / 230
James Augustine 6-10 / 235
Paul Harris 6-4 / 230
Tadija Dragicevic 6-9 / 222
Demetris Nichols 6-8 / 218
Gordon Hayward 6-8 / 207
Darian Townes 6-10 / 243
Jeremy Evans 6-9 / 196
Rod Benson 6-10 / 225
Kosta Koufos 7-1 / 265


For reference, I'll be ignoring Gordon Hayward, Kosta Koufos, Jeremy Evans, Othyus Jeffers and Sundiata Gaines - if you don't know them, it's your own fault.

I'm going to list the players by position, then how likely it is that they'll appear on any NBA roster next season.


Rod Benson, PF/C, Cal-Berkeley - Too Much Rod Benson is an internet sensation - it's been a movement for quite awhile, really.

Interestingly enough, Benson's not too bad at basketball either.  I wrote about his past season in-depth when he said he planned to retire from the D-League, so instead of writing a whole bunch of new stuff I'll excerpt a portion of the old stuff!

Benson averaged an impressive astounding 24 points, 16.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 63% from the field and keeping his team in the three-game series, but still wasn't able to get the opportunity of an NBA call-up that so many of his D-League counterparts received.

That's because the NBA talent is there - and is quite visible not only in the numbers you can see in the box score (look at the playoff averages above), but also when looking at the Synergy Sports Technology numbers to get a better idea of his impact on the defensive end.  According to SST, Benson had 337 defensive possessions this season while holding his opponents to a meager 35.7% field goal shooting percentage.  He ranked as "excellent" both as a post defender, a situation he was in 35.6% of the time, and as a spot-up defender, a situation he encountered 32.3% of the time.

So to recap thus far: he's good on offense, he's good on defense, he's smart, he's well-rounded and he's fixed every problem NBA teams have been said to have with the 6-foot-10 big man.  What am I missing?

Now go read the rest of it.

Also playing: Los Angeles Clippers, Vegas.

Jermareo Davidson, PF, Alabama - Davidson was actually the 36th pick in the 2007 draft by Golden State after a solid career at Alabama, but was traded to Charlotte on draft night and lasted just one season with the Bobcats. 

Since then, he's played for in the D-League, had a couple of call-ups with the Golden State Warriors and spent this past season playing in Turkey before ending up in Puerto Rico.  For being only 25, Davidson's bounced around quite a bit.  The problem seems to be that despite the skills he brings to the table (and offensively there are quite a few), he's too soft to play in the NBA.

That might've changed this past season, though, as Davidson put up some impressive numbers for Darussafaka in Turkey.  In 27 games, the 6-foot-10 big man averaged 15.9 points and a league-leading 10.7 rebounds to go along with 1.3 blocks.   Those numbers are pretty similar to those that he put up in the D-League - and earned him a rest-of-season contract with the Warriors.

James Augustine, PF, Illinois - Augustine played for the Jazz in Orlando last year, so you should already be familiar with him.  But for some reason, I assume you're not - so we'll go ahead with this anyway.

If Augustine actually asserts himself, he moves up a couple of spots on my invisible ranking system of free agent power forwards - he's got good size, he's athletic and he knows how to play basketball.  Unfortunately, he never really seems to put that all together - but he came close as a member of the Chicago Bulls Summer League team in Vegas last season when he averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 boards while shooting 68% from the field.

This past season Augustine returned to Spain to play a second season with Gran Canaria.  His numbers weren't impressive (8.6 points, 7.1 boards in Spanish League play), but he did lead the EuroCup by averaging 7.4 rebounds per game - apparently rebounds are pretty hard to come by in Spain.

Also playing: Atlanta Hawks, Vegas.

Darian Townes, PF, Arkansas - I'm pretty surprised that the Jazz are bringing Townes in since their D-League affiliate Utah Flash cut him this year.  Still, I suppose 25-year-old bangers with NBA size are probably not the easiest to find so I'll give them a pass.

Townes is actually pretty good both offensively and defensively, but his conditioning has never allowed to get many minutes - this showed as he was able to get very limited minutes for the up-tempo Iowa Energy to end this past season despite being the most skilled big man on the roster.

This sounds like a lot of negativity, but really he would probably be a good end-of-the-bench option for a team that doesn't plan to use him in actual games but rather as a practice body for their bigs to bang with.  I don't know how many NBA teams employ that type of player, but I have a feeling in Townes makes it on an NBA roster this season that it will be in that role.

Tadija Dragicevic, PF, Serbia - I'm not going to pretend like I know everything there is to know about the Jazz 53rd overall selection in the 2008 draft, but I'm pretty good at reading stats so that's where we'll start.

The 24-year-old Dragicevic played for the same team, KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd in Serbia, from 2004 until midway through this past season.  The season before he was drafted, Dragicevic led the Adriatic League with 20.5 points while shooting 45% from beyond the arc.  This past season, in the same league while averaging 30+ minutes of action, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged 12.6 points while shooting 38% from the field and adding 4.5 rebounds.

I'm not sure what changed, but it was probably in his best interest to give the NBA a shot before he regressed any further.


Demetris Nichols, SF, Syracuse - Nichols was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 53rd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, but was then traded on draft night to the New York Knicks.  The Knicks wanted him to go overseas until they had room for him, but he wanted to stay stateside and try to make the team in training camp.  That didn't work out so hot, though, as he was the Knicks last cut.

The 6-foot-8 shooter quickly joined up with the Cleveland Cavaliers, though, but only until Anderson Varejao figured his contract out and Nichols was released.  Since then, Nichols has bounced between the D-League and the NBA before playing in France this past season.

Nichols didn't get many minutes in France this season, but I assume he'll still bring his soft shooting touch and defensive prowess to the Summer League.

Also Playing: Portland Trail Blazers, Vegas.

Paul Harris, SG/SF, Syracuse - Harris probably has an inside edge with the Jazz this season as he was their last cut (due to injury) last season, but after sitting out this entire with a severely sprained ankle, he probably has considerable basketball rust.  And really, after missing a full season with a sprained ankle, he's probably not tough enough to play for the Jazz.

At 6-foot-5 and a solid 220 pounds he's got an NBA body and is pretty solid on defense - it mostly comes down to how he looks after a full season of not playing basketball.

Thomas Gardner, SG, Mizzou - Gardner actually has some experience in this department as he made the Chicago Bulls out of Summer League as an undrafted free agent in 2007 and then was again signed after a solid Summer League in 2008 by the Atlanta Hawks.  Still, with just 18 combined games of NBA experience, he's got a lot to prove.

Gardner, essentially, is a shorter Nichols - good shooter, good defender, but not much in the way of being able to create his own shot.

Fun fact: Gardner was signed by a team called the Antwerp Giants in Belgium this past season, but for reasons unknown to me played just eight games.  Isn't twerp a small person, but a giant a giant?  Do you think the Belgians see the irony?

Bernard Robinson, SF, Michigan - I'm utterly confused by Robinson being on this list.

After being a second round pick of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, it seemed like he'd become a decent NBA role player - he even started 18 games in his second season (it was for the Bobcats, but still).  In the middle of the 2007 season, however, he was traded to the Nets and, after not getting much scratch, he tore his ACL the following Summer.

The 6-foot-7 swingman was then traded, and quickly released, to the Hornets for David Wesley - looking like the MCL injury had ended his career.

Randomly, he popped up a year later (in the Summer of 2008) on the Portland Trail Blazers Summer League roster - though the comeback didn't go as planned as he averaged just 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting a paltry 42% from the field.

The Michigan alum hasn't played in the NBA, or anywhere else, for the past two seasons - though he did randomly show up at a Toronto Raptors free agent workout a couple of weeks ago.


Tyrese Rice, PG, Boston College - Rice was the heart and soul of the Boston College Screaming Eagles from 2006-2009, but the 6-foot guard wasn't drafted despite averaging 16.9 points and 5.3 assists as a senior.  With Panionios in Greece this past season, the fiery guard averaged 11.7 points on 50% shooting from inside the arc.  Unfortunately he hit just 29 of his 98 three-point attempts. 

The problem with Rice isn't that he isn't a good basketball player, it's that he isn't a good roleplayer.

Rice would have to beat out Gaines to earn a roster spot with the Jazz.

Dominic Waters, PG, Portland State - This page on the Jazz website probably tells you everything you need to know about Utah's feelings toward Waters pre-draft, but he made the Summer League team! Yay Water(s)!

Anyway, I can't really tell you a lot about Waters (Portland State is an under-represented market in North Dakota), but I can tell you that he scored 46 points in a game as a senior at Grant High School in Portland, Oregon.

He spent his first two college seasons at Hawaii, but after not doing much there he transferred closer to home to play at Portland State.  He actually played pretty well as a senior at PSU, averaging 18.6 points and 4.7 assists while shooting an impressive 42% from beyond the arc.

He was a stud at Portland State. Boom.