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Taylorsville Journal

Stars hold open tryout

Nov 03, 2017 03:44PM ● By Greg James

Several hundred players paid the $150 fee to try to impress the Stars in a one-day tryout. (Alex Lowry/Utah Jazz)

Are you sitting on the couch playing Xbox, playing all the late-night church pick-up games, and still no NBA scout has come knocking on your door? The Salt Lake City Stars hosted an open tryout for those that think they still got it.

On Sept. 30, several hundred basketball hopefuls showed up for a four-hour speed dating-style workout in front of Stars and Jazz executives. 

The event gave NBA G League hopefuls the opportunity to showcase their talents. Participants worked in teams and individual drills as well as scrimmaged. Players were vying for an invitation to the Stars training camp that began in October.

A simple look at the Stars roster and you find players at different stages of their careers. There can be recognizable names from high-profile schools, undrafted players and NBA players assigned to the team to gain seasoning.

In 2017, the NBA expanded its rosters from 15 to 17 players to include two players under two-way contracts. The two-way player spends the bulk of the season with his assigned G League team and not more than 45 days with the NBA team.

The Jazz currently have Eric Griffin, a 6-foot-8-inch forward, and Nate Wolters a 6-foot-4-inch guard, signed to two-way contracts. 

Griffin joined the Jazz this summer in its summer league; he averaged 8.6 points per game, six rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He finished his college career at Campbell University in North Carolina and played professionally in Israel.

Wolters has had previous NBA experience with the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans. He was an All-American at South Dakota State.

The Stars also hold the rights to any player who has played for them within the last two seasons, as long as they have not released that player. Examples on the Stars roster include Sundiata Gaines, Tyrone Wallace and Quincy Ford. 

When NBA teams trim their rosters during training camp, the G League affiliate has first crack at acquiring those players. They can designate up to four affiliate players. The players remain NBA free agents, but the NBA front offices still keep them in their system. 

The Stars can invite up to five players from the open tryout to their training camp. In 2007 Jonathan Simmons participated in an Austin Spurs local tryout. He eventually was part of the 2015–16 San Antonio Spurs roster.

When the Jazz’s Dante Exum was injured this fall, it increased the likelihood that former Stars player Raul Neto will stay with the team. Neto played several games with the Stars last season and seemed to be the odd man out in the Jazz tight back court.

The Stars acquired Michael Qualls in an offseason trade with the Oklahoma City Blue. The 6-foot 6-inch forward played three seasons with Arkansas and was named Second Team All-SEC in his final year. 

The Stars’ first Home game is scheduled for Nov. 8 against the Wisconsin Herd. They begin the season with two road games Nov. 3 (at Austin) and Nov. 5 (at Memphis.)

If you missed the open tryout this season, keep playing the Xbox and working on your skills; there will be another opportunity next year. For more Stars information visit their website

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