The Stars are back at Bruin ArenaDec 16, 2021 11:17AM ● By Greg James
Macio Teague (No. 31) of the Salt Lake City Stars drives to the basket against the Oklahoma City Blue during an NBA G League game on Nov. 5. (Photo courtesy of the Salt Lake City Stars.)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Salt Lake City Stars are back playing basketball at Bruin Arena. It has been a long time.
“The game and experience is definitely family friendly,” Stars basketball Communications Manager Derek Ahrnsbrak said. “We have some up-and-coming players on the team this year, including Thurl Bailey’s and Dwayne Wade's sons, Brendan Bailey and Zaire Wade.”
The home opener (Nov. 17 after press deadline) will mark the first time the Stars have played in Salt Lake City since March 6, 2020. They play their home games in Bruin Arena on the campus of the Salt Lake Community College.
The Stars began this season by dropping their first three games, all on the road. They hope playing in a friendly environment will change their results.
“We have former NBA players on the roster and two current Jazz players, as well as players that spent time in Jazz camp this fall,” Ahrnsbrak said.
Derrick Alston Jr. is one of the affiliate Jazz players on the Stars roster. (NBA teams can assign up to four players to their G League team.) His basketball career has come full circle. He began as a ball boy for the Houston Rockets. He spent his time grabbing rebounds for the players during warmups. Now he plays the game professionally.
He was not highly recruited after high school, but with the help of a junior college coach he convinced Boise St to give him a shot. He averaged 14.2 points per game as a Bronco. He went undrafted out of college but joined the Golden State Warriors G League team and eventually earned a tryout with the Jazz.
His story is typical of what types of players spend time in the G League. Generally, it is filled with up-and-coming athletes trying to earn a shot and some players trying to hang on to their careers.
Carson Edwards, a 5-foot-11-inch guard joins the Stars this season. He was the 33rd pick in the 2019 draft by the Boston Celtics. He played in 68 games over two seasons for the Celtics.
Brendan Bailey and Zaire Wade have garnered the most attention this fall as members of the Stars. They have both come off the bench and averaged seven and five points, respectively, in the first few games of the season.
“We have some great talent on the team,” Ahrnsbrak said. “Our head coach is a first-class guy. This is officially his second season with the team.”
Head coach Nathan Peavy is starting his second season in the first chair for the team. He coached last year with the Stars in the G League’s abbreviated season in Orlando. Because of the pandemic, the league played its entire schedule in a one-location bubble. He has been an assistant coach with the team for five years.
“[Peavy] is really a great guy and very down to earth,” Ahrnsbrak said. “All of the staff with the Stars are great people. I encourage everyone to come check it out.”
Ticket prices for the Stars range from $10 to $35 and can be purchased on the Stars’ website.
The G League functions as a headway league for potential NBA positions such as players, officials and front-office staff. The league began as the Developmental League in 2001, and in 2005 they gained a title sponsor, Gatorade, and changed the name to the G League.
“This is an opportunity to see the Jazz future players and players from around the league,” Ahrnsbrak said. “The Stars of today can be the Jazz of tomorrow.”