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SUMMER IS OVER AS JAZZ KICK OFF FALL TRAINING CAMP

SHARE SUMMER IS OVER AS JAZZ KICK OFF FALL TRAINING CAMP

It was a quiet summer for the Utah Jazz, which wasn't bad news to them. No major holdouts. No virulent contract disputes. Mostly just peace and quiet. But summer vacation ends when the Jazz return to work Friday, at Westminster College, for the first day of veteran's training camp. Fifteen players - 12 already under contract - will take the court in preparation for the upcoming season.

As of Thursday morning only five new faces were scheduled to be in camp: Arizona State's Isaac Austin, Kentucky Wesleyan's Corey Crowder, Providence's Eric Murdock, Canisius's Mike Smrek and Alabama's David Benoit. Benoit and Murdock were signed to guaranteed contracts during the summer, while Austin sat out the Rocky Mountain Revue after having knee surgery. Austin returned to the court on Monday and began working out with the other rookies. Smrek, who has been in the league five seasons and played with five different teams, is a 7-0, 260-pound center.Although a case could be made that the Jazz already have their team established, club officials aren't making any public guarantees. John Stockton, Murdock, Delaney Rudd, Jeff Malone, Blue Edwards, Thurl Bailey, Darrell Griffith, Benoit, Mark Eaton, Walter Palmer, Mike Brown and Karl Malone already have guaranteed contracts. "There's guaranteed money, but not guaranteed jobs," said Scott Layden, the team's director of player personnel. "We want the 12 best guys to make up the team.

Training camp will run run 10-noon and 6-8 p.m. daily at Westminster. The exhibition season begins Oct. 12 at Sacramento.

Traditionally, the Jazz have taken a dim view of preseason prognosticating. Thus, Layden stops short of calling this year's team better than last. "We feel very good about the young class of rookies," he said. "But to be honest, that's a wait-and-see thing with the young guys. We'll have to just see how they blend in with the veterans."

The Jazz will also be closely watching second-year Jazzman Walter Palmer, who missed the last two summer leagues - the first due to a holdout and last summer due to an injury. He continues to struggle with a hamstring injury.

It appears the Jazz will be more athletic than last season. In place of Tony Brown and Dan O'Sullivan, the Jazz signed the 6-foot-9 Benoit, who spent last year playing in Europe. There he developed a solid array of moves to go with his steady, soft jump-shot. Meanwhile, Murdock comes in with credentials as a fine all-around guard. One national publication gave the Jazz an "A" rating on their draft selection this year, but others weren't so optimistic.

"I think this time of year we're all excited. It's the fall. If you've been in basketball a long time you know that's when practice starts, the ball bounces and you're ready to go," Layden continued.

Even the Mailman, normally good for a brash prediction or two, is playing it conservatively. "I never try to make an assumption before camp starts," he said. "If we get to camp and all the guys are saying, `Hey, we're gonna win it,' then things will go well. But I can't say until after training camp."

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(Additional information)

Jazz preseason roster

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. College Yr.

Isaac Austin C 6-10 260 Ariz. St. R

Thurl Bailey F 6-11 232 N.C. St. 8

David Benoit F 6-8 225 Alabama R

Mike Brown F 6-9 260 G. Wash. 5

Corey Crowder G/F 6-5 214 Ky. Wesl. R

Mark Eaton C 7-4 290 UCLA 9

Blue Edwards G 6-5 200 E. Carolina 2

Darrell Griffith G 6-4 195 Louisville 11

Jeff Malone G 6-4 205 Miss. St. 8

Karl Malone F 6-9 256 La. Tech 6

Eric Murdock G 6-1 190 Providence R

Walter Palmer C 7-1 215 Dartmouth 1

Delaney Rudd G 6-2 195 Wk. Forest 2

Mike Smrek C 7-0 260 Canisius 6

John Stockton G 6-1 175 Gonzaga 7