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Questions abound as Revue opens

Summer league is good opportunity for Jazz hopefuls

SHARE Questions abound as Revue opens

Does DeShawn Stevenson have what it takes to blend in on the NBA level? How realistic are David Benoit's hopes of returning to the Jazz? How have Quincy Lewis and Scott Padgett progressed since we last saw the rookies? And what must Harold Arceneaux show to convince NBA scouts they made a mistake by not drafting him?

Those are just a few of the storylines that will play out and questions that could be answered when the Jazz begin play Friday in the Rocky Mountain Revue. Most of the Revue is being held this year at Salt Lake Community College's Redwood Road campus.

The nine-team summer league for NBA rookies, youngsters and hopefuls kicks off with three games Friday, the last of which, at 8 p.m., has the Jazz playing Denver.

Utah plays Toronto at 6 p.m. Saturday. An off-day for the Jazz on Sunday is followed by games on three consecutive days: Cleveland at 6 p.m. Monday, Houston at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and Chicago at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The Jazz are off on July 27 and 28, but the other eight teams in the summer league — including Sacramento, Vancouver and Dallas — will play on those days.

Utah closes against Phoenix at 2 p.m. on July 29, the only game that will not be held at SLCC. It will be played at the Delta Center, part of a doubleheader in which the Jazz and Suns summer leaguers play at 2 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. WNBA game between the Utah Starzz and the Indiana Fever.

At least five of the Rocky Mountain games will be televised, including two involving the Jazz: Tuesday against Houston and Wednesday against Chicago, both on ESPN2. Rocky Mountain games have never before been televised, but ESPN and ESPN2 are showing games this year's from both Salt Lake City and from the Shaw Summer League in Boston.

Utah's roster features just two members who actually played for the Jazz last season, Lewis and Padgett. Both are looking for increased playing time next season, with Lewis battling for the right to assume the starting shooting guard spot vacated by Jeff Hornacek.

The Jazz's two draft choices this year — Stevenson, the California high school star taken in the first round, and Kaniel Dickens, a second-round selection from the University of Idaho — are both playing.

Two others — Rick Hughes, who played briefly for the Dallas Mavericks last season, and Alvin Sims — were late cuts after spending October in training camp with the Jazz. Both have also been playing in the Southern California Summer Pro League, Hughes for the Golden State Warriors and Sims for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Also working with the Jazz is veteran Gheorghe Muresan, the 7-foot-7 center from Romania who is trying to land a contract with some NBA team after battling foot injuries with New Jersey the past two seasons.

There are locals on the Jazz roster, too: Arceneaux, who was disappointed to not be drafted following his senior season at Weber State, and Bryon Ruffner, who after stops at Utah State, Utah Valley and Brigham Young University has spent the last few seasons playing in Belgium.

And then there is Benoit, the former Jazz small forward who is making what may be a last-chance bid to return to the NBA. He blew out an Achilles tendon after leaving Utah for New Jersey and has been playing overseas while trying to resurrect his career.

Besides Arceneaux and Ruffner, there are others with local ties who are trying to catch the eyes of Rocky Mountain scouts: University of Utah product Alex Jensen, who will be playing for Houston, and Weber State's Eddie Gill, who is with Phoenix. Both went undrafted last month, and are hoping to position themselves for NBA training camps in the fall.

One who is back at Rocky Mountain but who has already secured employment is point guard Andre Miller, who established himself as a bona fide NBAer in Cleveland after the Cavaliers took him eighth overall in the 1999 draft.

Some of the big-name, first-round picks from this year's draft who are expected to be in town are LSU's Stromile Swift (Vancouver), Iowa State's Marcus Fizer and Michigan's Jamal Crawford (Chicago), Texas's Chris Mihm (Cleveland), Fresno State's Courtney Alexander and Syracuse's Etan Thomas (Dallas), and Michigan's Morris Peterson (Toronto).

A day pass for each session of the Revue costs $5 and will be on sale at the door.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com