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'Flash' Fesenko could play in Orem

BOISE — Located just 34 miles down I-15 from Salt Lake City, Orem should be an easy drive for any Jazz player assigned this season to the franchise's new NBA Development League affiliate.

Except, that is, second-round rookie Kyrylo Fesenko — who just happens to be the Jazz's likeliest candidate for a stint in the D-League.

That is because Fesenko — who vowed last summer not to spend more than $3,000 on a new car, partly because he's worried his suspect skills behind the wheel could result in a wreck — does not yet possess a Utah license.

In fact, the 20-year-old Ukrainian big man still is taking driving lessons.

No worries, though.

Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen has a plan.

"I'll go pick him up in my Ferrari," said Andersen, who flew on his private plane Friday to Idaho so he could visit the Jazz's training camp. "If that's what it takes to get him down, I'll go get him."

Four Jazz youngsters who are either rookies or second-year NBA players — Fesenko, 2006 first-round draft pick Ronnie Brewer, '06 second-round selection Paul Millsap and '07 first-rounder Morris Almond — all will be technically eligible for an assignment to the expansion Flash.

But Jazz brass have suggested the likeliest to go is Fesenko, a 7-foot-1 center with a boatload of potential but limited experience and rather raw skills.

Fesenko, in fact, has struggled to adjust to the NBA game during camp practices this week.

"A lot of it is just all from the neck up," teammate Almond said earlier this week. "He's got all the tools: the height, the size, the weight, the strength. And he's just trying to figure out his locker combination."

Should Fesenko indeed wind up as expected in the D-League sometime this season, Andersen — who called the likable Ukrainian both "dynamic" and "eccentric" — predicted he'll be welcomed with open arms.

"Assuming he comes down ... the fans will embrace him," the Flash owner said shortly after introducing himself to Fesenko. "Not that he won't want to come back and play in Salt Lake with the Jazz, but I think he'll get a very, very warm reception in Orem."

Andersen said the Flash, who will play in the McKay Events Center on the campus of Utah Valley State College, already have sold a D-League high of nearly 4,000 season tickets.

WILLIAMS IMPRESSING: Three impacted but now extracted wisdom teeth, one bone graft and a particularly painful case of dry socket later, Jazz point guard Deron Williams seems to have picked up precisely where he left off.

After participating Thursday night in his first practice of training camp and prior to taking part in Friday's practice, Williams — who led the Jazz into last season's Western Conference finals series against the eventual NBA-champion San Antonio Spurs — was feeling just fine.

That's quite a jump from how he felt when camp opened without him Tuesday due to complications following dental surgery performed last week.

Williams was in so much pain he visited the emergency room of a Boise hospital early Thursday to seek relief and address the dry socket.

But when he appeared in his first practice Thursday night, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Friday morning, it was as if Williams hadn't even missed the first five sessions of camp.

"He showed us a lot," Sloan said.

"He knows how to do things," the Jazz coach added. "He's intelligent, he knows what's going on, he knows what we're doing, and he's pretty comfortable with what we're doing — so that makes it a little bit easier for him to do it (as opposed to) somebody who has no idea."

MISC.: Sloan said Friday that Brewer and Millsap are in "much better condition" than they were a year ago ... The Jazz will practice again today, then break camp and return to Salt Lake City to resume preseason practice Monday ... Starting power forward Carlos Boozer, still absent while tending to an ill son in Miami, isn't expected to report until sometime after the team leaves Boise.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com