Utah Jazz happy to be keeping Alex Jensen on the coaching staff
Jensen has been with the Jazz since 2013 and will be for longer as he withdrew his name from consideration for the vacant University of Utah men’s basketball head coaching position.
The Utah Jazz are selfishly happy that assistant coach Alex Jensen will remain with the team.
Jensen, who has been with the Jazz since 2013 when he was hired by Tyrone Corbin, withdrew his name from consideration for the vacant University of Utah men’s basketball head coaching position on Thursday.
“It really means a lot to me, selfishly. I mean, obviously, being a head coach is something I’m sure Alex, Coach Jensen, really wants. But he’s been instrumental in my development here with the Jazz. He’s always pulls me to the side and has helped me grow as a player and as a man, and I think his value to this team is unmeasurable.” — Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang
From top to bottom, everyone within the Jazz organization would have been supportive and overjoyed for Jensen had he decided to stay in the running to coach the Utes, but like Jensen, they feel as if they have something special this year and want to see things out together.
“We’ve worked really hard to get to the point we are,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said on Friday. “Although I think he has great respect for the University of Utah and the opportunity there, it just felt like the timing wasn’t what it needed to be for him to do that.”
Jensen has close relationships on and off the court with all of the Jazz players, but he is perhaps closest with Rudy Gobert.
“Since my rookie year, when I wasn’t playing, he was there, putting the time in to help me grow as a player,” Gobert said. “He would come in late, come back in the afternoon, at night, come to France, to my camp ... just spending a lot of time with me and really help me grow as a person and as a player. And he’s someone that’s always told me the truth.”
Gobert is not the only player on the Jazz that credits Jensen with their NBA success, even beyond the game itself. Georges Niang was also overflowing with compliments for Jensen and said the fact that Jensen had decided to stay with the Jazz spoke volumes.
“It really means a lot to me, selfishly,” Niang said. “I mean, obviously, being a head coach is something I’m sure Alex, Coach Jensen, really wants. But he’s been instrumental in my development here with the Jazz. He’s always pulls me to the side and has helped me grow as a player and as a man, and I think his value to this team is unmeasurable.”
Snyder knows that it’s only a matter of time before Jensen gets a head coaching gig of his own, whether that be in the NBA or at the collegiate level. Snyder knew of Jensen’s work in the D League and recognized that he had something special in Jensen when Snyder took over in 2014.
“Alex and I have been together from day one,” Snyder said. “One of the first decisions I made was to promote him when I got here.”
As far as Snyder’s role in Jensen’s decision to stay with the Jazz, the head coach said that he acted as more of a sounding board and would ask questions to get Jensen to consider things on an even deeper level.
Snyder didn’t want to necessarily offer advice or persuade Jensen one way or the other. Snyder has been where Jensen is and knew how valuable it could be to just have someone there to listen. So that’s what Snyder did, and in the end he was able to keep his assistant around for a little longer.
Gobert, who said it’s hard to put into words how much Jensen means to him, is hoping that Jensen will be around not just for the rest of this season, but for many more.
“I always tell him that I want him to do what’s best for him and for his family and what makes him happy,” Gobert said. “I think he’s just like me, just like us, you know he’s a competitor. I think he’s excited about the way we’ve been growing year after year. It wouldn’t make sense to leave us now, he wants to be part of it. ... I’m happy to have him a part of the team for hopefully a few more years.”