For any of us who have driven south on I-15, from Salt Lake to Orem, Thanksgiving Point’s Open Court appears as just another large, extremely ugly, out-of-place warehouse. Unless you’ve been inside, you’d never guess the gems that this "warehouse" holds.
For much of the year, this sports complex is home to youth basketball; volleyball and any other athletic training you can wrap your head around. But lately, Open Court has been the practice facility for the up-start NBA Developmental League team the Utah Flash.
This year is the inaugural season for the Flash who will play their home games in the McKay Center.
The team is young, talented and definitely itching to lace up and hit the court running. "We’re going to bring a fun, fast style of basketball to Orem. Maybe something the people around here haven’t seen but I know they’ll love it," said Lamar Rice, a 6-foot-7 forward, out of Clemson.
Watching the team’s warm up, it was apparent that they had only been together for a few days of practice. Chemistry was lacking, but there definitely was no shortage of talent on the court, with players like Kevin Krueger, the team’s No. 1 draft choice and leader of last year’s UNLV Sweet Sixteen team.
Kyrylo Fesenko, the first year man drafted by the Utah Jazz in the 2007 draft, and Brandon Wallace, acquired Tuesday from the Boston Celtics will be involved in the team early to develop.
When asked what he expects from the team as the season begins, Krueger said, "We’ll be athletic, we’ll be able to run and score and we’ll respect the game. […] Play it the way it’s supposed to be played."
Head coach Brad Jones, formerly a scout for the Utah Jazz, couldn’t ask for any better in his rookie floor-general Krueger.
"He’s been really solid throughout training camp; I think he’ll be one to keep an eye on because I don’t know if we’ll keep him long," he said.
Because of the farm-system atmosphere of the NBA D-League, players could come and go quickly. But one thing that is sure to stay is this franchise and the buzz it has brought with it.
And with the recent exploits of the Jazz and with our very own success on the hardwood at UVU (the men’s basketball team was the best Division-I independent last year), the Flash are hoping that they will be able to ride coat tails of the local basketball excitement.
For more information go to www.utahflash.com
Nov. 24 at Anaheim
Nov. 25 at Los Angeles
Nov. 27 Dakota-home opener at McKay Center
Nov. 29 Bakersfield