LAS VEGAS — Former Viewmont High School and University of Utah basketball star Alex Jensen is rumored to be the next Utah Jazz player development coach.
It's the worst kept secret in the notoriously tight-lipped Jazz organization.
Deseret News Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy gave us the first heads-up on Cougar Sports Saturday that Alex Jensen was on the Jazz coaching radar.
Genessy also tweeted that "Alex Jensen was spotted with Jazz brass at a Salt Lake City restaurant last night. Staff addition?"
While covering Brandon Davies at the Las Vegas Summer League, Jason Shepherd and I ran into Jensen and sunk our razor-sharp journalistic claws into him.
"I will neither confirm, nor deny it." Jensen said. "But, I can say that if you ask anybody around, the Jazz is one of the model franchises It would be a great opportunity. They're going through a little change — a good, young team."
I will neither confirm, nor deny it. But, I can say that if you ask anybody around, the Jazz is one of the model franchises. It would be a great opportunity.
Jensen grew up in Centerville, won a state basketball title as a junior and was Mr. Basketball in 1994.
As a quick aside, I played against Jensen in 1994. We were both seniors and I was playing for Layton High School. He was hobbled by a bad ankle, but my teammates and I held Jensen to 28 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the field — including a deep 3-pointer — and 9-for-10 shooting from the line. We weren't going to let him score 30 on us — winky emoticon.
It was nearly 20-years ago and we couldn't agree on the final score. I remember being blown-out, Jensen thinks we took them to overtime. We both agreed that Layton lost.
Winning a Utah state championship, playing four-years at the University of Utah and taking the Utes to the NCAA National Championship game couldn't help but spawn a desire to climb the final rung on the Utah basketball ladder.
"Growing up a Jazz fan, it was great," he said. "It would be a great opportunity for me."
Jensen played several years overseas, but returned to college in 2007 to be an assistant coach for Rick Majerus in St. Louis.
He left the Billikens in 2011 to coach the Canton Charge in the D-League. He won the D-League Coach of the Year this past season.
"It's kind of strange. I haven't been home for a while. I bought a house nine years ago that I haven't lived in — in Utah — so that would be nice." Jensen said. "It would be, kind-of, full circle in a way. It would be a great opportunity."
"More importantly than going home — if it was fortunate to happen — would be being a part of the Jazz franchise and organization."
In the video above, Jason Shepherd asks Jensen about coaching in the Summer League, being a first time head-coach in the D-League, and his impressions of the University of Utah basketball program.