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Jared Butler says he'll get minutes during season opener; Jazz bring back scholarship program

Utah Jazz guard Jared Butler (13) turns his head while laughing at an interview during the Utah Jazz media media day at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.

Utah Jazz guard Jared Butler (13) turns his head while laughing at an interview during the Utah Jazz media media day at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Just about every time Quin Snyder has been asked about rookie Jared Butler, he mentions patience.

"Every press conference I get more Jared Butler questions than I do Rudy Gobert questions," Snyder said earlier this week. "We talked about Jared needing to practice patience, I would argue that that's something we all should practice."

But maybe everyone won't have to be too patient after all. Butler is fully expecting to step out on the court during Utah's season opener on Wednesday.

"I know I'm gonna get minutes tonight," Butler said after Wednesday's shootaround. "How much? I don't know. That's the exciting part for me, because it's my first time going into the game where I don't know if I'm gonna get minutes — I mean, I know I'm gonna get minutes, but I don't know how many so that's the exciting part."

Butler made a strong case for rotational minutes during his three preseason games. He led all rookies with 18.0 points per game while showing a mature feel for how to play.

While he admitted the speed of the game has been a little hard to adjust to, everything else has translated easily enough.

"A lot of the game is just like who can just get a bucket, who can get by the defender, who can shoot the ball and dribble and stuff like that," Butler said. "That part comes naturally to me."

So he feels he's ready to go, even saying the nerves aren't there since he felt like the first preseason game was really his first NBA game.

Where Butler will slide into the rotation — if at all — remains to be seen. Snyder has traditionally only played a rotation of nine players, but that may have been out of necessity rather than a preference.

The 10th man on NBA rosters are rarely that strong, but Utah does have some options with Butler and Eric Paschall that could push the rotation to as many as 11 deep once Rudy Gay returns.

Scholarship program returns

The Jazz announced Wednesday the continuation of the Utah Jazz Scholars Program that rewards a four-year scholarship to an underrepresented student for every victory.

"We believe strongly in the power of education to change lives," Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith said in a statement. "The Utah Jazz Scholars Program reflects our desire to help students from underrepresented groups who have historically received fewer resources and less support. It's amazing to think about the fact that for every win the Jazz have this season, a student will get to go to college who would not otherwise have had the opportunity."

The scholarship will cover the full cost of attendance — including tuition, books, fees, and room and board — to one of these six Utah universities: Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Utah State University, Weber State University

To be eligible for the scholarship, recipients must be a graduate of a Utah high school, be from an underrepresented group and have a demonstrated financial need.

Last season, the Jazz won a total of 61 games over the course of the year. With 82 games back on the schedule, plus a potential deep playoff run, the team hopes to eclipse that number.

"It's awesome," Mike Conley said. "As players you play the game, but ultimately the most important things you can do is to service your communities and help people out who otherwise might not be able to help themselves in certain situations."

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