Joel Bolomboy reflects on rookie season spent with Jazz, Stars

Joel Bolomboy reflects on rookie season spent with Jazz, Stars

SALT LAKE CITY — While the Utah Jazz were still in the midst of their playoff run, general manager Dennis Lindsey and team president Steve Starks got around to talking about rookie big man Joel Bolomboy.

The discussion centered around math: How much more playing time did Bolomboy, the 52nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, get this season by spending a great deal of it with the Jazz’s D-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars?

Lindsey guesstimated that Bolomboy got hundreds, if not in the thousands, more minutes.

The final tally showed that the former Weber State star played 824 minutes with the Stars and logged 63 minutes with the big club.

Utah head coach Quin Snyder certainly is familiar with the value of the D-League, having served with great success as the head coach of the Austin Toros from 2007-2010, and feels as though Bolomboy getting a chance to play a lot there was beneficial for the 23-year-old.

“I think Joel’s progress has been good,” Snyder said. “Sometimes it’s hard to go back and forth from the D-League, but I think for him, the time that he spent in the D-League was really, really important. There’s no substitute, at some point, to playing time, and whether that’s playing time with the Jazz or with the Stars, I was happy that Joel had that opportunity, and I think it served him well.”

In total, Bolomboy finished the D-League season with averages of 16.5 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, and he was named an All-Star.

“When we drafted Joel, Dennis and his staff obviously saw something there, and I think what we’ve seen is both the character, the work ethic and the athleticism and kind of the raw talent, and those are good combinations,” Snyder said. “Anytime you have character and some ability, you see progress and growth, and that’s what we’ve seen from Joel.”

Bolomboy, too, feels that he has improved throughout the year thanks in large part to his time with the Stars, but he noted that his time with the Jazz was valuable as well, even if he didn’t get on the court much.

In particular, he said, he learned a great deal from each of Utah’s frontcourt players about staying steady.

“Just being consistent and just waiting until my time comes and just keep getting better every single day,” the soft-spoken big man said.

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So what’s next for Bolomboy? On the heels of getting nine minutes of playoff action against the Golden State Warriors, he’ll be in Utah throughout the summer working with the Jazz coaching staff. Moving to next season, the Jazz having Bolomboy become a regular part of the rotation would be quite a big jump, but chances are good Boris Diaw won’t be back, Jeff Withey is a free agent, and talks have swirled about a potential trade involving Derrick Favors.

Bolomboy, for one, wants to do his part to try to make that jump.

“I think the main goal is just to continue to develop and continue to get better, kill in summer league and just try to get into the rotation next year and help out the team,” he said about his goals. “Just succeed myself and help the team be successful also.”

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Published at Wed, 17 May 2017 00:30:00 +0000