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NBA Summer League: Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder recap

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NBA Summer League: Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder recap


The Utah Jazz Summer League squad came out of the gate flat-footed, falling behind Oklahoma City in the early minutes with an ever-widening lead that the Jazz simply couldn’t whittle down.

If Moneyball’s Billy Beane is to be believed, anything that’s worth doing is going to be incredibly hard. In Utah’s case, shaping its young talent into NBA-level contributors is the goal, and the path to their destination is still unclear. Player development is never linear, and Utah’s blowout loss against the Thunder Summer League squad was a perfect indication that the youth of Utah is far from ready to take on real NBA competition.

In a game where Utah never led, the Thunder looked like the better-prepared team from the tip-off. OKC’s offense was reminiscent of a picky bachelorette addicted to swiping left on Tinder. All night long, it was pass, pass, pass, until the defense was out of men to keep up with their rapid pace.

Utah’s defensive rotations tied themselves into knots as they fought through screens, switched assignments, and frantically chased down open shooters. Of the Thunder’s 35 attempted 3-pointers, it wouldn’t be hyperbolic to say that over half of their hoists were uncontested—absolutely wide open.

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As a team, Utah didn’t come to this game ready to win and never caught up with the Thunder’s Summer League clinic. In a 98-75 blowout win, the most exciting play of the game was a Jack Gohlke 3-pointer in garbage time.

Key Performers

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Brice Sensabaugh enjoyed a fun, though brief, evening in Utah’s Summer League game against the Thunder.
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But beyond every crushing defeat, teams only truly lose when they take no lessons from their failure. That may sound like fortune cookie mumbo-jumbo, but it’s the truth. When player development is the aim, nothing can be more detrimental to a prospect’s growth than a story with no moral.

Though the overall sentiment among fans is that Utah’s young core has a long journey before them, several players displayed flashes of inspired hooping that should get onlookers itching to see more.

Brice Sensabaugh was excellent tonight. Limiting himself to only 1 turnover—a drastic improvement from the night before—Sensa was in his bag offensively. Scoring an efficient 18 points in only 15 minutes of playing time

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For much of the game, the offense largely ran through Kenny Lofton to varied levels of success. Whether operating as a central hub from the top of the key as a screener, distributor, and shooter, or even playing some minutes as the lead ball handler (that was pretty cool), Lofton’s versatility was on full display as he posted a stat line of 18 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds with a bonus 3 steals and 1 block.

2024 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Olkahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz

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Kenny Lofton elevates over the outstretched arm of a defender as he fires from beyond the arc.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Isaiah Collier and Kyle Filipowki added solid contributions during their floor time. Collier got to the rim easily, though he struggled to finish consistently at the rim. He didn’t see the floor for the second half, but that’s likely to make room for other players to get more minutes. Filipowski moved the ball well and finished a few plays himself. He sprinkled in a few assists to go with his 5 rebounds on the night. Take away a few traveling calls, and the rookie had a solid outing.

Even Armondo Bacot, the Tar Heel star, put in some solid minutes after his DNP last night. He collected rebounds much like I’d expect the pink puffball Kirby would, and put in solid minutes—even if those minutes came after the game had already been put out of reach.

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Actual footage of Armando Bacot inhaling defensive rebounds for dinner.
Giphy

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The Ice Age

3 point shooting was hard to watch. More shots clanked off the rim than I could stomach in this one. I sent countless prayers to the basketball gods for Cody Williams to knock one down, and I finally received an answer when he knocked down a trey in the late second half.

Williams was still trepidatious in seeking his own offense, and I would have loved to see him involved in more cutting actions, drives to the rim, or anything other than simply standing in the corner while Preston and Lofton played hot potato at the top of the key. Whether this was due to the Jazz’s offensive scheme or Williams’ tendencies, I’d love to let him go to work and show off what he can do.

2024 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Olkahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz

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Cody Williams locks and loads for a long-range jumper against OKC.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Cody was far from the Jazz’s biggest problem in this one. Shooting 32% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc will equal out to a loss in any situation. Some players who won’t be seeing NBA minutes took more shot attempts than I’d want to see, with certain players who will go unnamed taking and missing far more than their fair share.

Poor shooting nights happen, but tonight’s result was likely a symptom of unprepared players, an incomplete offensive system, and role ambiguity. Tonight was a bump in the road for Utah’s young players, and without Kessler, George, and Hendricks in the lineup, the team lacked leadership and direction.

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Keep in mind that while taking too much from Summer League is an easy habit to fall into, making up your mind on a player’s first NBA experience is shortsighted. Utah endured a rough game against Oklahoma City tonight, but the future is as bright as ever.



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How Oklahoma QB Jackson Arnold Honed the Mental Side of His Game This Offseason

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How Oklahoma QB Jackson Arnold Honed the Mental Side of His Game This Offseason


DALLAS — The Alamo Bowl is firmly in Jackson Arnold’s rearview. 

Oklahoma’s new starting quarterback worked to improve all throughout the spring as he enters his first year truly at the helm of OU’s offense, and his eyes are locked on the future. 

Arnold flashed plenty of the arm talent that excited coaches around the country during his recruitment in the second and third quarters against Arizona last December, but four turnovers soured his first start. 

Curbing those miscues were the obvious takeaway from the contest, but he had another focus during spring practice to develop into the quarterback Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Seth Littrell hope he can be as a sophomore in 2024. 

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“After that Arizona game, there was a lot of maturing and a lot of growing up that I had to do,” Arnold said at SEC Media Days on Tuesday. “Stepping into that QB1 role, I had to be a real leader for us, for our team, and just stepping into that role, I know I need to mature as a person, as a player too. 

“And the person that I am now and the player that I am now has improved drastically from where I was in that bowl game.”

At the start of bowl practice last year, Arnold admitted the leadership part of his new job was a bit awkward. 

“All those guys had Dillon as their quarterback the whole year,” Arnold said. “It felt like I was taking (Gabriel’s) role from him.”

Those worries are no more. 

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“The biggest part of leadership that I focused on this offseason was being a vocal leader,” Arnold said. “Stepping up through conditioning or working out or whatever, just being vocal for those guys and picking them up. Even if we’re in huddles with each other, just leading those guys, telling them things and how we operate and just showing them the way things are done.”

Growing into a leadership role can take time. 

Danny Stutsman is now so much more than simply OU’s best linebacker. 

He was the heart and soul of the defense in 2023, and is a talismanic piece for the Sooners. 

Stutsman had to learn the hard way just how challenging leading an entire side of the ball can be — something he sees Arnold digesting right now. 

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“It’s difficult for him,” Stutsman said.  Only playing one game last year and having all these expectations thrown onto him. He’s done an amazing job of filling that role and doing whatever it takes. 

“For myself, I look back to my sophomore year, kind of earning that starting spot. It kind of took a while. I thought the guys on the defense kind of were leaders. I realized quickly that someone needs to step into that more vocal role. 

“… Sometimes guys don’t want to be there, and you see it right away. You have to be the person who wakes them up, gets them going. Sometimes that person is myself, and I have to kind of understand like if I come to practice or come to workout and I’m not 110 percent, I’m not the one who’s getting everyone clapping, getting everyone with that energy, then people are going to feed off of that both ways.”

As spring practice broke and made way to summer workouts, Arnold still had his own checklist of improvements on the field. 

He tested his skills against the nation’s other top quarterbacks at the Manning Passing Academy, where he continued to try and hone how to marry his arm strength with a deeper understanding of exactly where the ball needs to go on every play. 

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“I feel like the biggest thing for me after spring ball was attacking the mental side of football,” Arnold said, “whether that’s looking at defenses or how Coach V looks at offenses, getting a defensive perspective of the game. 

“But just really focusing on the mental part of football and just kind of learning different things that will help me ID coverages or help me make better reads for the season.”

The true test for Arnold will come in September when the Sooners open up SEC play against Tennesse and then close the month with a trip to Auburn. 

His development will go a long way in determining Oklahoma’s fate in 2024. 

But as the Sooners prepare to open training camp at the end of the month, it’s clear he’s taken the necessary strides off the field to lead OU on it this year. 

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“I think Jackson is starting to understand that and trying to do everything he can to be turned into that leader,” Stutsman said. 



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USS Oklahoma Seaman laid to rest in Grifton after 83 years

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USS Oklahoma Seaman laid to rest in Grifton after 83 years


GRIFTON, N.C. (WITN) – A Navy seaman was finally laid to rest after being unidentifiable for the past 83 years.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese naval and air forces attacked Pearl Harbor, leaving thousands dead and many lost, including sailor Joseph C. Rouse.

Dozens of people gathered at Riverside Christian Churchyard in Grifton to visit the hometown and burial site of Joseph C. Rouse.

His family says he was a Seaman First Class aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Oklahoma was destroyed, and many sailors were tragically trapped below the deck.

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Two years after the attack, Rouse and many others were considered unidentifiable and were buried in Hawaii.

Even though he has no immediate family, he does have over 20 nieces and nephews who grew up listening to stories about him. His niece says her mother never stopped looking for him.

“At the age of 83, she was contacted by the US Department of Defense to donate DNA for possible matches to unknown remains. My mother was gleeful. She could have done cartwheels. She was convinced, “Oh, now, now it’s going to happen. They’re bringing Joseph home” says Gwen Clark.

US Navy Admiral John Robinson, who drove from the Pentagon in Washington DC was also present to show his respect for Rouse.

“The military is committed to not leaving anyone behind. We are committed to a full accounting of our servicemen and women. This was truly an example of that. It can take many, many years, but we are completely committed to bringing everyone home” says US Navy Admiral John Robinson.

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Seaman first class is a former rank that no longer exists in the Navy today.

For more information on Joseph C. Rouse click here



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Oklahoma Indian Clinic Celebrates 50 Years

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Oklahoma Indian Clinic Celebrates 50 Years


Saturday the Oklahoma Indian Clinic celebrated its 50-year anniversary.

Since opening its doors 50 years ago, the clinic has seen tremendous growth.

“To watch the growth and be a part of it is so overwhelming that I don’t even know how to articulate it. ” Said Robyn Sunday Allen, CEO of OKC Indian Clinic.

Since 1995 the clinic has gained over 15, thousand patients.

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“We had about 5000 patients in 1995, and we were an old dilapidated building downtown. Today we have 400 employees, we’re in 150,000 square feet of space with 22,000 patients,” said Sunday-Allen.

In 1974 the clinic opened with a few dozen patients and employees.

A long-time employee Robin Parker says it’s grown beyond the founder’s wildest dreams.

As they celebrate 50 years, the CEO continues to look ahead.

“It absolutely is a celebration of where we were in our humble beginnings and then what we aspire to be,” said Sunday-Allen.

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