FRANCISCO ELSON: Utah Jazz center
Francisco Elson hasn't received the publicity that the Jazz's other big man addition has, but the 7-footer showed Saturday that he could find a regular role with the team. After the scrimmage, Jazz writer Jody Genessy caught up with the eight-year veteran:
Question: Why did you decide to sign with the Jazz this offseason? And with training camp behind you, what are your impressions of coach Jerry Sloan and the team?
Answer: Great organization. Awesome coach ... probably a Hall of Famer, if not already in the Hall of Fame. There's a lot of good things about this team, young team, a team that has aspirations of becoming very good and trying to win something. ... I think everybody's played very hard. They play with a lot of intensity and very defensive-minded, very pass-oriented team, so everybody gets involved.
Question: What do you feel like you can personally bring to this team?
Answer: They're already energized. We don't need another energizer. I think the fans energize them. Me coming to the team is part of their defensive philosophy and I think I'm a very good defensive player. ... I'm still working on it (mid-range game), still room to improve. Jeff Hornacek (is) helping me out, so if I'm open I'm going to shoot it this year. I'm going to show everybody that I can shoot it.
Question: You seemed pretty intense out there during the scrimmage, giving the referee a little stare-down and wiping off your teammates' hand. From the feistiness we saw, it looks like you're a Jerry Sloan-type of player. Is that how you'd describe yourself?
Answer: That's the only way to play. It's your job. What else you going to do? I'm a competitor. I want to win every game. As soon as we have the lead, I want to keep the lead and don't let it dwindle down, because sometimes when you see a big lead up on the scoreboard you tend to relax and the other team starts rolling. I don't like that. I want to win and I want to win as many games as possible. I'm all into winning. My whole career I've basically won a lot of things, especially 2007.
Question: What has been your best experience in the NBA?
Answer: That was it — 2007, winning the championship (with the San Antonio Spurs).. As any athlete that has or plays on the top level you always want to win, and why not win the big prize? I was a regular player, often a starter, so I had a very good time there.
Question: There aren't many Dutch players in the NBA. Can you tell us about your background and how popular basketball is in your native country? And you must be treated like a superstar when you go home, right?
Answer: I was born and raised in the Netherlands. There's another one, a friend of mine (Dan Gadzuric). We played last year on the same team with the Milwaukee Bucks. Right now (basketball) is probably top five. The Netherlands is too laid back to acknowledge their superstars. It's just part of life over there. They see you as a normal person.