Rudy Gobert is aware of the day may come, and maybe quickly, when he has to say goodbye to the assistant coach who has been instrumental in his development from seldom-used rookie to All-NBA middle.
However there are issues Gobert wish to accomplish earlier than Alex Jensen takes a job as a head coach. So when information broke this week that Jensen had taken his identify out of the operating to turn into head coach of the College of Utah males’s basketball group, his alma mater, Gobert was relieved.
“He’s similar to me, similar to us. He’s a competitor,” Gobert mentioned. “I believe he’s enthusiastic about the best way we’ve been rising 12 months after 12 months. For him, it wouldn’t make sense to go away us now. He desires to be a part of it. I’m blissful that he’s going to be a part of it.”
This isn’t the primary time Jensen’s identify has been linked to a head teaching job someplace else. Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is aware of it’s solely a matter of time earlier than the 44-year-old Jensen is operating his personal group.
“He’ll be a profitable head coach someday right here sooner or later,” Snyder mentioned lately.
Jensen has been an assistant with the Jazz since 2013, and Snyder mentioned he has been instrumental within the group’s rise over the previous eight seasons.
“It’s pretty apparent and identified how I really feel about Alex,” Snyder mentioned. “He’s extremely essential to our program and to me personally. Whether or not it’s recreation administration, the factor folks see essentially the most, our preparation course of and educating, he simply checks all these bins. I do know, and the folks on the Jazz know, how proficient Alex is.”
Amongst Jensen’s myriad duties, he has been charged with teaching and growing Gobert for the reason that 7-footer’s rookie marketing campaign.
“It’s onerous to place into phrases,” Gobert mentioned when requested what Jensen has meant to him through the years.
Jensen has been by Gobert’s facet for the reason that 7-footer’s rookie season, molding him into an All-NBA middle in a relationship primarily based on loyalty and honesty.
When Gobert was combating for enjoying time as a rookie, he and Jensen would come again to the group’s facility after practices, generally late at evening. Jensen has been an everyday at Gobert’s camp in Saint-Quentin, France, within the summertime. And each time Gobert wanted, Jensen has been there to offer him with encouragement or a actuality test.
“He’s actually helped me develop as an individual and a participant,” Gobert mentioned. “He’s somebody who has at all times been sincere to me. A variety of guys on this enterprise let you know what you wish to hear. Alex has at all times been actually sincere with me. That’s one of many foremost causes I used to be in a position to get higher 12 months after 12 months.”
Together with serving to Gobert develop, Jensen has helped oversee Georges Niang’s improvement from two-way participant to key member of the Jazz’s rotation. So depend Niang amongst those that didn’t wish to see Jensen go away downtown for a job on the hill.
“It actually means so much to me selfishly,” Niang mentioned. “Being a head coach is one thing Coach Jensen actually desires however he’s been instrumental in my improvement right here with the Jazz. He’s at all times pulled me to the facet and helped me develop, as a participant and as a person. I believe his worth to this group is immeasurable, the issues he does on the courtroom, off the courtroom, and holding a relaxing means about him to assist us get on the market and execute.”
Gobert has talked to Jensen about his ambitions for the long run and has inspired his coach to discover his choices.
“We had a variety of conversations, even final 12 months when he was interviewing for another NBA groups,” Gobert mentioned. “I at all times inform him that I would like him to do what’s greatest for him and his household and what makes him blissful.”
However that doesn’t imply Gobert desires to see him leaving the Jazz anytime quickly.
“I’m blissful to have him nonetheless be a part of the group,” Gobert mentioned. “Hopefully for just a few extra years.”