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Utah Jazz rookie Jarrell Brantley flashes fun versatility in summer league debut

Utah Jazz's Jarrell Brantley moves around Memphis Grizzlies' Simisola Shittu during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Willie Reed and Memphis Grizzlies' Keenan Evans miss the rebound during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Tony Bradley dunks the ball in front of Memphis Grizzlies' Ben Lawson during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Tanner McGrew reaches under Memphis Grizzlies' Julian Washburn for the ball during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Willie Reed dunks the ball during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Tanner McGrew and Memphis Grizzlies' Ivan Rabb reach for the rebound during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Tre'Shaun Fletcher dribbles around Memphis Grizzlies' Jevon Carter during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Jairus Lyles dribbles around Memphis Grizzlies' Tyler Harvey during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Justin Wright-Foreman looks to make a shot during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Justin Wright-Foreman dunks the ball during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Jarrell Brantley dribbles the ball during a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Georges Niang and former Utah Jazz player Naz Mitrou-Long watch a Salt Lake City Summer League basketball game between the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Memphis won 85-68. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A big smile spread across Jarrell Brantley's face.

The 50th pick in the June 20 NBA draft out of the College of Charleston, Brantley played Monday night in his first professional game for the Utah Jazz against the Memphis Grizzlies in the Salt Lake City Summer League at Vivint Arena and was asked how it felt.

His assessment of his debut certainly fit the toothy grin he flashed.

"It was fun," the 6-foot-7, 250-pounder said after scoring 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting with four rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in just less than 28 minutes of play. "A little tiring, but it was fun. It was a blessing to be out there, man, and be on TV. It was fun."

It could also be well argued that the manner in which Brantley played was fun. Like he did in college, Brantley showed on Monday night the ability to do a variety of different things on both ends of the floor.

“It could be overwhelming, but at the same time, these are all the things I prayed for over the years, so it’s fun.”

Jarrell Brantley

The Jazz's first points of the night in an eventual 85-68 loss to the Grizzlies came on a 3-pointer from the 23-year-old. He brought the ball up the floor on a number of occasions, showed an impressive level of toughness (he did pick up eight fouls, with disqualification in summer league not occurring until the 10th) and had a tremendous block in the third quarter.

"That's the big thing with who I am, and I'm grateful that Utah was able to pick that out of me and still allow me to use it, especially in summer league, even if I'm not able to use it during the season because of the guys they have on the team," he said of his versatility. "I'm grateful that they see it in me and they're allowing me to use it."

While Brantley acknowledged the uphill climb he has to try to make the Jazz's roster as a late second-round pick, it's also true that Utah will have roster spots to fill and not a whole lot of money to spend after it adds Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis.

There's certainly one attribute of Brantley's Jazz summer league coach Lamar Skeeter has noticed that could help Brantley make it.

"He competes," Skeeter said. "You can tell he's got that competitive fire, which is great. Everybody was kind of trying to feel out the game feeling. Practice is a lot different than the games. Different speed, they're seeing a different team, so there's always going to be an adjustment, but he and everybody else handled it well."

That competitiveness is what Brantley attributed as a big reason he committed so many fouls, but he took it in stride.

"This is my first NBA game, my first NBA experience, so I'm OK with the eight fouls," he said. "I'm sure a lot of people back home will be clowning me, saying I'm still a hack, but it was fun."

Heading into the game, Brantley noted he was a bit anxious, but said he often performs better when he has some nerves. Mostly, he said, he was grateful to be out on the floor.

And yes, he said "fun" again.

"It could be overwhelming, but at the same time, these are all the things I prayed for over the years, so it's fun," he said.

Brantley was particularly impressed Monday that a bunch of players on the Jazz roster were in attendance as he made his debut, a few of whom, such as Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles, just recently flew into Salt Lake City.

"That was big," he said. "That was big. I haven't gotten the opportunity to talk to them yet, but just for them to show up and come out, they're the main guys and they all came out and supported the team. That says a lot for the organization and for us, people who are potentially going to be their teammates, so that was big to just be around and see."

Moving forward in summer league (Utah will play two more games in Salt Lake City on Tuesday and Wednesday and then go to Las Vegas to compete), Brantley said he's less concerned about forcing trying to show he belongs and more focused on just playing his game.

"I don't think it's necessarily anything I want to prove, because I know that if I go out there and be who I am, I think I have a good shot and I think they'll see I can be placed here somewhere," he said. "That's not my place to say, but I think I'll be OK if I just continue to prove who I am and go in there and go out every day and just be consistent and they know what I do. That's all I can control."