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News » London will likely cheer for Deng, a hometown hero

London will likely cheer for Deng, a hometown hero

London will likely cheer for Deng, a hometown hero LONDON ? With Sudanese refugee Luol Deng being a naturalized British citizen, it's definitely Deng's Chicago Bulls getting top billing for tonight's NBA Europe Live 2009 preseason game here in London. Their token opponent: the Utah Jazz . But the Jazz do have at least one big fan in the United Kingdom.

That would be Deng himself ? the son of a former Parliament member from war-torn Sudan whose family was granted political asylum in England. "The Jazz definitely are one of my favorite teams, just in terms of how well they're coached and how professional that ballclub is," he said after practice Monday at London's O2 Arena. The Jazz had sign-and-trade interest in Deng when he was a restricted free agent back in 2008, before the ex-Duke University small forward signed a six-year, $71 million-plus contract to stay with his first choice ? the Bulls. But there's no doubt that ? if it ever happened ? he would not at all mind a move to the Jerry Sloan-coached Jazz . "The way the play, if you're really into Basketball and just watch the offense and defense, and just the way they're moving, how disciplined it is, you could just tell how well they're coached," Deng said. "As a Basketball fan, I really love watching them." And the Brits love their adopted Deng. "Loul Deng being from here, of course they're gonna support the Bulls," Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer said. "But I hope we get some love too. It can't be all Chicago." Deng, meanwhile, is just happy to play an NBA game ? even if it's preseason ? in London. "I can't believe," he said, "that when I'm done with you guys (reporters) my brother's gonna pick me up and I'm gonna go home and sit down with the family and have a game (today)." BODY CLOCKS: Down at 9:30 p.m., up at 4 a.m., back down at 6, up at 9. Boozer said he had a tough time sleeping Sunday night, the Jazz's first in London. Sloan rested well once he actually got to sleep, but because of a time change ? London is seven hours ahead of Utah ? he's having other issues. "I'm having a difficult time trying to take my medication ? trying to figure out what time of day to take it," the Jazz coach said. "It's thrown me off a little bit. I have to count backward." TOURIST TIME: Sloan, meanwhile, didn't do much but get a bite to eat Sunday night in London. But his wife, Tammy, is doing the tourist thing along with other Jazz wives who made the trip. As for his players, Sloan doesn't mind if some are doing a bit of that themselves ? just as long as it's not too much. "I told guys I hope they have some fun and see some things and that sort of thing," he said, "but that they wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Basketball and you have to take care of your job first." Sloan, frankly, will be fine if he doesn't see a thing. "My job is Basketball, and I have to think about that," he said. "I've never been good at totally removing myself, especially when you're in this part of the season and you have to make decisions on who you keep and who you let go. "I don't always feel very good when I have to think about those things." HISTORY LESSON: Sloan was reminded by a European reporter Monday that the Jazz and Bulls have some history, what with Utah losing twice in the NBA Finals to a certain superstar named Michael Jordan. "Yeah. But we try to forget about that," he said with steely ? or maybe just droopy ? eyes. "They can still talk about it. We don't talk about it too much. ? That shouldn't have any impact on who we are now, and what we're trying to accomplish." ROSEY OUTLOOK: Bulls point Derrick Rose ? in London for the first time ? sat out practice Monday due to an ankle/Achilles tendon injury. He wants to play today, but wasn't sure Monday if he would. "I'm just hoping to heal fast," Rose said. "I didn't come all the way out here not to play. "It would be hard (not to)," he added. "Flying nine hours over here just to sit out ? it's a great city, but I love playing Basketball." WORLD PLAY: Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko said Monday that he plans to play for Russia's national team next summer, whether it gets a wild card invitation to or has to qualify for FIBA's World Championships tournament in Turkey. Olympian Deron Williams of the Jazz has said he plans to play for USA Basketball at the FIBA tourney, and Jazz center Mehmet Okur ? a Turkey native ? already has said he wants be there too. Two-time American Olympian Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, said Monday that he'd love to play in a third Summer Games ? this time when they're held during 2012 in London. e-mail:

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Added: October 7, 2009


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