Jordan farmar Nets rookie

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz


They were No. 15 and No. 16 on a roster that could only keep 15, league standards made that much clear. The cuts would come at any time, the continued presence of the general manager looming courtside serving as a chilling reminder.

“Guys, their careers and livelihoods are on the line,” coach Avery Johnson said after practice Saturday. “I saw a little bit of those nerves and anxiety.”

With one quick meeting after practice Friday, notifying Zoubek, the 7-foot Haddonfield native, that he would be placed on waivers, Uzoh began to breathe easier.

This did not mean his tenure was any less temporary, as he could still be cut at any time before the early January deadline. Friday simply meant that he earned the right to live under his non-guaranteed contract day-to-day as part of the Nets roster.

“Avery, he kind of didn’t tell me,” Uzoh, a rookie point guard out of Tulsa, said. “It didn’t hit me until after practice (Friday) until I heard about Zoubek and I kind of put two and two together. I was like ‘damn, I’m here.’ ”

Theoretically, he’ll be the third understudy behind Devin Harris and Jordan Farmar. In 51 total minutes this preseason, he’s averaged 2.7 points per game, shooting 55 percent from the field.

There wasn’t much in the way of celebration. Uzoh said he didn’t pump his fists or jaunt around the team’s East Rutherford practice facility. The reality of his situation settled in once he was able to get back to his room and pick up the phone.

“That’s when it hit me,” Uzoh said. “When I got a chance to share it with my people.”

First, a call to his mother, Caroline, then his father, Francis. Three sisters followed shortly after as the loyal web of supporters in San Antonio widened to friends and coaches outside.

Francis, who Uzoh described as the most excited, took it upon himself to call Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik.

“My dad, he really was excited for me,” Uzoh said. “He calls me so much, leaving voice messages after voice messages, he’s been contacting my people at college, my coaches, it kind of got emotional with him.”

Saturday, Johnson could see his decision projected into practice. Uzoh stepped up and drilled a 3 pointer he was all too comfortable passing up the day before. He drove the paint and dropped in a bucket over Brook Lodo before, perhaps amplified with the momentary sense of accomplishment. Johpez and Derrick Favors during an intra-squad scrimmage.

He worked the scout team against a half-court trap defense anchored by Favors, beating the pressure and dishing the ball off to the open man.

These are all things he could nson could tell, taking note of the change in intensity but keeping things in perspective.

Both knew the player who completed the Nets’ 15-man roster on Friday, could be cleared for a vacant spot just as quickly.