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Men’s Basketball: Millsap brothers focused on game

Jazz’s Paul, UL’s Elijah spend off time practicing

Paul and Elijah Millsap don’t get to spend a lot of time together, and when they do it’s usually on the basketball floor.

That’s where the brothers were Thursday, when NBA player Paul spoke at Robert Lee’s UL youth basketball camp. Younger brother Elijah, a sophomore member of the UL squad, was wrapping up his week as a camp staffer.

"We don’t have Christmas or Thanksgiving or days like that, so our time is during the summer," said Paul Millsap Thursday. "He comes up to Utah and works out with us some."

The elder Millsap completed his first NBA season in the spring after a stellar career at La. Tech, not far from the brothers’ Grambling hometown. The Utah Jazz’ second round draft pick and the 47th overall player picked, Paul Millsap made the NBA All-Rookie second team and missed the first team by one vote in balloting of the 30 NBA coaches. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds, ranking second among rookies in rebounding and double-doubles (seven).

Meanwhile, Elijah Millsap finished up his freshman year with the Cajuns leading the squad in rebounding with 7.3 per game along with 12.4 points per outing, winning Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year honors and establishing himself as a player to be reckoned with.

"He’s always been an explosive player," Paul Millsap said of his 6-foot-5 brother, "but now he knows how to use that explosiveness. He’s different from everybody else because of his athletic ability. He’s a high flyer. Once he gets his shot down, he’s going to be a difference maker."

Elijah, meanwhile, talked about the consistency shown by his three-years-older brother, who at 6-foot-8 plays mostly inside for the Jazz.

"He has more of a control game, and he has to, playing with his back to the basket," said the younger Millsap, who turns 20 Sunday. "I’m probably more eager, more aggressive, where he makes a lot of plays off the ball."

The two spent significant time in Salt Lake City this summer, working out with other Jazz players.

"We’ve been training with guys older than us since we were little," Paul Millsap said. "It’s good for him to do a lot of the things we do."

Because the older Millsap’s NBA season runs from early October until mid-April plus the playoffs, and since the younger Millsap is in school from August until May with little holiday break, their contact is by phone and video.

"We talk just about every day," Paul Millsap said. "He calls after his games to tell me how he did, and I’ll call after some of our games. It’s tough since their games aren’t on TV a lot, but coach (Johnny) Simmons will send me some films."

John Rowland/Advertiser file photo

UL’s Elijah Millsap, center, drives past Arkansas State’s Ryan Wedel, right, and Shawn Morgan on Dec. 17.

Football was first choice


Paul Millsap may be a budding NBA star, but basketball wasn’t his best or favorite sport in his youth.

"Actually, football was my first sport," Millsap said Thursday during his appearance at Robert Lee’s UL basketball camp. "When I was in middle school in Colorado, I was a good football player. I wanted to play college football and in the NFL."

When his family moved to Louisiana, his focus changed to basketball, and he went on to a solid career at La. Tech before being drafted by the NBA’s Utah Jazz last year.

"I miss football sometimes," Millsap said. "I wonder sometimes what could have been if I’d played football."