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Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Vaughn wants to showcase abilities

August 1, 2001

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— Jacque Vaughn spent the first four years of his NBA career in Utah.

He's hoping for a longer stay a much longer stay in Atlanta.

"I hope this will be the start of a long association," said Vaughn, a former Kansas point guard, who Monday night signed with the Hawks.

Contract terms were undisclosed, although the Hawks are allowed only to pay the veterans' minimum of about $550,000 because of salary cap reasons.

Vaughn backed future Hall of Famer John Stockton in Utah. His chances of playing time figure to increase in Atlanta. Vaughn will be competing for playing time with former Seattle point guard Emanual Davis, who signed on Friday.

"I spent four years playing behind John and sitting in the next locker," Vaughn said. "I learned so much being around Stock, about the professionalism that it takes. . . . Those things will help me. But at the same time I knew I wasn't going to be another John Stockton."

Vaughn, the 27th pick of the 1997 draft, split time with Howard Eisley for two years before he became Stockton's primary backup last season. He averaged 6.1 points, 3.9 assists and 1.57 turnovers a game. He shot 43.3 percent from the field, including 38.5 percent from three-point range.

Hawks general manager Pete Babcock said he wanted Vaughn "because Jacque can push the ball. That's an element we wanted to add to our team."

"That wasn't something we did in Utah," Vaughn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

At 6-1, 197 pounds, Vaughn is as tall as shooting guard Jason Terry, making that backcourt tandem a defensive liability. That's why Hawks signed Davis.

"This is a great opportunity for me," Vaughn said. "Expectations have been raised and deserve to be raised. I'm becoming part of a team that's really going to establish itself and is interesting to me. . . . While I learned a tremendous amount of ball in Utah, I didn't showcase all the abilities I have. Here I can do that."

He described his time under Utah coach Sloan as "great for me as a young player. He's old-school. I learned what it took to win. The right way to win. You have to be mentally strong and tough to play for the Jazz. Now I'm ready to take the next step."

The Hawks have 13 players under guaranteed contract, with training camp two months away.

"This is a very exciting time in my career," Vaughn noted. "I think it is a great opportunity for me to join a team that's made some great acquisitions this offseason, and seems to be making all the right moves. On the looks of things, it appears as if the Hawks are on the way up.

"With the talented players on this team (including recently acquired Shareef Abdur-Rahim), it will be important to be able to distribute the ball and direct the team the way the coaches instruct us, and I can't wait to get started."

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Former KU guard Kenny Gregory, who was not signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves after playing for the Wolves' summer league team, likely will not receive a contract offer from his latest team, the Memphis Grizzlies.

Gregory played sparingly for the Grizzlies' summer league team last week in Utah. He scored 10 points in one game, but logged zero minutes, two mintues and five minutes in three other contests.

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