Former Irish Standout Gets His Shot with Bulls

Former Irish Standout Gets His Shot with Bulls
April 11, 2010, 8:39 pm
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Sunday, April 11, 2010
3:31 P.M.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

When the Chicago Bulls waived veteran center Jerome James, they signed forward Rob Kurz for the remainder of the regular season. Kurz, who played collegiately at Notre Dame, is a 6-foot-9 forward that brings a dimension to the Bulls that dont presently havea stretch four, or a power forward that makes his living shooting the ball from the outside and stretching out the defense.

Im thrilled about this opportunity, said Kurz. Im really excited to be part of the Bulls and Im grateful to have this chance.

Im obviously a three-point shooter and with Derrick Rose and the other shooters theyve got, I can space the floor and draw another power forwardwd away from the basket, continued Kurz, who played for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (where fellow Bulls reserve Joe Alexander also had a stint earlier this season) of the NBAs Developmental League this season. The way the game is changing, theres a lot of stretch fours in the league and I feel like I can match up with them. From that standpoint, I feel like I can be of value to any offense.

Kurz, a native of the Philadelphia area, is already familiar with two of his new teammatesHakim Warrick and Flip Murrayas all three made the summer-league rounds in their hometown and worked on the their game in the offseason under the same coach, John Hardnett, who has helped numerous players from the city.

Flip and Hakim Warrick are both from Philly, so I see them in the summer and worked out with them since I was younger, said Kurz, whose D-League season ended last Friday.

Rob is one of those kids that throughout his whole basketball career, he was doubted and people felt he would never make it. He was always the first one in the gym and the last one out of the gym. He always put in extra hard work, always knew he could make it, said Hardnett, who also worked with former Bull John Salmons. Hes one of those ballplayers who can play forever because he has the intelligence factor.

Regardless of what occurs between now and the end of the Bulls season, the reality for Kurz is he is likely auditioning for an NBA jobwhether its with Chicago or another team; last season, he enjoyed a stint with Golden State that included extended minutes and even starting several gamesand he knows that with the teams current situation, playing time is likely to be scant.

I think its a good opportunity for me and they can take a look at me for the rest of the season. Hopefully I can be there in the summer working out, said Kurz, whose coach in Fort Wayne was former DePaul coach Joey Meyer. They can get a chance to see me work every day and see my work ethic, get an extended look and see if they want to keep me around.

I understand that theyre in a playoff race, continued Kurz, who worked out for the Boston Celtics on Thursday. Id love to help the team any way that I canwhether thats in practice or a game, Ill do anything they ask.

Going forward, I feel that I can help an NBA team. HopefullyI can show them that I can be an important part of the team.

While Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro doesnt necessarily plan to throw Kurz into the fire immediately and allow him to prove his worth, he does recognize the former Fighting Irishs standouts potential long-term value to Chicago.

He shoots the ball and well get him on our summer-league team. Obviously theres not a lot of practice leftwe have to focus in our games right now, Del Negro told CSNChicago.com. Well take a look at him as we move forward.

Our basketball front-office people liked what he was doing in the D-League, so they gave him an opportunity and got him up there.