Collin ‘Young Bull’ Sexton ready to ride in Utah

Collin 'Young Bull' Sexton ready to ride in Utah

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Collin Sexton earned the nickname “Young Bull” his junior year of high school in Atlanta for his tough, hard-nosed brand of basketball.

Now with a new team, Sexton looks to bring that same hard-work attitude to a Utah Jazz team in desperate need of new leadership.

Sexton is used to adapting and blazing trails in unexpected circumstances; he famously dropped 40 points in college when his Alabama team was down to three players and almost managed to come back and win an eventual 89-84 loss to Minnesota.

He was drafted eighth overall by a Cleveland Cavaliers team coming off of four-straight finals appearances, just to have LeBron James opt out of his contract eight days later and join the Los Angeles Lakers, which left Sexton as one of the team’s leaders at the ripe age of 19.

The Young Bull now comes to Utah after the team recently traded away Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell after six-straight playoff appearances. For a Utah team experiencing a major overhaul, in a league full of constant movement, Sexton’s standing with the Jazz seems about as sure a thing as you’ll find.

The Jazz signed Sexton to a four-year, $72 million deal after his arrival as part of the Mitchell trade, making him and 2022 draft selections Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji the only players on the Jazz payroll through the 2025-26 season.

“Collin is a proven player,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said. “You’re gonna love him as a guy and a hard worker. At his age and his already current production, the opportunity for him to be with us in this stage is really good. And hopefully, you know, many years to come.

“It wasn’t much of a question; he was somebody that we wanted. If we were going to make a deal (with Cleveland), he needed to be in that deal.”

Sexton met with the media for the first time on Tuesday and said he’s “not really sure” how the trade and signing came to be; but after becoming a restricted free agent with the Cavaliers, he knew he needed to “stay patient and everything would work out.”

“That was pretty much my mindset the whole summer,” Sexton said. “I just wanted to just continue to work on the things that I needed to improve on, and I’d let the rest take care of itself. Let’s just get back to 100%. Focus on that.”

Sexton said he’s now 100% healthy after tearing his meniscus in November. Before his injury, Sexton showed the ceiling he’s capable of reaching in the NBA with a 42-point outing in a victory over the Brooklyn Nets led by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Jan. 2021.

“At the end of the day, I just want to come in each and every day and give it 110% and be the best Collin I can be,” Sexton said. “(I’m) out to prove that I can play, but also out to prove to my teammates that I’m with it; and regardless, ups and downs, we’re gonna get through it and we’re gonna finish the season strong.”

It appears the 23-year-old player is already taking a liking to life in Utah after just a week on the Wasatch Front, too. On Saturday, he attended the Utah-Southern Utah football game and has spent early mornings and late nights with new teammates and coaches at the Jazz practice facility. Sexton said he enjoys the outdoors and looks forward to the natural attractions Utah provides.

“I will say the mountains are something I’ve never really paid attention to, so it’s kind of cool to see the good views and just watch the sunrise and sunset as well,” Sexton said. “Definitely good vibes. Everybody in the organization, everybody in the building has real good energy.

“Each and every day that we’ve been here has been fun. It’s definitely fun, but we’ve been putting in work for sure.”

Hard work seems to be the undercurrent of the entire Jazz organization right now. Zanik told reporters on Monday that the rebuilding process in Utah will take a lot of effort, and that new head coach Will Hardy has a “culture” of hard work. Now they have the Young Bull ready to pull the wagon into a new era.

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Caleb Turner covers Real Salt Lake as the team’s beat writer for KSL.com, in addition to his role where he oversees the sports team’s social media accounts.

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