LAYTON -- At 6-feet, 7-inches tall, Vance Downs looks like he belongs courtside at the Utah Jazz basketball games at EnergySolutions Arena.
And that's where Downs sits, hardly breaking a sweat as an official scoreboard operator for the Jazz.
"I have always had a passion for the game," said Downs, who has worked about eight to 10 home games a year for eight years.
But despite his scoring table experience and passion for the game -- including currently coaching boys basketball at Farmington Junior High, and playing basketball while attending Layton High School -- Downs said he sees himself as a "rookie" on the table, where so many of the statisticians he works with have 30 years of experience.
Downs, the husband of Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs, said he first began as a scoreboard operator for the Jazz at the Rocky Mountain Revue summer league that at one time was held at Salt Lake Community College. He did so at the invitation of a friend.
The 59-year-old schoolteacher said he took the job never realizing where it would lead.
"I about fell off my seat when they asked me to do a (regular season) Jazz game," Downs said.
But working the scoreboard is much easier than working the game clock or the 24-second shot clock.
"Timing wise there is little room for error," Downs said of the 24-second shot clock, noting that it continually has to be reset.
But with the scoring, he said, when an error is made, it can be resolved with a quick correction. It helps to sit one person away from the individual who keeps the official score book for the games, Downs said.
"We're communicating pretty much the whole game," he said.
While the job allows Downs to enjoy most of the game, he said being at the scoring table also puts him close to the action and the Jazz players for whom he has a deep respect.
Asked what he sees as the advantages of sitting courtside, Downs said, "You hear a lot of the verbiage of the game. And the contact. The coaches are coaching. The players are playing hard and communicating as players. I pinch myself for the blessing and opportunity."
And even though Jazz staff request that he be near or in his seat at the scorer's table one hour before tip-off, Downs said, a lot of the players will come over and give them "knuckles" (fist bumps).
"They are very much gentleman," Downs said, also noting how the players interact with young people before the game. "It's fun to watch how caring they are. They're good men."
It's clear that basketball is a game Downs has a true appreciation for.
Louenda Downs said operating the Jazz scoreboard is a treat for her husband.
"He loves the game," she said, adding that it allows him to observe how the coaches coach.
"(Vance) observes coaches coaching players, and digests that, and takes it back to his (Farmington Junior High basketball) players," she said.
"To work on an NBA stat crew, you need to be thorough and well-versed in the game of basketball. And Vance (Downs) is well known for having both traits," said Derek Garduno, senior manager of communications for the Utah Jazz.
Downs is trained and able to work multiple positions at the scorer's table, Garduno said.
Downs said he is compensated by the Jazz organization for his scoreboard work. But he says:
"Can you imagine? For that seat, I would do it for nothing. I enjoy the game. It has sure been a big part of my life."