Leuzinger alum Jerry Evans Jr. makes most of Lakers workout
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — When opportunity knocks, you have to open the door. For Jerry Evans Jr., that door led him to El Segundo at the Lakers’ practice facility.
As the Lakers held their first pre-draft workouts Wednesday, Duke’s Rodney Hood and Michigan’s Nik Stauskas were late scratches.
That gave Evans Jr. an opportunity as a late invite to workout for the team he grew up rooting for.
Evans Jr. played his high school ball for Reggie Morris Jr. at Lawndale Leuzinger before playing collegiately at the University of Nevada.
The opportunity to workout for the Lakers provided a player like Evans Jr., who didn’t attend the NBA Draft Combine and isn’t a high-regarded prospect, to prove himself against those who are considered to be the cream of the crop of a loaded 2014 draft class.
"Those guys are the big beneficiaries," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said of players like Evans Jr. who received last minute invites. "They get to work out with some lottery considerations and they’re anxious to be here. They don’t say much. They just work as hard as they can and they benefit."
Asked how the workout went, a modest Evans Jr. says he believed he performed "well."
Whether that performance was enough to get the attention of Kupchak for potential future considerations heading into the 2014-15 season remains to be seen.
He did, however, leave an impression on Arizona forward Aaron Gordon, who’s considered by most to be a top-10 pick in this month’s draft.
"He blocked one of my dunks," Gordon said of Evans Jr. "He swatted it. That’s pretty good.
"He’s long. He’s athletic. He’s a good player, too."
Standing at 6’8" and weighing 210 pounds, Evans Jr. feels he can be a guy that can guard different positions in order to make a living at the next level. He was an All-WAC defender as a sophomore.
On the offensive end, he averaged a career-best 12.3 points per game last season as a senior. It was on that end of the floor he wanted to make sure he didn’t overdo it in front of Lakers brass.
"I just wanted to be efficient and knock down open shots," Evans Jr. said. "I didn’t come here just trying to shoot every shot I touch. I was trying to create for my teammates, get second chances, (if) guys miss, tip it back out (and) get back into the offense. I feel like that was more of my focus today, not necessarily trying to be a primary scorer, just showing that I can be efficient without the ball and be effective."
He believes he accomplished that. Evans Jr. participated in session II of the Lakers workouts that included Gordon, Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Kentucky’s James Young, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton and Weber State’s Davion Berry, who was also invited like Evans Jr.