Jeremy Evans was welcomed to the Trojan Center with big cheers. Youth watched with wide eyes as this 6’9” Utah Jazz forward walked into the building. Evans was all smiles and gave incredibly high fives to all the mini basketball fans.
Evans just finished his fourth year with the Utah Jazz and was the 2012 NBA dunk champion, but the fame and recognition hasn’t affected his down-to-earth attitude and infectious smile. Evans truly appeared to enjoy his time with our Morgan youth.
Evans’ mom Gwen accompanied him and said that he has always been good with kids and loves this part of his job. His wife Korrie and his brother Justin also accompanied him. Evans said it was the first time that this much of his family joined him and he was happy to have their support.
As Evans addressed the crowd, he encouraged the youth to stay in school. “My mom always made me do my homework before I could play my video games,” said Evans. “There’s not too much you can do without graduating and going to college. I had friends that got to play video games before they did their homework and I go home now and those same guys are still at their parents’ houses playing video games while I have a nice car, a good job and get to go shopping whenever I want to. So make sure you do your homework every day and go outside.”
He said he still loves video games but doesn’t spend a lot of time on them. Evans also enjoys bowling, racing remote control cars and has just started getting into golfing.
Evans graduated from Western Kentucky University with an art degree, a degree he still makes good use of even with his basketball career in full swing. He said portraits are his favorite and loves being able to use his artistic abilities to help further community programs.
The youth were then invited to join the Jazz forward on the court and chaos and laughter ensued as they joined him in several games that involved the whole group. When one group lost a game, Evans would join the losing team in push-ups or a run around the track. With his long legs, Evans could have left them all in the dust, but he stayed with the group.
Evans showed his skill blocking shots and getting in some slam dunks, while letting the kids steal the show once in a while. Jerry Pierce was on hand this year to DJ the event, adding a soundtrack and that little touch of Morgan style to the morning.
As always, there was a question and answer period following the fun. Morgan youth discovered that the Jazz great is not a Harry Potter enthusiast but does love to eat anything that isn’t watermelon or cantaloupe. He joked that his favorite color was pink, which resulted in many giggles and said his favorite movie is “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” which turned up many eyebrows in puzzlement. Evans said that he got so tall by “listening to his mom and eating his vegetables,” and started playing basketball at 4 years old. His first team play was in third grade on a Boys and Girls Club team.
Following many questions like, “How old are you in doggie years,” the event coordinators passed out T-shirts to each participant and allowed the kids to have one item signed and get pictures taken with the NBA star.
Currently in its 31st year, Junior Jazz is the largest and longest-running youth basketball league in the NBA. The program emphasizes the development of teamwork, fundamental basketball skills and fun. Members include kindergarteners through 12th-graders, many of whom return year after year. With ongoing support from Industrial Supply, Scheels, Denny’s, Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Savage Companies and Zero Fatalities, the Junior Jazz program includes more than 55,000 players in seven states.