ST. GEORGE — There were no TV cameras, judges or even referees in the building, but NBA Slam Dunk champion Jeremy Evans was still on his game Tuesday night at the St. George Recreation Center.
In town to promote Jr. Jazz Basketball, a statewide little league hoops program, Evans joked with the audience, goofed around with kids and generally entertained a crowd of about 300 fans packed into the gymnasium at the Rec Center.
“Always listen to your parents, especially your mama,” said the soft-spoken 24-year old who hails from Western Arkansas. “I wasn’t much into video games. My parents didn’t really have to tell me to go out and play. I was always out shooting hoops.”
The man dubbed the “human pogo stick,” during his NBA slam dunk debut, threw down a few dunks for the appreciative crowd. But mostly he joked around with the kids in attendance, then stayed after to sign autographs.
“I love doing this kind of thing,” he said. “I was just like these kids not that long ago.”
Evans, along with Jazz representative Nate Martinez, ran through several teamwork drills with the audience, stressing to those in attendance to be respectful and to be a good teammate.
The 6-foot-9 Evans said he was a big fan of Shaquille O’Neal when he was younger. But at a rail-thin 198 pounds, Evans never got the bulk or height that his idol was blessed with.
“I do need to get bigger, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’m not too good at gaining weight. But I need bulk and I need to work more on my ball-handling skills to earn more playing time.”
Evans, who played college basketball for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, will begin his third season with the Jazz in November.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.