Orono High graduate Jon Leuer works at the free throw line getting ready for an NBA preseason game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Chicago Bulls in St. Louis, MO Monday. Photo Credit: Gregg Palermo
That appears to be the mantra for Jon Leuer, a 6-10 forward and a 2007 graduate of Orono High School, as he heads into his third season in the NBA. Leuer, who stood out at Wisconsin after his time in the Twin Cities, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2011 draft and is on his fourth NBA team after arriving in Memphis via trade last January from Cleveland.
The Grizzlies are coming off a deep run to the Western Conference finals last season and boast a deep and experienced frontcourt, with former All-Stars Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. It doesn't leave a lot of playing time. Leuer played in 28 games last season averaging 2 points and 1 rebound in 6.7 minutes per game
Leuer said he used his offseason to work on his game and to work on his conditioning in the weight room, all with the focus on being ready when called upon.
He credits his former high school coach Mike Amos, now an assistant at Hopkins High School, with being an important influence in his development who lit a fire under him as the head coach during his junior year.
Amos, he said, "asked me what I wanted to be and how good I wanted to be because he thought I could be better than what I was."
With Gasol sitting out Monday's exhibition opener, Leuer was first off the bench and scored 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in more than 23 minutes on the floor.