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Slam dunk champion is focus of attention at Jazz practice

Published: Monday, Feb. 27 2012 11:16 p.m. MST

Jeremy Evans celebrates with his trophy after he won the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Saturday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. Evans is the first Utah Jazz player to win the competition.

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

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SALT LAKE CITY — It was probably the first time ever that all of the dozen or so media guys were ignoring the rest of the Jazz players while waiting to talk to the team's No. 12 man.

But this time it was different. Everyone wanted to talk the NBA slam-dunk champion Jeremy Evans at Monday afternoon's practice.

Evans was still exulting over Saturday night's victory highlighted by his "double-dunk" with teammate Gordon Hayward, which probably earned him the trophy.

Evans, who has been at the end of the Jazz bench all season, playing just half of the team's games while averaging 1.7 points per game, is not famous because of the dunk contest, but certainly more recognizable than he used to be.

He said before when he'd walk through an airport no one would recognize him, but it was different after he won the slam-dunk contest.

"I had a lot of people come up to me," he said of his experience at the airport Sunday. "It's been a lot different, everybody's recognizing my face. I didn't think it would happen, but it has."

Coach Ty Corbin was thrilled for Evans, saying, "It's great to see the league and the world recognize his talents and get a chance to see him win the slam-dunk contest."

When it was suggested he'd need to start playing Evans more, Corbin joked, "I have to talk to him about it and see what he wants. He's the slam-dunk champ."

RISKY DUNK: Evans said he only started practicing his dunks a couple of days before the contest.

He said he and Hayward, who have been buddies ever since they joined the Jazz as rookies last season, had an hour to work on their dunk at the arena night from about 2 a.m to 3 a.m. early Saturday morning.

"I give him all the props because if he wasn't there, I don't know what I would have done," Evans said. "I never tried it before — I think I completed it twice before out of seven or eight tries. So we really took a risk.."

RELAXING WEEKEND: Corbin relaxed during All-Star Weekend by traveling to California to see his son, Tyrell, play a game for Cal Davis.

"I went and hung out with my son," Corbin said. "He had a good game on Saturday and they beat Cal Fullerton, the second-place team in the conference."

Cal Davis really struggled to start the season, going 1-21, but has won four of its last six games. Tyrell finished with 10 points and five assists against Fullerton, which beat the Utah Utes by 30 earlier this season.

Young Corbin has started 22 of 27 games as a freshman and is fifth on the team in scoring with a 6.7 average.

NO CHANGE, YET: Corbin hinted before the break that he might tweak his lineup a bit for the second half of the season. But he had no announcements to make Monday.

"We'll look at some things the next day or so," he said. "We've had a couple of guys hurt, so we'll make sure everybody's healthy and we'll make an adjustment and see how it helps us."

KINGS ARENA: The news came out Monday that the Kings' franchise has reached a tentative deal to finance a new arena, which would keep the team in Sacramento. The city council is expected to vote on March 6.

Corbin played two different seasons (1995-96 and 1999-2000) in Sacramento, so he was especially happy to hear the news.

"It's a tremendous city," he said. "They've always done a great job of supporting the NBA team there even when the teams weren't very good. Their crowd is always good. I would hate for that franchise to leave."

email: sor@desnews.com

Jazznotes

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