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Utah Jazz: Action-packed summer for Jeremy Evans

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 12:05 a.m. MDT

Jazz forward Jeremy Evans slaps hands with kids as he conducts a clinic for Jr. Jazz members in Dugway, Monday, June 18, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

DUGWAY — This is a big summer for Jeremy Evans.

For one thing, Evans' basketball future will be decided when the Utah Jazz or another NBA team signs the restricted free agent this July.

For another, this week he's having fun traveling around Utah and Nevada to teach, play hoops and have fun with kids for the third straight year with the Junior Jazz's barnstorming tour.

Arguably, those aren't the biggest events of this offseason, either.

Not only is the 24-year-old getting married, but he's also getting his braces off — both life-changing, memorable moments in their own right.

One thing he isn't doing this summer?

Worrying.

Not about wedding details. He's letting his fiancée take care of the majority of this summer's big event in Georgia.

"I'm going to stay out of it," Evans said, adding with a smile, "but if she needs me, I'm there."

He isn't concerned about bouncing around remote locations to hang with kids. Jazz youth programs coordinator Nate Martinez is there to guide him around the vast region and help with the driving, and Evans and his college sweetheart/bride-to-be Korrie Walters are soaking in the diverse scenery from West Wendover to Kanab and having a blast with youngsters.

"I just like coming out. I didn't have a chance to meet an NBA player really when I was younger or (do) something like this," Evans said in Dugway's community gym this week after a delightful hour-plus clinic with a few dozen youngsters. "(I like) just to come out and make their day or even make (somebody's) lifetime. They'll always remember this. I think it's fun. It's an opportunity that everybody doesn't get."

He's not even fretting about his uncertain professional future. Jazz brass have spoken highly about him and expressed a desire to bring him back, but you never know what's going to happen until a contract is in hand (from the Jazz or, say, Portland).

On top of that, Evans is leaning on the Big Basketball Fan in the sky.

"I always go to church. I look to God," Evans said. "I believe He has everything under control. I'm just waiting to see what's going to happen."

Evans' preference is to stay put. The Jazz drafted him in the second round two years ago as an unheralded player out of Western Kentucky, and he's put on a dazzling display of athleticism and energy in his rare playing opportunities.

Evans has also gotten to highlight his high-flying slamming skills — from finishing off alley-oops from Earl Watson to winning the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk crown in February after being an injury fill-in at the last moment.

Evans would love to help the Jazz jump into a bright future with the young, exciting core the franchise has put together the last couple of years.

"I'd love to be back with the Jazz," Evans said. "Hopefully, I'm around for the future — Gordon (Hayward), Derrick (Favors), Alec (Burks) and Enes (Kanter). I know they'll be around, and I'd love to play with them."

For that matter, Evans would love to play. Period.

In his rookie season of 2010-11, Evans saw action in 49 Jazz games. But this past year playing behind the likes of Josh Howard, C.J. Miles and Hayward, the bouncy Evans only saw time in 29 outings for 7.5 minutes a night compared to 9.4 mpg his first season.

"Just to win a dunk competition, that really doesn't mean too much as far as playing time," Evans said. "I want to get that role of being in the game, earning minutes and being able to play. That's how I want to be known."

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