Zach Harper and I were both at Tyreke Evans’ basketball camp in Oak Park last week. I posted a few of Tyreke’s thoughts before and after the 2011 NBA Draft, while Zach worked on a feature published today on TrueHoop. An excerpt:
But as he entered his sophomore NBA season, with high expectations for himself and the team he leads, Evans was already battling a dreaded plantar fasciitis injury to his left foot and trying to be tough for his team. “Just because I’m young, when I got hurt, I tried to play through it, “ Evans said as he reflects on his second season.
Tyreke did try to play through it early on and struggled while doing so. He played in 46 of the first 53 games of the 2010-11 season. While it may be unfair to call his averages of 18.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in those first 46 games struggling, those were the types of expectations his rookie play brought about. He couldn’t explode to the basket in the same way he was used to, and with his struggling jump shot unable to fall, he was constantly left with a physical disadvantage.
“It was pretty hard, “ Tyreke admits. “Just knowing that I like to get to the basket, I’ve got to use that leg to push off with.”
Zach actually spent a good 12 minutes with Tyreke for that story. We have highlights from that conversation and the audio for your listening pleasure after the jump.
- Less downtime for Tyreke this year versus last year following the conclusion of the regular season. He said he took about a month or two off following his rookie of the year campaign. This year, he wasted no time when the season ended and got right back in the gym. He’s spending his off-season training in Santa Monica.
- On challenging teams with great help defenses: “That’s the hardest part. I mean, you can get by your defender, but it’s always the help. That’s why the Boston Celtics, those types are teams are good because you know, Rondo gets beat, you got a KG coming up, ready to whack it. You know, no layups?”
- On the Kings becoming a better defensive team: “Help defense is a big key to us. We’re young, so we got to learn to have that behind us. It ain’t about just staying with your man because in the NBA, everybody is so good. You can’t stay with your man all the time. So it’s about the help defense.”