Sunday, April 18, 2010
Peterson witnesses Tyreke Evans' growth
Peterson witnesses Evans' growth
by Rob Small, published on April 13, 2010 at 12:57PM
Tyreke Evans has been an impact player for the Sacramento Kings. The rookie guard from the University of Memphis has gained national attention for the whole season.
Like all NBA players, Evans had to start somewhere, and LaMont Peterson, part of Team Tyreke, helped him grow into the player he is today.
He joined Team Tyreke along with Evans' older brothers Reggie, Doc and Pooh and cousin Temetrius, along with Evans' best friend, Dwayne Davis.
"I was introduced to his family by a mutual friend," Peterson said. "I thought he was an average 14-year-old. There was nothing physically that stood out about him. He was about 6 feet 3 inches, 165 pounds. It wasn't like there was this great, physical presence."
Then something stood out about Evans that separated him from basketball other prep players in the country.
"I saw where he was ranked," he said. "(He was the) No.1 player in the country, but I didn't see that by just (training) him for the first time."
Six years later, Evans is listed at 6 feet 6 inches and 220 pounds. Coming out of college, he was widely regarded for having an NBA-type body.
After training Evans over an extended time, Peterson saw his talent progress.
"As I got to see him play more and more, I got to appreciate his presence, his savvy, his IQ and what he brings to a team," he said.
After Evans finished high school at American Christian Academy in Aston, Pa. 2008, he played with the Memphis Tigers under head coach John Calapari. Peterson's role would change.
"Coach Calapari had an opening and he hired me as assistant coach on staff," he said. "I made sure the guys were in class. I wasn't allowed on court during practice because of NCAA rules limiting how many staff members are allowed to work on-court during practices."
After a one-and-done freshman season at Memphis, Evans declared for the 2009 NBA Draft. Now, Peterson would have to help Team Tyreke prepare Evans for training in front of NBA scouts across the country. It started by hiring Arm Tellem as his agent.
In Los Angeles, Evans worked out with Tellem's clients, including fellow rookies Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson Henderson and NBA stars Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
After traveling all over the country for workouts, draft day finally arrived and Team Tyreke members had one team they wanted Evans to land with.
"We felt that Sacramento was the best place for him," Peterson said. "It was a small town, there wouldn't be a lot of pressure on him. We thought that this would be the perfect place for him to grow and develop and become a go-to guy, franchise-type player."
Evans was chosen No. 4 overall in the NBA draft by the Kings, and Team Tyreke’s members’ wishes came true.
"It's surreal," Peterson said." At times it seems like a dream and (unreal) because this is all we've been preparing for.
"His older brother, Reggie Evans, who's his legal guardian and his business manager, put together a plan what we call 'The Blueprint,' and we've stuck to it for the past four years. So, to see this happen is a fruition of four to five years of hard work and effort."
Evans trained in Chester, Penn., before coming to Sacramento for training camp. They felt that Evans would be a starter from day one, Peterson said about Team Tyreke. After preseason ended, Evans played his first NBA game at Oklahoma City against the Thunder.
"It's incredible," he said after watching Evans step on an NBA court for the first time. "It was finally realization of all your dreams. We shared this dream with him. To know you helped play a part in his success – there's no better feeling in the world."
Evans appreciates Peterson's support through the season.
"He's around every game," Evans said. "He's been a big support."
His brother, Doc, agrees with Evans.
"He's been very influential," Doc said about Peterson’s affect on Evans. "He's been really instrumental in getting (Evans') body ready for the college and the pro level. We've been doing that for a long time, and LaMont's been a major part of that."
After Kevin Martin was ruled out to a long-term wrist injury, Evans exploded onto the scene. Now that Evans' season is almost over, Team Tyreke will have training set up for him in Los Angeles.
"We want him to be able to play 40 minutes every game next year," Peterson said. "We want him to be injury-free. Obviously you can't predict injuries, but we do a lot of preventive (things)."
Peterson has been with Evans preparing him for the NBA. There's no reason that his work with him should end anytime soon.