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Evans gets first taste of Utah winter

Published November 26, 2010 12:43 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It was 80 degrees in Crossett, Ark., on Thanksgiving.

In Utah, Jazz rookie forward Jeremy Evans woke up to record-breaking low temperatures and a layer of snow covering the ground.

Talk about climatic shock.

Evans was born and raised in Crossett, a town of 5,500 tucked into the southeast corner of the state, only nine miles from the Louisiana border.

"In Arkansas, it's never too cold," Evans said. "And if it does snow, it's not much."

A second-round draft pick, Evans has played a total of 38 minutes the Jazz's first 16 games.

He averages 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds.

"We like him," said coach Jerry Sloan. "He's worked hard every day. He's been a good guy to work with. You can't ask for a more dedicated guy.

"We know he's a guy that's got to continue to work on his body. He's got to get a little stronger. But he's got some things that I think will help him play in this league."

So far, Evans says his experience in the NBA has been "much more than I expected. Just to be here, playing with these guys, has been a great experience."

As another winter engulfs Utah, Sloan has only one concern about Evans: "He's got a Camaro that's got rear-wheel drive. You get out in the snow with one of those and that's like a pig on ice."

Foul line woes

When Karl Malone was a rookie with the Jazz, he shot 48.1 percent from the free-throw line.

In 10 seasons with Utah, Greg Ostertag made 57.5 percent of his foul shots.

Unfortunately for young center Kyrylo Fesenko, those numbers are outstanding when compared to what he's managed from the free-throw line this season.

In 12 games, Fesenko is 2-for-13 from the line, dropping him to 18-for-59 in his four-year career.

That's 30.5 percent.

Sloan hopes Fesenko learns from Malone, who in his final seven years with the Jazz made no less than 75.5 percent of his free throws.

"You can give guys all the advice in the world," Sloan said. "But there comes a time you have to be the one that steps up and make the shot.

"I can't shoot it for him. Nobody else can. When it becomes important enough to you so you work on it, that's when you improve."

Has Fesenko's inability to make free throws impacted his minutes?

"I'm sure he'd like to play more," Sloan said. "Everybody likes to play more. But that's certainly a concern, whether you put him out there. ...

"He's a grown man. He's got to work on those things. That's the only thing I told him: 'You've got to make free throws.'"

luhm@sltrib.com