Jon Leuer makes point of making an impact

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 6:31 AM

At his camp, the ex-Orono star teaches how he became a Badger and then a Buck.

Jon Leuer averaged 4.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in his rookie season with Milwaukee.

Photo: Bill Kostroun, Associated Press

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Jon Leuer sat Tuesday morning in the dimly lit gymnasium at Orono High School, which would host his basketball camp later in the day. Ripples of the same shy kid who honed his skills on that court were still present.

"You never forget the relationships you build in high school," said Leuer, an All-Big Ten forward at Wisconsin who opened some eyes last year as a rookie with the Bucks. "When you walk in a gym like this, you really start to reminisce."

Leuer had arrived back home only a few hours earlier, making the six-hour drive in the same truck he has driven since college. He has broken out of his shell a little bit; he did go to four years of college, after all, and has a Twitter account complete with a photo of him getting an upper hand on Dwight Howard. But even if now he is a pro, Leuer is hardly a prima donna.

"Really, I was pretty nervous on draft day not knowing where I'd be at," Leuer recalled about last June, when Milwaukee took him in the second round with the 40th overall pick. "It's good to know where I'm at now, but my mindset hasn't changed. It's all about getting better every day [by] coming into the gym and having a goal to work hard and get better."

After a stint in Germany during last fall's lockout, Leuer came to Milwaukee and helped the Bucks almost immediately. Though his minutes waned later in the season, the 6-10 power forward started 12 games in his abbreviated 46-game rookie schedule. During one five-game stretch, his starting defensive assignments included Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Dirk Nowitzki.

"I felt like I could hold my own and did some good things in those games," said Leuer, who averaged 4.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 12.1 minutes. "Coming in, I didn't know how many minutes I'd be getting -- if any minutes. I feel like I proved to myself I could play at a high level."

It's part of the message Leuer plans to give during his two-day camp, which benefits the Orono Basketball Association.

"Nothing is given to you; you have to earn it," he said. "The same approach I took [in college] at Wisconsin is what I continue to do in Milwaukee. You really can't think about it too much. It's just basketball and I've been playing my whole life."

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