Former Orono High School and Wisconsin standout Jon Leuer announced his retirement from professional basketball, ending a career that included 377 regular-season NBA games with five teams before he was slowed by injuries in recent years.
“I love the game of basketball. I still want to play, but I know deep down it’s not the right decision for my health anymore,” Leuer, who turned turned 31 May 14, wrote on his social media accounts. “... It’s taken me a while to come to grips with this, but I’m truly at peace with my decision to officially retire.”
The 6-10 Leuer, who was from Long Lake, was primarily a guard in high school, but after committing to play for Wisconsin under coach Bo Ryan, he had a 10-inch growth spurt before his senior year at Orono. He became a reliable three-point shooter in his four-year college career and led the Badgers in scoring and rebounding in both his junior and senior seasons. He finished 12th in Wisconsin history with 1,376 career points and was part of a class that won 100 college games.
He averaged 6.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in his NBA career, which began after the Bucks made him a second-round draft pick in 2011. He played 131 games with the Grizzlies and 124 with the Pistons. He played in four postseasons, three with Memphis and one with Detroit.
His best season statistically came in 2016-17, his first season after the Pistons signed him to a four-year, $41 million contract. He averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game that season, starting 34 times. But he only played in eight games in 2017-18 and 41 games in 2018-19. He was traded back to Milwaukee last summer but subsequently waived, and he did not play at all this season because of injuries.
Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Leuer ranked fourth among graduates from Minnesota high schools in NBA games played. Kris Humphries (Hopkins) played in 800 games from 2004 to 2017; Joel Przybilla (Monticello) played in 592 games from 2000 to 2013; and Devean George (Benilde-St. Margaret's) played in 581 games from 2000 to 2010, excluding 49 games from his rookie season of 1999-2000.
“As disappointing as these injuries have been, I’m still thankful for every moment I spent playing the game,” Leuer wrote. “Basketball has been the most amazing journey of my life. It’s taken me places I only could’ve dreamed about as a kid. The relationships it brought me mean more than anything. I’ve been able to connect with people from all walks of life and forged lifelong bonds with many of them. What this game has brought me stretches way beyond basketball. I’m grateful for this incredible ride and everyone who helped me along the way.”