Jawun Evans was at a loss for words as he walked to the stage of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York after his name was announced as the 39th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
The former Oklahoma State point guard was all smiles.
“I was just like, ‘I’m here’. This is somewhere I always wanted to be,” Evans said in a telephone interview last week. “It was something I wanted to do and then it finally came true.”
Evans played for the Cowboys for the 2015 and 2016 seasons before entering his name into the draft.
He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, but the pick was acquired by the Los Angeles Clippers, where he met teammate Lou Williams. Williams played a major role in helping Evans learn the ropes.
“Being around the guys you grew up watching and actually being on the same team with some of them, the guys you look up to, it’s been great, “Evans said. “It’s been a grind.”
The biggest game of Evans’ two-year career came just 19 games into his first season. He was matched up against John Wall in Washington, where he racked up career highs in points (15), rebounds (6), steals (5) and assist (6). His 15 points and five steals are still career highs today, as are the 40 minutes he played in that game.
Evans played 48 games and averaged five points in 16 minutes per game in his first year with the Clippers. He appeared in a total of 15 games for the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns in his second season.
Now he is back in familiar territory, playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Summer League.
“There’s been a lot of love shown since I’ve been back in Oklahoma,” Evans said. “Oklahoma is like another home for me because of going to school there…I’m happy to be back.”
The Thunder finished 4-1 in Summer League games and Evans said this summer is a teaching point for him. The biggest adjustment for Evans as a professional is coming from being the top guy at OSU to not knowing what type of playing time he’s going to get on a game-by-game basis.
The key is to just keep working.
“You just have to find a way,” Evans said. “During practice, you’ve got to get your work in. I’m just happy to be here. I don’t take any of it for granted. Every chance I get being up here in the NBA, I enjoy every moment of it.”