UW Health Sports Medicine 

Lucas at Large: With draft complete, Leuer looks ahead

MBB_110629_Leuer_Jon_NBA.jpgDuring his pre-draft workout with the Detroit Pistons, Jon Leuer got some valuable advice from Joe Dumars, the team's president of basketball operations, that has served as a source of motivation.

He just told me, 'It's a helluva lot more important what you do after the draft than what you do before it,'" recounted Leuer, a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks.

"That kind of stuck with me and put things into perspective."

Following Friday's press conference at the Bradley Center -- his new home -- Leuer was scheduled to travel back to his parent's home in Minnesota to decompress from his NBA odyssey, 17 workouts.

"But not for too long," he said. "I'll probably come back to Milwaukee for a few workouts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then after that, we'll see what happens."

All signs are pointing to a July 1 work stoppage; a lockout when the CBA expires. "I'll keep training and keep working my butt off," Leuer said. "Obviously, it's a different situation."

That would also describe Thursday night at the Leuer household. While his dad handled the grilling, his mom served as a hostess for family and friends who had gathered to watch the draft.

That included three of Leuer's former Wisconsin teammates: Tim Jarmusz, Brett Valentyn and J.P. Gavinski. They drove up Wednesday and "hung out" for a couple of days with Leuer.

"I was glad that they came up because it helped take my mind off things," Leuer said. "I was kind of nervous (Thursday); stressed out a little bit. Just hanging out with the guys put my mind at ease."

Nobody actually saw the formal announcement that the Bucks had taken Leuer in the second round of the draft with the 40th selection overall. That's because ESPN was in a commercial break.

"I talked to my agent about two or three picks before that,'' Leuer said, "and he was the one who told me, 'You're going to the Bucks.' But I didn't tell anybody else in the room.

"I had a big smile on my face, so I think people knew that I had a good feeling."

Why did he feel so good about the Bucks? "I knew Milwaukee was a good situation," he said. "They have good people in their organization."

Was he disappointed that he didn't get drafted earlier? "To be honest, I thought I would go a little earlier," he said. "And obviously it would have been great to go in the first round."

First round money is guaranteed. "But it's still about finding the right fit," said Leuer, reiterating Dumars' inspiration. "It's more important what you do after the draft than what you do before it."

Leuer kind of likes the idea of playing close to "home" - the UW campus in Madison.

"I don't see it adding more pressure at all," he said. "Regardless of where I am, or who I am playing for, I'm just going to continue to try and be the best player that I can be.

"That's always my goal: do what I can to help my team, whatever that is. Thankfully, I get to stay in Wisconsin and the fans - who cheered me on for the last four years - can be a part of this."

When asked if he sees himself as a "stretch-4" -- a popular new term -- Leuer said, "That's a role I can fill, definitely, as a 4-man who can stretch the floor and knock down shots."

But he doesn't want to be stereotyped.

"I don't feel like I'm a spot-up shooter by any means," he added. "I feel like I can put the ball on the floor and make plays for the guys. I can do a lot more than just catch and shoot."

The thought of playing with point guard Brandon Jennings is intriguing to Leuer. "He's a point guard who really understands the game," he said. "He sees the floor and he has a little bit of flash."

Leuer plans on wearing jersey No. 30 with the Bucks; the same number that he wore with so much distinction for the Badgers. The first person he called after getting drafted was UW coach Bo Ryan.

"It was a good moment," said Leuer after thanking Ryan for helping him to get to this point in his basketball career. "He had a big part in it."