Leuer-Ing Attention From Big Schools

Identifying a prospect often times can be a multi-step process. When you see a good player you've never heard of, its important to learn about why and where he's coming from. Last weekend, Jon Leuer turned out to be just the kind of kid you begin asking questions about. The research came back very positive!

It would come as no surprise if Jon Leuer were to sign with an elite mid-major school. Then again, he may never get that chance. After the Jayhawk Invitational, the 6-foot-9 ½ power forward is on the radar screen of numerous high-major programs.

Here's the catch: Leuer isn't going to be seen playing basketball by a Division I coach until July 8, the beginning of the next evaluation period. That's too bad because we think Leuer is in the process of advancing his game as a player, a process begging for future evaluations.

Prior to the Jayhawk, Rice was the lone school to offer a scholarship. "I guess I'm sort of under the radar," Leuer said.

When a player with Leuer's size and perimeter skills emerges suddenly, there's always a story. In this case, it's a story of a small town, a big stroke and young man who is just beginning to see himself as a prospect.

"His story is that he's a kid out of Orono, Minnesota, that very few people knew about," Minnesota Magic Elite coach Parrish Curry said. "He averaged about 23 points a game in high school. He's had some good teaching from a guy named Mike Amos out in Orono and he's just emerged on the scene."

Leuer's emergence has been a gradual one, but it's happened because he's been steady. Curry said it began at the Kingwood Classic when he scored 23 and 17 points in back-to-back games. The high point of the emergence came last weekend when teammate Cole Aldrich physically was unable to play and Leuer was thrust into a starring role.

Against the Wichita Flight in a quarterfinal game, Leuer finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds. More important than the stats was the manner in which he got his points. Leuer shot 7-for-10 in the game, busting 3s but also rebounding and expanding his game outside of 3-point shooting. Until he fouled out in the semis, Leuer was gaining confidence each time out.

"I'm just going out there playing hard every game," Leuer said. "Definitely with each game you play well you build confidence and take that to the next game.

"I'd probably say my strength is shooting the ball on the outside. I'd like to work on my post game a little more; I'd say that's my biggest weakness. I'm working on that right now a couple of times a week with my coach getting the footwork down."

What's exciting about Leuer is what makes scouting an inexact science. However, he's exhibiting the traits of a young man almost ready to bust out. For instance, he just turned 17 last weekend. Imagine adding 20 pounds to a frame that will topple 6-10 sooner than later.

Speaking of his height, Leuer has grown 11 inches in the last 2 years (pause, go back and re-read that thought). A lot of guys are prospects who at his size might average 9-12 points a game. This young man is out there producing and there's a difference. His aggression isn't fleeting; rather it's starting to become consistent.

Leuer is also versatile. "He can be a small forward or power forward depending on how we want to use him," Curry said. Collegiately, if you project him to gain weight, the long term projection is one of a face up four man.

Leuer's emergence as a prospect resembles that of Andrew Brackman. The current N.C. State forward experienced a similar growth spurt and emergence on the AAU scene. One weekend he's a skinny role playing forward, the next he's busting 3s for All-Ohio in front of Tom Izzo and Herb Sendek.

So, who knows about him? Minnesota, North Dakota State, Wisconsin-Green Bay and New Mexico did before the event. But, here's where it gets interesting. Since Monday, Green Bay has called and offered. North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kansas and Vanderbilt have blown in calls to express early interest. And why not? Have we mentioned that Leuer's GPA is way north of 3.0?

His AAU coach sees the attention coming and has been trying to deflect it from Leuer. "I try to keep him away from that," Curry said. "I want him to continue to have fun and not have it be a burden for him because it's going to happen and its coming fast. 30 coaches called us after Kingwood."

Last weekend Jon Leuer raised his own bar and set his expectations higher than they'd been. The challenge will be to replicate that very same effort and lock himself in as a high-major prospect. Until this point, it's been a steady process for the forward and should it continue, we'd expect him to be one of the hot names this summer. His future is most definitely in his own hands. He's emerging as a prospect and the trick is to keep it moving forward.

"I'm just trying to keep my options open and find the best fit for me," Leuer said. That's fine, but now his options are on the verge of expanding in a big way.

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