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Updated Jun 4, 2013 - 10:57 am

Phoenix's own Ryan Evans ‘chasing a dream'

Wisconsin's Ryan Evans (5) shoots against Michigan State's Adreian Payne during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, March 7, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

It's become quite a story, except it isn't true: Michael Jordan was never cut from his high school team.

Ryan Evans' story is true: he was cut from his high school team.

"That's what really set my fire," he said. "I was cut from the team my sophomore year in high school, so to be able to play D-I basketball and then get the opportunity to play in the NBA, it's something I'm real grateful for. I feel like I've worked for it. I'm just glad to be here."

"Here" is on the practice court at US Airways Center, working out for his hometown team, the Phoenix Suns.

"Chasing a dream," said Evans, one of six players in for the team's first pre-draft workout Monday. "It's only right to start in your home state. I've got a lot of support here. I'd love to play for the Suns. It would be a dream come true."

Evans, a 6-6, 212-pound small forward out of Wisconsin, was born in Chicago, but went attended high school in Phoenix. He started at Desert Vista, but then transferred to Hamilton, where he averaged 18.4 points and 7.4 rebounds, earning first-team all-state honors his senior year.

But, Evans said, he no longer has any hard feelings for the coach who cut him.

"We have a good relationship now," Evans said of then-Desert Vista head coach Doug Harris. "You know things happen. We have a good relationship. We've rectified that. I'm grateful for what he did because it really helped me move forward and get to where I'm at."

Evans never missed a game in his four years at Wisconsin. A starter his last two years, he averaged 10.1 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds his senior season.

"Real competitive," Evans said of the workout. "Anytime you got guys looking to get into the NBA, it's going to be competitive. Went head-to-head, but a lot of these guys I've played with or played against at one point in my career. I really enjoyed it.

"I hope I showed them that I could play outside. I played inside a lot in my college career, but naturally I've always been an outside player, so that's what I want to audition out here."

Following the workout with the Suns, which was his first workout with an NBA team, Evans said he has trips planned to Milwaukee, Minnesota and Washington.

"My goal is play in the league," he said. "I've played against NBA guys every summer I come out (to Phoenix). I know I can play at this level."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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