It's training camp time, and that means it's time for all the stories about what great shape guys are in. Usually this is in the form of "(Player X) lost/gained 15 lbs. of fat/15 lbs. of muscle." But Utah Jazz blog Salt City Hoops had an interesting look at how some Utah players improved their performance at athlete training center P3 in Santa Barbara, California. One player jumped out at me.
“Alec [Burks] was the biggest winner,” said (Dr. Marcus) Elliott (of P3). The staff really admired him for his work over the past couple years. He has apparently improved in a number of areas from hip stability, knee position and trunk strength, all of which affect quickness. They recognize the unique opportunity Burks will have this season to finally get steady minutes, potentially even as a starter. He is considered one of their more “elastic” athletes. He reached a vertical height of 12′ 2.5″ during an approach this summer. When he first arrived in May 2012 he maxed out at 11′ 8.5″. That height is especially worth noting considering that he also weighs 11 more pounds than when he started.
That's a six inch vertical improvement relative to gaining eleven pounds. Now, there's no baseline for this, there's no way to know if that's exceptional or just standard for a player headed into his third season. But it sure sounds impressive, and considering that Burks is going to have an opportunity to play a much bigger role this season, and that he needed more explosiveness to compensate for his size, this is a pretty interesting tidbit to keep track of.
Also, in the "Jeremy Evans continues to be a complete freak of nature" category, emphasis mine:
The other player they talked most about was Jeremy Evans. Several coaches commented that this is the best he's ever looked. He was noticeably thicker and displayed better overall strength. Evans is one of the few guys that has shown an increased vertical every year since entering the league. He's one of the young guys on the team who has been with P3 since he was drafted. In his initial assessment his rookie year, he could touch 12′ 2.5″ on his vertical jump. This past off-season he reached 12' 7.5”. That is the highest any athlete has ever touched with P3 and means he has increased his vertical five full inches since entering the NBA; he now boasts a 43.5 inch vertical. While Jeremy has always been exceptional with an approach, his ability to create force from a rested position or without the aid of the stretch shortening cycle has improved considerably. This has been their number one focus with him. He now has much greater jump diversity, as they call it. The fact that he hasn't peaked and keeps adding inches to his vertical every year is very positive.
Reminder, Jeremy Evans did this seven months ago.
So yeah, Jeremy Evans. Freak of nature. Granted, these measurements aren't going to make the Jazz a better team, necessarily, but they are cool to note and to watch out for as these young players develop.