Before moving to Evanston, Jerome Bynum lived in Detroit for a year.
Bynum stayed with his uncle, Pistons guard Will Bynum, and served as a ball boy for the NBA team. He got a behind-the-scenes look at life at the professional level, from inside the locker room to game preparation, and worked out with his uncle and other pros like the Pistons’ Rodney Stuckey and the Orlando Magic’s Ben Gordon.
Seeing NBA players hone their craft up close had an impact on Jerome Bynum, a 5-foot-10 guard and sophomore-to-be at Evanston. He’s approached his own workouts differently ever since.
“It was really inspirational,” Jerome Bynum said. “They really worked every day. They really had no days off. When I was 10, I didn’t know how hard they had to work for it. They take workouts very serious. There’s no playing around.”
Jerome Bynum said he wants to play Division I basketball and then make it to the NBA like his uncle. He asks Will Bynum what it will take to reach those levels nearly every time he visits Detroit.
“He just tells me to work hard,” Jerome Bynum said. “When I’m not working, there’s somebody working harder than me, getting better than me. So when I work, just make the best of it.”
Jerome Bynum has been doing that this summer. His regimen includes 7 a.m. weightlifting sessions at Evanston, participating in the Wildkits’ daily, two-hour workouts and asking coach Mike Ellis to open up the gym early. He tries to take 600 to 800 shots a day while also working to improve his ball handling and his explosiveness, he said.
His efforts could help him make it into Evanston’s varsity rotation this winter and become a contributor on the Mean Streets 15U team. Bynum is currently playing forFull Package’s 16U summer team.
“He’s got talent and he loves the game,” Ellis said. “Jerome’s in the gym all the time. When you combine loving the game and talent and a will to work at the game, those three things are a deadly combination in terms of him reaching his potential.”
Tim Anderson, coach of the Mean Streets 15U team, called Jerome Bynum one of the state’s best players in his class.
Anderson, who’s been friends with Will Bynum since their high school playing days at Crane, said Jerome Bynum and his uncle are very different players. Will Bynum is a point guard with a strong handle who can shoot the ball well; meanwhile, his nephew is a dynamic athlete — he first dunked in seventh grade when he was 5-foot-9 — who plays with a lot of energy, attacks the offensive glass and can defend three different positions.
One quality both Bynums share is their willingness to work, Anderson added.
Jerome Bynum “works really hard,” Anderson said. “He’s been around the game a long time, so he understands what it takes.”
This story has been changed to reflect the following correction:
The story misstated the travel basketball team Jerome Bynum is currently on. He is playing forFull Package’s 16U summer team, not theMean Streets 15U team.