Commentary

Evans flies to No. 2 in ESPN 150

Originally Published: August 29, 2007
By Jamar Hudson | ESPN.com

This summer, Tyreke Evans has logged more frequent flier miles than he can count.

Tyreke Evans
Drew Hallowell for ESPN.comOut of the top five players in the '08 class, Tyreke Evans is the only one undecided on his college choice.
From the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fla., to the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio to the USA Youth Basketball festival in Colorado Springs, Colo., to the Nike Global Challenge in Portland, Ore., and several others, the Aston, Pa., native has traveled more over the course of the last two or three months than he has in his entire 17-year-old life.

"When I first started doing it, I wasn't used to traveling like that, but as it went on, I got used to traveling back and forth, so it was like nothing," Evans said.

For the No. 2-rated prospect in the 2008 ESPN 150, it's to be expected. Evans has been a hot commodity in the AAU and shoe company tournament circuits throughout the summer, earning MVP honors at Nike Global Challenge, leading his team to the AAU National Championship, becoming the youngest player invited to the USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team trials and sharing the team MVP at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic.

Evans also has enjoyed playing with and against some of the top prep talent. As a bonus, he's met some of the top players in the world -- namely Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

"I think it helped me a lot going to Kobe's camp," Evans said. "They had some people there that taught me things I never knew before. It was a good experience to go out there and learn new moves and new things about the game.

"That was my first time meeting Kobe. He was nice guy who was telling me his side on basketball. Things like eating right and training."

A big-time scorer, the 6-foot-5 Evans glides over and around defenders. He does it all with the ball in his hands and can post up with his size and strength, which allows him to play either point or shooting guard. In no particular order, Evans lists Louisville, Villanova, Memphis, Texas and UConn as the five schools he's seriously considering.

Tyreke Evans #40
Drew HallowellJay Wright hopes Tyreke Evans will stay close to home and choose Villanova.
So as his senior season at American Christian High School in Aston, Pa., approaches, the traveling will continue, as he plans to make several official visits to those colleges and choose where the next step in his basketball career will take him -- and what position he'll play.

"I'm going to be looking for how they run their system, looking at the dorms, the campus, the coaches, guys who I'm going to playing with and who I'm going to playing around -- things like that," Evans said.

"I think I'm pretty good at both spots. I'm a good point guard, so if a coach wants me to run the point, I think I can come in and do it, and if a coach wants me to run the two, I definitely can do that."

Along his summer tour, Evans was able showcase his skills in front of some of his potential future coaches, including Rick Pitino and Jay Wright. He has also had the opportunity to match up against other top players in the ESPN 150, many of whom fluctuate with Evans in the many prep rankings. For Evans, it adds an additional incentive to an already competitive, yet familiar environment.

"I'm good friends with all of them, guys like Brandon [Jennings]. Every time we see each other, we talk. I've played with them since we were younger in AAU," Evans said. "Some of the rankings used to bother me back when I younger. Now I just go on the court and prove every night I'm the best player out there."

Aside from having to deal with rankings, Evans has had to deal with the constant attention that comes with being one of the top prep players in the nation, including receiving hundreds of letters in the mail, being invited to tournaments and fielding questions and requests for interviews.

"He's handled it well and has been pretty level headed throughout the whole process," Tyreke's older brother and legal guardian Reggie Evans said. "The fact that he's born with (a level head) helps him. He has a quiet demeanor, is low key and you don't get much out of him.

"But he is still Tyreke, he still has to do chores. He still has to take out the trash -- nothing changes."

In addition to having the support at home from his older brother and being able to share the court with perennial NBA All-Stars, Evans has received pro coaching in his backyard with fellow Philadelphia-area native and current Orlando magic guard Jameer Nelson.

"He just told me to keep working hard, pushing yourself and everything will pay off," Evans said.

In working hard, Evans recognizes the improvements he must make on and off the court as he prepares to take his game to the collegiate level. And once that happens, the possibilities will be endless for him.

"I want to improve on being a leader and getting stronger," Evans said. "I know college is a different level than high school, and I want to be on the right track when I get there."

Jamar Hudson is a recruiting editor for ESPN.com