Evans flies to No. 2 in ESPN 150
This summer, Tyreke Evans has logged more frequent flier miles than he can count.
"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.
"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.
"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
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2008 ESPN 150
The great ones receive Division I basketball scholarships, but only the best of the best make the ESPN 150.
• Recruit Tracker: ESPN 150
• Lawlor: Brandon Jennings tops ESPN 150
• Hudson: Tyreke Evans flies to No. 2
• Carroll: Less hype, more depth with '08 class
• Gibbons: Top 13 2008 recruiting classes
• Biancardi: Ten ESPN 150 sleepers
• Williams: Movers and shakers from the summer