Che’ Evans recently moved to Philadelphia and enrolled at Neumann Goretti High School.
But this won’t be the first time for the senior forward to share the basketball court with his new teammates. Well, the last time he was on the other team.
Evans, a transfer from Dulaney High in Baltimore, played against Neumann Goretti last season in a holiday tournament in Maryland. The Saints outlasted Dulaney, 83-78, in triple overtime. Evans remembers their tenacity and mental toughness in that game.
“They play with a lot of grit just like Baltimore kids,” Evans said. “It wasn’t definitely the game of the year for us. … it showed who had the most character and they came out with the win.”
Before he made the trip up Interstate 95 to become the newest member of the Neumann Goretti team, Evans played a large role in Dulaney’s success. A forward, he averaged 20.5 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game and hit the winning layup when Dulaney beat Springbrook in the Class 4A North Region championship game last season.
Evans shadowed a student on a visit to Neumann Goretti last spring when his family decided it was moving to Philadelphia. He said he didn’t take a visit to other schools because he was set on Neumann Goretti.
“The academics stood out to me the most because I shadowed here and it showed how much the teachers really cared about the students,” Evans said. “I never really went to a private school -- I’ve been in public school my whole life -- so that showed me how much the teachers interact with the students, showing them how much better they want to get in the classroom.”
In early September, Evans verbally committed to San Diego State. The three-star recruit, as rated by Rivals.com and 247sports.com, took an official visit to the school in August. Evans also considered Florida, Ohio State, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas Christian, Boise State, and San Diego State.
Evans said he chose San Diego State because of his relationship with assistant coach Chris Acker, who had been recruiting Evans for two years, starting when Acker was on the staff at Boise State.
“Through my injuries, [Acker] never went anywhere like other schools,” Evans said. “He’s seen my potential and he never turned his back on me. That showed me a lot.”
Evans is currently limited at practice due to a tibia fracture that he suffered at the end of last season. The plan is for him to be fully healthy once the season starts, but it could also linger into the season, coach Carl Arrigale said.
Evans played through the leg injury as a junior and attempted to make it through the Nike AAU circuit until it sidelined him after four games.
Arrigale said it might take some time until Evans is able to gel with his new teammates once he returns, but he’s willing to take that chance.
“We had a chance to be pretty good without him,” Arrigale said. “If you can add a guy like that who’s 6-foot-7 and can dribble, pass, and shoot like our other guys, he kind of fits our style of play in our system, so he can help us.”
When the Saints faced Dulaney last season, Evans had a poor shooting game, Arrigale said. But that part of his game is the one that has impressed Arrigale the most in practice.
Evans joins an already talented Saints team that features other Division I recruits. Senior wing Jordan Hall is committed to St. Joseph’s and senior forward Cam Young announced his commitment to Bowling Green in early September. Senior guard Hakim Byrd still is weighing numerous offers.
Last season, Neuman Goretti was knocked out of the Catholic League semifinals by Roman Catholic.
Evans wants to make sure that changes this upcoming season.
“Going through so much adversity just makes me stronger as a person,” he said. “I’m just hungry for a Catholic League championship when I return.”