Tyreke Evans, the gifted 6-6 shooting guard from American Christian and the country's top unsigned basketball player, will likely commit to Memphis, according to several sources close to Evans and his recruiting process.
Evans will officially make his announcement at 3 p.m. tomorrow at American Christian.
Evans, who will play with the nation's top high school seniors in the Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, was noncommittal yesterday and says that Memphis, Villanova and Texas are all still in the running. Evans and his family visited Villanova coach Jay Wright on April 1 and came away very impressed with what Wright had to say.
The meeting at Wright's home supposedly had to do with Wright guaranteeing Evans would not play point guard, where Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher play for the Wildcats. Both Reynolds and Fisher will return next season.
But at Memphis, there is a strong possibility that junior shooting guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and freshman sensation Derrick Rose will enter the NBA draft, leaving a void to fill for the talented Evans, selected MVP of the prestigious McDonald's All-America game 2 weeks ago.
"When you're recruiting Tyreke Evans, you're recruiting his family, and that's what Jay has done," said one source close to the recruiting. "The Evans family really likes Jay and Jay really likes the family. That's the one big plus Jay and Villanova have going for them. But look at everything, spell it all out, Tyreke fits perfectly at Memphis. Jay does a wonderful job with guards, but the run Memphis made in the NCAA Tournament and the situation that occurred with Tyreke back in November [when he witnessed a homicide that allegedly involved a cousin] will push him as far away from Chester as possible. At least that's what the family wants. His three brothers want him to be safe. They're also looking at what program will give him the most exposure and develop him into an NBA-caliber player."
One source close to Villanova thinks the Wildcats still have a chance, albeit very faint.
"Coach Wright talks to Tyreke and Tyreke is happy to get his calls," said the source, "but I think the people at Villanova feel he's going to Memphis. They would love to have Tyreke, and Jay would be willing to maybe go with four guards. You have to go after a local star, that's what a top-25 program like Villanova is supposed to do. But the feeling is that Tyreke was always going to wind up at Memphis."
Julius "Doc" Evans, one of Tyreke's three older brothers, said openly he would like Tyreke to stay close to home and attend Villanova. Eric "Pooh" Evans, another brother and a star at Chester High and Cheyney State, said Tyreke has not even revealed his decision to his family yet.
"It's still very much up to him," Pooh said. "Whatever Tyreke decides, I'm all for it. All three choices, Memphis, Texas, Villanova, he can't go wrong. I can't say if he's really leaning one way or another, and I wouldn't rule out Texas. But we all like Memphis and I know myself and our family wouldn't mind him staying close to home at Villanova, either."
In a related matter, Evans' teammate at American Christian, point guard Lamont Jones, who had originally committed to Louisville and then decided to reopen his recruitment, might be headed to Memphis, according to a source close the recruiting process. *
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