Jun 27, 2014
When you hear that a basketball player is the three-time conference player of the year in his league, the Most Outstanding Player from the 4-A state championship team, an East-West All-Star Game selection, and an all-district selection, you probably assume that player has a number of college offers.
Your assumption would be wrong though.
Apex guard T.J. Evans calls the recruiting process he experienced "frustrating."
"I definitely had my ups and downs. It was really long, but I'm just glad it's finally over," Evans said.
Evans ended his recruiting process on Thursday when he committed to Cape Fear Community College.
"It's been a long four years, but it feels great to know that I have a home; somewhere I know the coaches are going to push men to the best of my abilities," he said. "I know that they're going to develop me for the next level, where I want to be."
Evans feels he is going to be in the right place next fall.
"The reason why I like Cape Fear so much is because they believe in me so much. They think I can be a great player," said Evans. "They say they see me being one of the best players they've ever coached. I'm excited to fill that role, and I'm excited to get in there and show everybody what I can do."
If it sounds like Evans is playing with a chip on his shoulder, he probably is. This past season, Evans led his Apex team to the 4-A state championship, averaging at least 20 points per game for the third straight season. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the state title game, scoring 22 points. Still, no big offers came for Evans.
"I'm ready to get down there and start working hard because I feel that we can go far this year," said Evans. "I think I'm going to bring leadership. I can score. I can play good defense. I feel like I can bring a lot to the table."
Evans raked in the post season awards too. After playing in a senior showcase event in Wilmington, he was named to the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association all-district team, he was also selected for the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game scheduled for July.
But all the high school accomplishments he has on his resume are behind him now.
"I'm glad everything happened, but now I'm a freshman, it's new. It's not what I've done in the past, it's what I want to do now," said Evans. "Those are going to be memories for me that I'm always going to remember and cherish, but as far as right now, I've got to get done what I need to get done ... I've got to do what I need to do to get to the next level."
Evans said one of the first things he needs to work on is transitioning from a shooting guard to a point guard.
"I still need to work on my right hand, getting it as strong as my left, and just being able to change speeds and think more like a point guard instead of score, score, score," he said. "It's more setting my teammates up and more about winning."
With a goal always ahead of him, Evans knows what he's reaching for next.
"My ultimate goal at Cape Fear is for me to go in there and for us to have great success as a team," he said. "As far as individually, I would like to play on the high-major level, show everybody that T.J. Evans can play basketball ... I want it to be known on a national level."
And despite the frustrations Evans has encountered on the recruiting trail, he still has big goals for himself.
"I see myself getting called for the NBA Draft. I'm going to work my hardest to get there. I know every man's path is not the same and I have to work hard to get where I want to be," said Evans.
Evans leaves Apex as one of the most accomplished players in school history, including the only player to win the conference player of the year award three times.
Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT
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