He had great timing through most of his basketball career, but should have gotten one last break at the end.
Evans was an afterthought recruit for Bob Knight. He was likely headed for Wake Forest, but Knight’s assistant coaches convinced him to make the drive to Terre Haute to check out the left-handed shooter. Knight watched a private workout, invited Evans to visit campus on a football weekend, offered a scholarship, and that was that. Evans didn’t meet other players, tour the campus, meet professors or get a home visit. Knight later joked he got Evans for half a tank of gasoline.
And then the barely-recruited kid out to be the Big Ten’s MVP.
Evans was a huge Larry Bird fan growing up in Terre Haute, where he attended some of Bird’s games at Indiana State. He has a great story about the time he nonchalantly refused Bird’s favor on the golf course. He tried to model his game after Bird, and went managed to play three seasons in the NBA before finishing his career in Japan. He retired from there while the Pacers were cobbling together a patchwork post-brawl team and would have been the perfect addition, but he didn’t get the call. Seems to me he would have been a better choice than Marcus Haislip or Britton Johnsen.
He also has a great story about dealing with one of Knight’s classic mind games his senior season at IU, when Knight (theoretically) kicked him off the team for awhile. He had even better stories after we stopped recording, as is the case with most IU players, but this one is plenty good enough.
First aired 2012
Tagged with: Big Ten Player of the Year 1996, Brian Evans