Another junior college basketball player popped up on Maryland's recruiting radar recently and reports are that Tyree Evans, a wing guard, is signing with the Terps over Kansas State and Arizona. Evans was originally a class of 2004 player and he would have been a senior this past season had he not gotten in to serious legal trouble in high school. Evans was charged with statutory rape while attending prep school in Massachusetts but the charge was later dropped and Evans plead to assault and given two years probation. He had ties to Bob Huggins during his time at Cincinnati and then was going to follow the slime trail to Kansas State but was denied admission to a school that hardly has any standards at all. Evans has since bounced around the junior college ranks and gotten kicked off at least one team for being a problem in the locker room. These are not good signs.
There seems to be little question that Evans is a legitimate talent. He finished high school as the all time leading scorer in Virginia's highest level of basketball competition(AAA) and has the third most points for a senior in state history, behind only Allen Iverson and Moses Malone. He was ranked as the 84th best prospect in the nation in 2004 by Scout.com and was considered an elite talent. His statistics this past season at Motlow State Community College are pretty impressive: 21.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 44% from 3-point range, 84.2% from the free throw line and over 31 minutes on average. It seems fairly clear that Evans can put the ball in the basket. Maryland is in need of a serious 3-point threat and Evans would likely fit the bill. There is an issue as to how well Evans would fit in the flex offense that Gary Williams runs. His Juco coach indicates that Evans wanted to go someplace where he could showcase his talents in an offense that wasn't "controlled" but that doesn't seem to fit what Maryland does in the half court.
It remains to be seen what kind of defender and teammate Evans will be and those are no small issues. His junior college coach seems to think he has turned his life around and will not be a problem at Maryland. Everyone likes redemption stories but only when the player can score touchdowns or fill up a stat sheet. There is more than a little hypocrisy in looking the other way when it comes to these sorts of things. For every JamesOn Curry who makes a mistake and then seemed to learn from it there are ten Marcus Vick's that will just make you look like a fool for giving them yet another chance. I'm not all that enthused about Evans even though he is the kind of player who will really help this team get better, unless he gets into trouble again.
At best I'm deeply ambiguous about this decision by the staff. Hopefully they have done their homework on Evans and are convinced he'll go to class and keep his nose clean while reminding him there is no room for him to slip up yet again. You can't have high hopes for a player that was so sketchy that schools like Cincinnati and K State wouldn't let in. Perhaps this is an indication of the heat the staff feels to get back to the NCAA Tournament this coming season. I wouldn't go so far as to say it smacks of desperation but it is a high stakes gamble. Evans could be the kind of player who can elevate Maryland into a serious contender for an ACC championship, he is that good, but he could also be another millstone around the neck of a sinking program.
This also calls into question the status of another Juco player, PG Bobby Maze. With all the scholarships now accounted for it would seem there is no more room at the inn for Maze unless there is a transfer. I think it is a fait accompli that someone will leave the team and this signing would indicate to me that at least one player has already told the staff he is going elsewhere. We'll just have to wait and see who is the departing player.
Assuming Maze signs that will make Maryland loaded at the backcourt position with Vasquez, Hayes, Bowie, Tucker, Mosley, Maze and Evans. Even if some see time at the SF/G position, along with Milbourne, that is pretty crowded and I would guess the departure would come out of that group. The frontcourt is still a serious area of concern going into next season.