‘I never thought I would graduate high school’

Cody Erbacher

Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Senior guard Tyree Evans is defined by one main aspect of his game – his 3-point shot.

His shot gave him a chance he never thought he’d have, which was to graduate high school and go to college.

After starting the season 12-for-25 from behind the arc, Evans has cooled down to shooting 37 percent.

Prior to Kent State, Rivals.com ranked Evans as the sixth-best junior college player in the country in 2007-2008 when he played for Motlow.

Sports reporter Cody Erbacher talked with Evans after practice about his basketball career.

As a child, did you ever picture yourself playing Division I basketball?

To be honest, where I grew up and my environment, I never thought I would graduate high school. If it wasn’t for basketball, to be honest, I would have never probably reached college or graduated high school. I’m always glad I’m blessed with the talent to get me out of situations that my family couldn’t do. People (were) judging (me), like, “How can you do this?” But if you’re around something your whole life, it can grow on you. Therefore, I never thought I was going to be in college.

How was the transition into Kent State basketball?

It was kind of difficult, and it was kind of easy at the same time. Getting to know different players that you never hung out with and just trying to fit in, that part was difficult. Learning the plays was difficult at times because I never ran a set offense.

Is there an NBA player, past or present, that your game is most like?

My favorite player is Gilbert Arenas. He’s a shooter, and now he’s improved to going to the basket, so that’s what I’ve been working on. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. But I think I compare myself to (players) like Ray Allen or Ben Gordon.

What’s the reason for your number, 0?

My grandma, that’s why. I call my grandma “my girlfriend.” When I got my second chance, she was like, “Now’s your time to start over. Now you should change your number because you’ve been wearing number five your whole life.” I just feel like I need to be rebirthed and start from the number zero.

If you weren’t playing basketball, what would you play?

Football. I think I can start for a lot of teams right now because I know I still got it. I think if I don’t make it in basketball, I can go to the combine and do very well.

So you’re saying you might be one of those basketball players that plays football at the next level?

Yeah, I promise you I can. I can play football very well. Very well. I’m better than a lot of receivers. I’m not going to say I’m better than a lot of top receivers. I can start for a high major football team.

What’s it like to dunk?

My first time dunking was in seventh grade. It was great. I was tall in seventh grade. I was like 5-10, and I was a center. Watching guys dunk is amazing. It’s fun to dunk. It’s great motivation when you dunk in a game.

What’s the deal with the Argyle socks?

I wore them one time. Then people started liking the socks, so I guess it’s a fan favorite because people have started taking pictures of them.

When did you start playing basketball, and how did you get involved?

I started playing basketball when I was 10 or 11. My cousin – she played basketball – she taught me how to play basketball when I was younger and I used to watch her. Then I started watching some of my cousins in high school. Then I started playing.

Have you always been a shooter?

Yeah, I’ve always been a shooter.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].