The NBA Draft is now three weeks away and things are heating up. After receiving feedback from scouts and various team officials, a number of prospects have already withdrawn their name from draft consideration. One name that has firmly ensconced itself in the late first round is that of Cincinnati shooting guard/small forward Jacob Evans. Basketball Insiders recently caught up with Evans and spoke with him about his skill set, versatility, athleticism and potential as an NBA player.
“I love to dig in on the defensive end, you know? I’m going to try to get my teammates to dig in on the defensive end and get stops,” Evans said.
Here at Basketball Insiders, we profiled Evans as part of an intriguing group of wing players who could be value picks based on his 3 and D potential. Basketball Insiders’ own Steve Kyler currently has Evans slotted 21st in his most recent mock draft, which is generally in line with other mock draft boards. While he doesn’t possess the raw physical gifts that could have him jump to the top of various draft boards, Evans made sure to impress upon teams that he has the mental make up to be successful.
“A lot of teams know me on the court,” Evans stated. “I just try to let them know who I am off the court. Being a great guy, a good teammate, a great teammate. Also, someone who wants to learn, you know. I love coaching. I’m willing to listen. I’m willing to learn. I’m willing to get in there and work my butt off.”
Evans went so far as to specifically state that he is not the type of player that teams have to worry might fall too hard into the extra-curricular activities off the court and instead he wants to emphasize that he sees himself as a positive teammate.
“Also, off the court. Being able to have guys who just want to have fun together, not getting into trouble but to have fun and it’s an 82-game season. You got to have a good relationship if you want to go to war,” Evans stated.
Evans also emphasized that he wants to be flexible in terms of his role at the NBA level and will adapt his game to benefit the team.
“Keeping my intensity level up. Always being assertive even if it’s not scoring the ball, playing defense, being in rotation, talking to guys [about] where they supposed to rotate. Getting guys into offensive spots. Just trying to put confidence into everyone,” Evans stated.
NBA teams put a premium value on players who have a team-first mentality, can fill multiple positions and have the skill set to make consistent contributions. This is what Evans is seemingly trying to sell teams on.
“I really feel like I’m very versatile,” Evans declared.
“I feel like I can be able to fit in any offense,” Evans said. “Playing alongside a superstar, who’s going to have the ball in his hands, making the decisions. I can catch and shoot, be a 3 and D, I can also be a combo guard that can mix it in and get it done off the dribble also.”
Evans was asked about what parts of his game scouts and teams may overlook or not be aware of.
“I feel like college, I didn’t really play too much on the ball,” Evans said. “Last year, my junior year, I started to play a little more on the ball. I feel like that’s a part of my game that teams don’t really know but they see shades of it once I get into the NBA. Being able to work on all the pick and rolls. Being able to be a lead guard, also off the ball guard. That would be very key.”
Evans was asked if he has been able to reflect and enjoy the success he has had in his career to this point.
“Not yet,” Evans stated. “You know, [because] it’s still not accomplished yet. This is one step. I’ll leave that up to draft night, go where I want to go. And that’s when I’ll be able to sit back and say ‘Alright I got to where I want to go, now it’s time to get to the next level.’”
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