A look at the latest IU Basketball Recruitment Offer, Class of 2023 5-Star Kwame Evans, Jr. – The Daily Hoosier
Earlier this week, Indiana offered a scholarship to the class of 2023 5-star forward Kwame Evans, Jr.
Evans, Jr., the No. 2 player in the class according to the 247Sports Composite, attends Montverde Academy in Florida and plays AAU basketball for Team Durant.
To learn more about the prospect from Baltimore, MD, we spoke with Durant Team Recruiting Director Dwayne Wise, who grew up with his father, Kwame Evans, Sr., since kindergarten. Evans, Sr. was also briefly involved in the conversation.
Here is our Q&A with Wise.
TDH: How far back does Indiana assistant Kenya Hunter go with the Evans family?
Wise: The relationship started when Hunter and Big Kwame played in the Atlantic 10. Hunter also has a good relationship with our 17U coach.
Evans, Sr .: Me and coach Kenya Hunter go back to 1992, he played with Duquesne University and I played with GW.
TDH: How long has Hunter / Indiana been involved in this recruitment?
Evans, Sr .: Coach Hunter came to Poly (Baltimore Polytechnic Institute) two years ago, and this is the first time we’ve had a conversation about KJ (Kwame, Jr.). Kenya has been in contact with me since 2019.
Wise: Actually, I’m glad Indiana is recruiting him. I know another kid from Montverde (Jalen Hood-Schifino) just signed up there. It’s a good thing. I’m glad they reach out, make a Zoom call, making the kid feel appreciated. I’m involved in most of what goes on with his recruiting, but Indiana is different. This came through Big Kwame, and they might be one of two schools that I haven’t been directly involved with, and that’s a good thing (for IU) because there are family connections.
I told Kwame, Jr., Indiana has always been a big school, it just seemed like over the last few years they had kind of lost their boast.
TDH: Give me a scout on Kwame, Jr. What makes him a 5 star?
Wise: I’ve been with him since college until now, and the first thing that stood out about him and still stands out about him is IQ. It’s his greatest asset, it’s his IQ. Since college he has always played the right way. You can’t speed it up, you can’t slow it down, you can’t force it to make a bad play or a bad pass, it will only make good shots, it bounces the ball, it blocks shots and it defends. So his IQ for gambling is just different.
Number two is its ability to activate defense. He’s not like a traditional tall man, he’s like a keeper who has grown to 6 feet 10 inches. That lateral quickness is still there, even at 6ft 10in. We have games on EYBL like when we were playing E1T1, and he kept the leader, man to man. He can keep all positions from one to five. He slips his feet well and he knows how to defend without making a mistake. This kid doesn’t really want you to tag.
(Note: Wise said the 6ft 10in measurement was with shoes on and he had a 7ft 2in wingspan. His dad was a guard at 6ft 6in)
The other thing is his ability to shoot at his size. He was just under 40 percent of three. He can also score with either hand. He’s a left-hander but he scores with his right, he can drive on the right, he can dunk on the right. He is also a very good ball handler for his size. He can lead the break, and he makes better passes than a lot of leaders in this class. Its versatility is probably its greatest asset. He ticks all the boxes.
His father could still shoot the ball. Some things were always in his genes so if I didn’t know anything else I would say he was going to be at least 6ft 6in and could shoot because of his dad but handling the ball, defending, he’s fair. much better than his father was at that age.
TDH: What do you think Montverde is going to do for him?
Wise: Because it’s so competitive there, they’re going to push you to play hard in every game, and just get a little bit stronger, I think that’s where Montverde can close the gap. I think he can be the number one player in his class.
When he left for Montverde, he was well prepared about this program. He was in a school with limited travel games and competitions. And not just matches, just training every day against other top players and potential pro players every day, there is nothing you can do but improve yourself.
He was never told he was going to start there. He was told he had to compete for everything he had. Not everyone can go to a school like Montverde and look after him, but he comes from a disciplined home.
No one in Montverde is averaging 18 to 20 points per game. It’s about playing hard and whatever minutes you have, and he already knows that. At Poly, he had to fight for minutes in the freshman, so he’s not going to run away from the competition.
(Note: Evans, Jr. will team up with IU 2022 engagement Jalen Hood-Schifino in Montverde)
TDH: What kind of things do you think will be important to him when it comes to choosing a university?
Wise: My personal opinion, in good shape, I don’t force him to just be a tall man because he’s 6ft 10in. Allowing him to use his overall skills and IQ for the game.
TDH: Did they talk about when they could make an academic decision? And is going straight to the pro an option?
Wise: From me talking to family and KJ, I’m pretty sure he won’t make a decision until his senior year. I don’t see him leaving early. I know he’s going to go to college. He is a 3.5 student (GPA). He might change his mind but that’s what is emphasized for him.
5⭐️ Kwame “KJ” Evans (# 4 in ESPN 60) takes his game to a new level 😤 the 6’9 does while forward holds offers from Kansas, Georgetown, Auburn, Texas, and more! @KwameEvansJr @NikeEYB # EYBL2021 @Dwayne_Wise @MVABasket @NIBCOofficial pic.twitter.com/cf7DUQLz7N
– Who’s next (@WhosNextHS) July 20, 2021
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