Evans Excited About New Recruits, New Season

You would be hard pressed to wipe of the smile of Coach Evans and his ASU Basketball squad. This year's team is one of the deepest and talented ever in ASU's history, and looked solid in its two exhibition games. And just three days before they tip off the 2001-02 season, ASU received letters of intent from all the three highly coveted recruits it had been targeting for months. In this interview Evans addresses the newest Sun Devils, and his outlook for the season.

DevilsDigest: Can you talk about the three recruits we landed today?

Rob Evans: The high profile guy everyone wants to talk about is Ike Diogu, who's 6-9 240 from Garland, TX. Lots of scouting services list him in the top 20. He's a tremendous talent, someone in the mold of a Karl Malone. Just a guy that it's banger inside, has an 18-foot jumper, can block shots. We had to go to the last minute with him, and beat out Connecticut for his services.

Serge Angouno is a player that right now is ranked in the top 100, but will be ranked in the top 50 by the time the season ends. He moved from to Albuquerque from Cameroon a couple of years ago. Tremendous athlete at 6-7. Jumps out of the place, and plays real hard.

The last player is Allen Morill 6-6 from Arlington, Texas. I've been targeting him since April. On every team that I had, I always had a tough and hard nose kid like him. I'm real excited about the prospects of Arizona State Basketball.

DD: Did you have any anxious moments today until you received all the three letters from those guys?

RE: No anxious moments today, but the last month it was anxious. We got Diogu in early for a visit in August. We hoped that he would verbal then, but he wanted to take all his trips. So it's been a while since he's been here on campus. But after every visit he took, he still said that ASU was his leader. He has been totally loyal. On Tuesday he told his coach to call us and tell us he's going to ASU. His dad told me that he made up his mind two weeks ago, but he and his mother wanted him to sleep on it. But he made up his mind two weeks ago, and he stuck with it. His family has been very loyal too, and supported his decision.

DD; We know that power houses like Uconn and Illinois were hot and heavy after Diogu, and he even turned down invitation from school like Kansas. Do you put much stock in a recruit's ability when you know which caliber schools are after him? RE: I don't do that. I've done this a long time. I know talent when UI see it. A player like Angouno committed to us early, so some schools backed off. But Arizona contacted him after he committed. Maybe Fans look at it more. Even a player like Jason Braxton could have been more highly recruited last year, but he just committed to us early so teams backed off. If the teams don't back off, the player gets more hype because more teams are looking at him.

DD: Can you talk about Allen Morill? Compared to the other two players, it seems like you kept him under wraps for a while…

RE: It was hard to keep him a secret. Schools like UConn and Illinois were after him. We worked him hard all year. He couldn't visit us until recently because he hasn't received a test score. A lot of schools came in late, and he also stayed loyal to us.

DD: When you land such a great class of recruits, I'm assuming that a lot of work from a lot of different people goes into it. It's not just your hard work.

RE: The assistant caches are the one doing all the work. I should know, because I was an assistant for 30 years. My assistants are the best ones around, and it showed in our recruiting. The biggest thing was our players. They are very excited with the recruits coming in. They were asking me every day: Did we get Ike? Did we get Allen?

DD: Your first game of the season is on Saturday. Are you just looking at the bottom line and wanting to get a win, or do you really want to see some particulars during the game?

RE: I want to win the ball game. That's first and foremost. But I want to see them get better. There's a lot of room for improvement on this team. We have some new faces and we only have been practicing a month. So I do want to win, but I want us to improve every day as well.

DD: These are exciting times for ASU Basketball. There's a lot of hype around the team, and now just days before your tip-off the season you land all these quality recruits. Can there be more buzz about the team right now (smile)?

RE: I don't think so (smile). It's definitely a very exciting time here right now at Arizona State. It was difficult to concentrate on the last exhibition game on Monday, because that was the night before Ike made his decision. But right now, we're all excited to start the season. We're starting to see fruits of labor with our experience on the team and recruiting. So I hope we have a strong season, and continue to bud this team to be like I want it to be – one of the best in the country.

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