Pitino sends clear message to Tyreke Evans

Rick Pitino sent Tyreke Evans a very clear message in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The sixth-year Louisville coach spent the weekend at the Pitt Jamfest making sure the nation's No. 2 ranked prospect knows how much he's wanted at Louisville.

Rick Pitino sent Tyreke Evans a very clear message in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The sixth-year Louisville coach spent the weekend at the Pitt Jamfest making sure the nation's No. 2 ranked prospect knows how much he's wanted at Louisville.

Saturday evening at Fitzgerald Arena on the University of Pittsburgh's campus, Pitino pulled up a chair right next to the basket on the court where the 6-foot-5 Evans led his AAU team, Team Final, to a win over Metro Boston.

Evans was well aware that he was being watched, though the prospect hardly fazed or dazzled him – he was too focused on playing his game and getting his teammates involved in the offensive flow.

"I just wanted to play my same game, don't change nothing and get everybody involved," Evans said afterward about playing with Pitino looking on. "I just want to show them that I'm about winning and not just about myself and doing everything myself."

Behind the scenes, Louisville is the presumptive favorite to land Evans. Besides making a visit to hometown Villanova, Evans' only other unofficial trip has been to Louisville. Louisville also has ties to Evans high school coach, Tony Bergeron, through assistant Steve Masiello. All this leads to speculation that the star guard will eventually sign with the Cardinals.

Now with summer season rapidly approaching, Evans is looking to whittle down his list of heavy-weight contenders to a more manageable number.


"I'm trying to narrow it down to my top two or three," said Evans. "I've got a lot of schools – Louisville, Villanova, North Carolina, UConn, Texas and Memphis."

There's little doubt that Evans is the player Pitino intends to build Louisville's Class of 2008 around. So where does Louisville fit into the mix with Evans?

"I don't really know," Evans said. "They're in the mix. I don't want to make no early commitment. Everybody is saying that I'm going to Louisville. I just want to make sure that I pick the right school and it's the right place for me to be."

There's talk that Evans might make some unofficial visits this summer. At the Jamfest, he mentioned Villanova and Virginia, a school Evans did not list, as possible destinations. Whether or not those visits take place could provide an indication of his true intentions, especially in regards to Louisville.

"Hopefully I can take some trips with my brother soon, but I've got a busy summer this year," Evans said.

Might Evans, who visited U of L last fall, make a return trip to Louisville this summer?

"Sure," he said. "It was nice out there. I met a lot of guys – D.C. (Derrick Caracter), Earl Clark and (Edgar) Sosa are pretty good friends of mine. They showed me around. It was real nice – the dorms and everything like that."

Louisville could add another connection with Evans next fall – that is if 2008 commit Melquan Bolding leaves Archbishop Stepinac (NY) to attend American Christian Academy and team with Evans at the Aston, Pennsylvania school.

"Coach (Tony Bergeron) said he was going to try and bring him in. We worked out a couple times. We haven't talked about going to Louisville together, but I know he's going there."


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