Tyreke Evans and Lamont Jones Post-Game Interview:
Louisville recruits Tyreke Evans and Lamont Jones combined for 80 points, while Cardinal signee Jared Swopshire scored 33 points in American Christian's 114-88 victory over IMG (FL) Academy Friday night at Freedom Hall in the 2K All-American Shootout.
With Rick Pitino watching from the stands, Evans, the Louisville coach's top recruit, put on quite a show, scoring 44 points to lead his team to victory. Pitino also had to pleased with the play of Jones, a 2009 verbal commit, and Swopshire, who recently signed a national letter of intent to play for the Cardinals next season. Jones finished with 34 points, while Swopshire scored 33 points.
"There's 80 points sitting next to me - that's fantastic," American Christian coach Tony Bergeron said after the game "Anytime you give a city kid a stage they are going to perform. So you've got Harlem and Chester. As soon as the crowd woke up they woke up. Offensively these guys filled it up tonight."
Nearly 2,000 Louisville fans showed up at Freedom Hall to watch Evans, Jones and Swopshire Friday night. They certainly got more than their monies worth. For the players, it was an experience they won't soon forget.
"It was a good experience playing in Freedom Hall and seeing the fans come out," Evans said. "I think it was a great experience."
Besides his 46 points, Evans, who hit 18 of 27 shots, including 3 of 8 from three, had 5 rebounds and four assists. He also got to the free throw often, hitting 7-11 from the line.
"I think I could have played better," Evans said.
Jones was also sensational. He hit 12 of 23 shots, 5 of 11 from beyond the arch. Like Evans, Jones scored in a multitude of ways. He also had two rebounds and two assists and forced several IMG turnovers on the defensive end.
"I tend to get hyped and excited when the crowd gets into the game and it makes me play better," Jones said. "I think the crowd brought this (performance) out of me. They knew who I was and that I was committed here and they showed me a lot of love. I think I needed to give back and put on a show."
Jones had an unbelievable two minute stretch just before halftime, hitting three consecutive three's and scoring 11 quick points during the flurry.
"I actually looked into the crowd and Edgar (Sosa) told me to shoot the ball and that's what made me do that," Jones said. "I need to work on my jump shot and defense."
Though his team lost, Swopshire was sensational. He finished with a double-double – 33 points and 12 rebounds. Swopshire showed off his deep range during the second half, draining three three-pointers. He made 10 of 21 shots and 10 of 16 free throws.
"I think I played pretty well," Swopshire said. "It was great (seeing) all of the fans that I'm going to be playing in front of next year. And playing front of my family and Coach Pitino – it was a great feeling."
"I think (Jared) did an exceptional job," IMG's coach said. "I'm extremely impressed with his performance and very proud of him."
Evans and Jones will fly to Baltimore Saturday for another game. Tony Bergeron said he would try to let Evans and Jones spend some time Friday night at UofL. But he was clear that the pair wouldn't spend any extensive time visiting UofL.
"We have an early flight to Baltimore tomorrow morning so tonight I'm going to try to get them over there for a little while."
Swopshire said he'll visit with his future coach and teammates while in town.
"I'll probably spend some time with them tonight or in the morning," Swopshire said. "We're flying out to St. Louis tomorrow for another game so I won't be able to see (Louisville) play."
The 6'7 Swopshire also hopes he'll get a chance to team with Evans next season.
"Tyreke is a great player," Swopshire said. "It would be good to have him at Louisville."
NOTE: Lincoln (NY) star Lance Stephenson did not play against St. Xavier because of an ankle injury. Stephenson said he would make an unofficial visit to UofL while in town and that he planned to attend Louisville's game against Dayton Saturday afternoon.