It was another season to remember for Southfield Christian standout, Bakari Evelyn. Last month the 2015 point guard prospect propelled his team to its second consecutive state championship, and it was a road much more difficult than some might think. The class D power played far from a class D schedule thanks to its willingness to match up with many of the state’s best in the non-conference.
“We played a lot of good competition,” said Evelyn. “Class A schools, high major class B schools… we competed and beat most of them, so it really prepared us to make a deep run in the tournament.”
On an atypically talented class D team, it was Evelyn that shone the brightest. The 6-2, 170-pounder averaged 20.4 points per game to lead the team, but he warns against pigeon-holing him as a just a scorer.
“I’m not only that,” he said confidently. “I have to take more of a scoring role for this team but I’m definitely a facilitator. More people will see that during the circuit this year. (This year) has been great. I put a lot of work in in the off-season so to see it pay-off is really a blessing.”
The blessings will likely continue in the form of more scholarship offers in the coming months. The star sophomore has one to his credit at the moment, but there won’t be any shortage of suitors that could add their names to that list at his AAU contests.
Said Evelyn, “I have an offer from Oakland. It’s a couple coming on the table. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hearing from Michigan, Michigan State, Memphis, Butler, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.”
Michigan began courting Evelyn during his freshman year and witnessed him turn in an impressive performance at its elite camp last year. Their interest picked up even more during his sophomore campaign.
“They’ve been talking to me and asked me to a couple games this year,” he recalled. “I couldn’t make a couple trips because my schedule was conflicted, but I went to the Illinois game and when they played Eastern Michigan. It was fun. Nice atmosphere. The coaches were real nice, showing me love and everything. They’re a good team. I like watching them. They’re a fun team to watch and I could see myself playing for them one day.”
One of the most enticing aspects of Michigan for Evelyn is his relationship with the coach that he shares a first name with.
“That’s my guy,” Evelyn said regarding Michigan assistant, Bacari Alexander. Real cool, funny dude. Energetic. You can tell he’s passionate about what he does. He’s all about getting better and winning games.”
While it’s clear the Wolverines made a strong early impression, Evelyn stopped short of naming them or any other school his favorite.
“I like every school. I just grew up liking basketball in general,” he said. “I’ve got two more years to decide where I’m going to go. I’ll just weigh out my options. It’s really an even playing field with everybody. It’s not one more than the other. Everyone just gets an even slate.”
When decision time does roll around he already knows what criteria will determine the victor.
“The coaches, the atmosphere, the college life, and how well I get adjusted academically,” Evelyn stated. “How the coaches and players interact as a family and their focus on getting you better for the next level. I’ll also look at their focus winning games and winning championships.”