Sam Webb: So you’re a state champion again. It’s not hard to imagine what that feels like.
Bakari Evelyn: “It feels good, man. We put in a lot of hard work over the summer. Early mornings, late nights… so to get another title feels good.”
Sam Webb: Now, you obviously have been sidelined for some of the AAU season. What kind of injury are you dealing with?
Bakari Evelyn: “I messed up my ankle, actually, on our way to states,…the end of the last week of states, and I hurt it a couple other times trying to play, so they told me to sit out a couple games.”
Sam Webb: From last summer until now, tell me what’s different in your game. How have you grown since then?
Bakari Evelyn: “I’m definitely more of a vocal leader, more of a leader on the floor, and my jump shot has improved a lot, and also on defense, it’s still getting there, you know, to be able to sit down and guard my position.”
Sam Webb: Clearly you are a higher profile guy on the recruiting trail too. So which schools are you hearing from, college-wise?
Sam Webb: Any of those schools offer you yet?
Bakari Evelyn: “Yeah, I have a couple offers, I think from Oakland, and I’m looking for a few more coming through throughout the summer.”
Sam Webb: What has the contact with Michigan been like?
Bakari Evelyn: “It’s been ok. It’s been on and off because of my schedule and theirs, but we still try to keep in touch.”
Sam Webb: Did you watch them much during the season?
Bakari Evelyn: “Yeah, I did. I actually did watch them. I watched them probably the most out of most schools, so yeah, I watched them a lot.”
Sam Webb: When they make a run all the way to Monday night, does that make an impression on you? Does that elevate them in your eyes at all?
Bakari Evelyn: “Yeah, it does. It shows the winning mentality that they have there, and the history, and how focused they are about winning… which I am too. But everyone is on an even playing field I guess.”
Sam Webb: I understand that you’re wide open, what do you like about Michigan in particular? Also, what do you still have to find out as far as they’re concerned?
Bakari Evelyn: “I like the style of play, as far as Beilein letting his guards go, to an extent at times, but also the defensive intensity. Everyone’s very defensive, and they have the floor filled with a lot of shooters and good bigs, so I like that they have kind of a pro style game. I’m just trying to learn more about the offense and how I would fit into it, and the school itself.”
Sam Webb: What about Michigan State? What has the vibe and contact been like with the Spartans?
Bakari Evelyn: “I talk to them a little bit. The Spartans, it’s been more just trying to feel out, go to a couple of games, and see – talk to them a little bit more.”
Sam Webb: Clearly you’re wide open right now and have a long way to go, but pretend for a second that it’s decision day. What are going to be the biggest factors in that choice?
Bakari Evelyn: “Biggest factors, it would probably have to be play style, would definitely be the biggest; the campus life and how they help me adjust and transition, you know, high school to college, all the distractions and pressure of college; just really trying to see how I fit in the system, and how the system fits me, and my relationship with the coaches and the players.”
Sam Webb: What does your timeline look like? Are you going to be waiting until your senior year? Are you going to try to get it done next year? When do you think you’re going to make a decision?
Bakari Evelyn: “I don’t know; when the time feels right; when I have 100% confidence in the school, and I feel like that’s the perfect place for me to be, and I’ve talked to my mom and my brothers and my coaches. We’ll figure that out.”
Sam Webb: That’s what I was going to ask you. Who’s your circle? Who are you going to rely on to help you make this choice?
Bakari Evelyn: “Really just my mom, my dad, my brothers, my immediate family, you know, maybe some of my closer friends; but that’s pretty much it.”
Sam Webb: Are you going to me going back to Michigan’s elite camp this year?
Bakari Evelyn: “I’m not sure. I’m going to see, because of how I feel with my ankle and everything, and it’s how my schedule is filled.”