Q&A with Tyreke Evans and Coach Bergeron

RALEIGH, N.C. --- Early foul trouble kept Tyreke Evans from his typical high scoring total, but he did manage to impact the game in other ways, finishing with 14 points, four assists, five boards and six steals in American Christian's 81-70 win Wednesday against Mt. Zion at the Holiday Invitational. Afterwards, Evans and his coach Tony Bergeron spoke to the media ...


Foul trouble seemed to take you out of the flow in terms of scoring points, but you were able to produce in other areas …

Yeah, I felt pretty good doing that because I was able to distribute the rock and make people better.

Did the foul trouble frustrate you at all?

A little bit, but once we were winning it didn't really matter.

What did Coach tell you when you got into foul trouble and you sat for much of the first half?

He said to just stay ready and in the second half come in and play my game.

You've played a lot of tough opponents already. How good was Mt. Zion?

They were a tough team. Tracy [Smith] is a good player going to NC State – he had a pretty good game. We just came to do the best we can and I thought we did a good job on defense.

You developed a reputation as a scorer, but seem to be developing more as a true point guard. Would you agree with that?

Coach helped me out with that, putting me at the point to get me running the offense and making smart decisions.

Is this your first time ever playing in Reynolds Coliseum?

I've been down here before, but this was my first time playing here.

Now, you've got family in Fayetteville, N.C., so have you ever been on the big Triangle college campuses before?

The only one I've been to is North Carolina.

When did you do that?

When we went to the Bob Gibbons tournament. … I just looked into the gym, I didn't really take a visit.

Do you plan to visit the UNC campus while you're down here this week?

Probably … might be, I don't know.

Coach Bergeron chimed in at this point: "If the boys decide to, we'll attend the North Carolina game tomorrow night … it'll be a team decision."

That's a school you've talked about being your "dream school." Have you just not had a chance to really visit them yet?

No, I haven't had a chance to visit. But I'd like to get down here one time to talk to Wayne Ellington about that.

How well do you know Ellington?

We're good friends, we work out together and do a lot of training.

You ever talk to him about playing together at North Carolina?

No, I haven't talked to him about that.

With a lot of schools involved, are there any that have jumped to the top for you?

It's open right now. Everybody's saying they heard a rumor that Louisville's at the top, but I just tell everybody that it's open.

You tell everybody it's open or is it really open?

It is open.

How are you going to progress with your recruitment and decide on visits and a decision?

Right now I'm just going to worry about the season. That's going to come later, so I'll go out there, and after the season take my visits and make sure where the right place is for me to be.

When do you think you'll take those visits?

Probably in the summer … no visits during the season. Coach likes us in the gym practicing a lot so I don't think there will be any during the season.

You've taken a real visit to Louisville. What other schools have you fully visited?

That's it.


Tyreke said you've been focusing with him on becoming a better true point guard …

Actually it depends on the game. Whatever I need. The last couple games I needed ‘Reke to play the point and play defense and he's doing a tremendous job at that. In the last game he scored 37 points, so he scores when we need him to. Tonight he was in a little bit of foul trouble, which took him out of the flow, but defensively he was active. There are so many stats that he put up that people don't recognize. How many passes did he tip that led to steals? He had [some] assists, he moved the basketball well, he was involved in so many of the traps and he got us going. He was responsible for 35 points tonight, it just all doesn't end up in his scoring [total].

This being your first year coaching at American Christian, what has it been like coaching Tyreke thus far?

He does whatever I tell him and that's what's great about him – and he's willing to learn. From what people told me, and I hadn't seen him play much before I had him, but from what people told me was that he didn't play too much defense, but he could score like crazy. So my thing is, we're in his junior year now, let's get him to play defense, learn to play off the basketball, learn to play with the basketball – because we know he's one of the best scorers in the country. By the time I'm done with him, I think he's a lottery pick.

What's it like having all these schools showing interest in a kid you're trying to coach? Can that be a distraction?

Not at all. I was in New York City the past four-to-five years and we get hammered with coaches and it's no big thing. Half the coaches recruiting Tyreke I knew coming in, and I've got 11 of my 13 players getting Division I interest. So it's easy to deal with the colleges, that's not a problem. And Tyreke's only a junior right now and he's not talking about making any kind of commitment or whatever, he's working on academics, which he's doing a wonderful job on. He'll take the SAT for the first time in the spring, he's right in line with his Core [curriculum] – probably ahead. And that's it. We're working on making him a pro. Basically he'll make a decision, sitting down with his brothers and his mother and they'll all help make a good decision for him.

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