Dwayne Evans isn't letting the unknown blind him from the known.
What he knows is that he'll be playing college ball – somewhere – next season, in 2010. That he has no clue as to where, well, that's not what's important.So Evans, a 6-foot-5 swingman from Naperville, Ill., is spending his summer getting ready. He's meeting with a trainer two or three times a week. He's doing plyometrics, weight training, resistance training. He has spread about five pounds of muscle over his lanky, 205-pound frame. He's even putting in time on the treadmill.
He'll have some options on where he goes to college. And he wants to be ready when he gets there."I'm just trying to get a step ahead," Evans said. "I'm trying to get ready for the next level. That's going to be a lot of work so I want to be prepared."
So believe him: He's working out. Even if the evidence is thin."Yeah, I'm definitely a lot stronger now than before I started training this hard," Evans said. "I don't know if you can see it as much because I have a lanky build, but I can definitely feel it....
"I can definitely – I don't know how to explain it – but I can jump quicker than I used to. Going for a block or a dunk, I can get up there better than before. And posting up and going up for shots down low, I can take more contact than I used to be able to and I can finish better too. My vertical is up too, so that always helps, whether it's rebounding or dunking or whatever."Yep, Evans wants to be ready when he steps on campus about a year from now. What campus that is – now that's the question.
The Neuqua Valley High School rising senior, who plays AAU ball for the Illinois Warriors, has a smorgasbord of offers and interest, sure-fire options and long-shot maybes.According to Evans, he has offers from St. Louis, Drake, Wisconson-Green Bay, Northern Iowa, Ball State, Western Michigan and Detroit. And then Valpo, Arizona State, Michigan and USC have all shown some level of interest.
Oh, and Northwestern too.Now, Evans was quick to point out that the Wildcats aren't burning up the phone lines. He simply said that he talked with an NU assistant, and that he's "not really sure what's going on" with NU, adding, "I would definitely consider them."
So a marriage between Evans an NU is still probably eons away. And that's if it ever happens.Evans said that geography wasn't important to him; Naperville is less than 40 miles from Evanston. But he also talked about what is important. And in doing so, he inadvertently described Northwestern.
"My family stresses academics for me and my sister," he said, "so academics are important. I am also looking for a competitive basketball program. It doesn't have to be the greatest, but I want to win some games. And also the college feel – I want a college experience."Academics, competitive basketball, a nice college environment? Check, check and check for Northwestern.
But again, NU's interest, apparently, has been hovering at lukewarm. And if there isn't an offer soon, Evans doesn't sound as if he will postpone his decision in hopes of nabbing a late offer from the Cats.
"After the summer period, whoever has the offers on the table is who I'm going to take seriously," Evans said. "The ones who have offered this summer and before are the ones I'll take really seriously...."Right now, it is definitely too early to tell. I haven't even started trying to nail it down. Hopefully before the high school season starts, but there's no specific date."
Evans added, "I'm wide open still...Right now, everybody is in the running."When asked to describe his game, Evans said: "I like to think that I'm versatile. I can play in and I can play out. There's not really just set on one aspect of my game. I can be tough to defense sometimes….
"I think I'm a pretty good passer. I think I'm a pretty good team player too. I'm always looking to get other guys the ball. I can finish, I can dunk pretty well. My shot is kind of streaky, but when I'm on I can knock down shots anywhere form 15 feet to three-point range. I like running, pushing the ball, but I also like getting in the post, mixing it up and hitting cutters. It kind of just depends on the situation."