Buzzer Beater: Will Shannon Evans stay or go?

buzzer_beater

Sophomore guard Shannon Evans has been released from his UB scholarship and is speaking with others schools about transferring.

It’s unclear at this point whether or not he will be back with the Bulls next season, as Evans has said he’s still open to the possibility of returning to Buffalo.

As of now, Evans said his decision will most likely come in the beginning of May. The Spectrum sports editors shared their opinions on whether or not Evans will leave the program.

Jordan Grossman, senior sports editor

In the end, it will come down to two programs: Buffalo and Arizona State.

Arizona State has everything he wants: the name recognition, the weather and the coach. The Sun Devils wouldn’t have been an option if Bobby Hurley wasn’t recently named the head coach there. Evans publicly stated multiple times about his close relationship with Hurley, so it will surprise no one if he bolts for Tempe.

But it will surprise a lot of people if he stays in Buffalo. Evans stated over the past week that he might make a return to Buffalo, but it doesn’t seem likely. Evans’ persona was made for a Power Five conference, not a Mid-Major. Evans is ready to leave the program he helped build.

But Evans needs to fully realize a few points. First, he’ll have to sit out a year due to NCAA eligibility rules. It will be a big blow to a player with as much charisma as him as he watches a potential run to the tournament from the bench next to Hurley instead of playing in his system.

Second, Evans will not be the same player he was at Buffalo. He’ll be a role player, especially since the Sun Devils are loaded with a plethora of guards. Sure, Evans has the capability of playing in the Pac-12, but it’s going to be hard with 15 minutes per game.

In the end, Evans will end up transferring to Arizona State to reunite with Hurley. But he needs to remember that he will never be the player he was at Buffalo. If he leaves, he’ll never get the opportunity to see his jersey hung in a team’s arena.

Quentin Haynes, senior sports editor

This is tough. I’m on the fence on whether Evans should stay or go.

Staying in Buffalo is the legacy play. Next season, Evans will be one of the best point guards in the Mid-American Conference, will get upwards of 30 minutes per game and will be on one of the best teams in the MAC.

Evans finished last season as one of top scorers in the conference and made strides as a playmaker and facilitator for the offense. If he were to continue to improve, he and senior forward Justin Moss would be the MAC’s best combination and Evans would enter his senior season as the de facto best player on the team.

It’s not inconceivable that Evans’ number will be retired in Alumni Arena one day. He’s already a part of the only NCAA Tournament team in program history. If he were to lead the Bulls to another appearance and make another All-MAC team, he’d be one of the more decorated players in program history.

On the other hand, a larger program would open up more doors – NBA and overseas opportunities to be exact.

I wouldn’t understand if Evans were to go to school other than Arizona State. St. John’s, Boston College and others schools interested in Evans are good programs, but none have the familiarity with Evans that Arizona State – with new head coach Bobby Hurley – has. He could commit elsewhere, but they wouldn’t have the loyalty I assume Hurley would have with him.

Also, a year out is key here. Evans could commit and attempt to improve his game only to have someone already on the roster lock down the starting point guard spot, leaving more problems for Evans.

Which leads us to Arizona State. I think if he leaves, that’s where he’s going. He could reunite with his former head coach and get consistent minutes in a Power-Five conference, so making the jump would make sense. Evans is familiar with Hurley’s system and a year out could help his game. As Hurley attempts to retool Arizona State’s roster to fit his system, having someone who can run his show the way he likes is a nice thing not to worry about for a couple years.

If I was Evans, I think I would stay in Buffalo and lead this team the next two seasons, get to the postseason and cement my legacy. That said, I think he’s gone and I can’t blame him. If he wants to go somewhere, sit out a season and join a team in a Power Five conference – if he wants to prove himself on the highest level of college basketball – he should go for it.

Andrea Weidel, asst. sports editor

Athletic Director Danny reportedly isolated Hurley during contract negotiations, which caused the head coach to bolt for Arizona State. Instead of learning from his mistakes, White has lost another prominent figure.

Although Evans is now praising White for granting him his release and has said the two are on the same page, Evans was originally offended that White was unable to meet with him Monday and that the school was originally going to block him from transferring to certain schools.

Evans has said he considered Hurley a father figure, so whether or not he was already considering leaving before his interaction with White is up for debate.

What I won’t question, however, is Evan’s decision to leave. I don’t think it’s wrong for a star athlete who wants to keep rising in his sport to think about his future. It makes sense, and that’s what Evans is doing here. It would be insane to suggest he stay in an organization that he feels dismissed him and is absent of respect.

If Evans was a native of Buffalo and had family and a community here, I might think his decision was rash. But Evan’s family lives in Virginia, so nothing holds him here.

I hope Evans is able to find a university that respects him and that will allow him to go further in his basketball career. If he decides to transfer to Arizona State, I would fully support that decision. Not only would Evans be part of a promising organization, he would also be with a coach he knows and clearly admires. In fact, I think it would be a great scenario for all involved – Hurley, Evans and Arizona State.

So far Evans has not said he’s leaving and has said he’s considered remaining in Buffalo. I don’t think he’s staying and I think it would be better if he didn’t. Other universities will provide greater chances to appear in NCAA tournaments and be noticed by scouts. I don’t think he should leave just for athletic improvement, but for a change in atmosphere. It’s not healthy for anyone to remain where they may feel they won’t be heard and can’t improve.

In the light of Hurley’s departure and Evans’ possible departure, I think the next course of action is for UB to consider whether or not White is the best athletic director for the job, especially as the school continues to move toward the ultimate goal of NCAA appearances and championships.

Questions and comments can be directed to sports@ubspectrum.com