Mens' basketball star Shannon Evans belongs at UB
Despite UB Athletics’ initial missteps and allure of bigger programs, UB has the most to offer sophomore guard
The best place for Shannon Evans is in Buffalo.
Even without former head coach Bobby Hurley, Evans will shine brightest on the Buffalo men’s basketball team – a team where the sophomore guard can continue his reign as a star player.
Evans certainly deserves the opportunity to consider other options now that Hurley has left the program, and UB Athletics was right to grant Evans his request for a release from his scholarship Tuesday.
Unfortunately, that request was only granted after UB Athletics initially told Evans it would prohibit him from transferring to some of the schools he was looking at, including Arizona State, Old Dominion and Virginia Tech.
It’s reassuring that UB Athletics saw the error in its ways and granted Evans a release to any school he so chooses. The athletic department is even allowing him to go to Mid-American Conference schools – a step above and beyond what it needed to do. And although Evans said he and Athletic Director Danny White are on good terms now, it would be understandable for the point guard to still feel slighted by White’s initial move to block certain schools.
What shouldn’t factor into Evans’ thinking is what he initially viewed as a snub from White. Evans approached White in Alumni Arena Monday and the athletic director was unable to meet with Evans immediately. This led Evans to claim White didn’t care about his future.
Since then, it seems the pair has resolved the burgeoning feud, after White canceled two meetings to speak with Evans on Monday evening and granted his release shortly after.
White has done everything possible to make up for an initially erroneous reaction, and it would be wise of Evans to move past the tumult surrounding the early hours of his request. His decision about staying or leaving UB should be about what’s best for his future, not the behavior of the school’s athletic department.
Because with all the departmental drama resolved, the question that remains is really whether or not Evans would be better off at a different school.
It’s clear that Evans wants to follow Hurley to Arizona State. That’s understandable, but Evans wouldn’t benefit from joining a roster where he’d be overshadowed by other players.
It’s unlikely he would be a standout player at Arizona State or any other school in a larger conference – at least not as much as he is at UB in a Mid-Major conference.
Evans’ reputation in Buffalo is established and it serves him well. If Evans continues to progress at UB for the next two years, he could easily be considered the program’s greatest player ever. He already has the team’s first-ever MAC Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance to go along with the admiration of the fans.
And Evans would be ineligible to play next year if he transfers.
According to NCAA rules, he would have to sit out for a season before getting on the court with his new team, and although Evans would still have two years of eligibility, sitting out in the middle of his flourishing athletic career would be far from ideal.
Evans’ interest in looking elsewhere is certainly understandable and he has every right to do so.
But to actually go elsewhere would be a mistake, and Evans has to realize that for himself.
After all, if Evans does stay, it’s in everyone’s best interest – for the fans, for UB Athletics, for his teammates and for himself.
He should ultimately look past White’s initial errors. That an athletic department has the power to prevent an athlete from switching schools is egregious as a policy in and of itself, and it seems UB Athletics had done everything to rectify the situation.
The best place for Evans to cement a legacy and be a star is Buffalo.
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