Two wrongs don’t make a White: Danny White shouldn’t be blamed for Shannon Evans’ possible transfer
It’s one thing to blame an athletic director for letting a coach leave a program based on money and unawareness, but it’s another thing to blame an athletic director for a player transferring out of a program because of one quick instance.
Men’s basketball sophomore guard Shannon Evans announced on Monday afternoon that he intends to transfer from the basketball program after a two-year stint with the team, one of which ended with a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Evans is one of the most electric, charismatic players on the team and was a fuel to last season’s eight-game winning streak at the end of the season.
According to Evans, he and White passed each other in Alumni Arena Monday and Evans requested a meeting with White. The athletic director responded by saying he doesn’t have time at the moment. To me, that’s very understandable. White is the director of a Division-I sports program who was running back and forth all day between scheduled meetings.
Evans took it the wrong way and let many media sources know about the exchange, including The Spectrum. He said White did not care for his future and that he will transfer from Buffalo.
It’s easy to blame White. White has been the scapegoat of UB Athletics since he arrived in Buffalo. Yes, he may have made mistakes, but he always attempts to rectify the situation. And later that night, White did.
White canceled two of his meetings on Monday night to make space to clear the air with Evans in order to ensure the longevity of their relationship and secure Evans’ future. White has done everything he could have in order to keep Evans donning a Bulls jersey for the 2015-16 season and years beyond that.
White even granted Evans a full transfer release on Tuesday so he can attend any school he wishes to. Not many athletic directors would do that for their star point guard. Not many athletic directors would even do that for role players.
So who’s do blame if Evans does end up transferring?
It seems like if you asked anyone Twitter in the last 36 hours, the clear-cut answer would be Athletic Director Danny White. The athletic director had a rough April after a month of March that was possibly the best run for UB Athletics in his tenure so far.
Earlier in the month, White let former head coach Bobby Hurley walk out the door and into the waiting arms of a Pac-12 team. It could have been prevented, but what’s done is done. And White deservedly took the brunt of the heat.
It’s easy to place blame on the helm of the program, especially when he was so instrumental with the Hurley fiasco. White opening up his wallet could have prevented Hurley from leaving, but Evans is a different story.
First off, Evans still might stay in Buffalo, so White could dodge a bullet with him on the team next season and there wouldn’t be any problems for the time being.
But if Evans does leave, it had nothing to do with his and White’s informal exchange on Monday morning in Alumni Arena.
White is a smart man. He gave Evans the freedom to choose whichever school he wishes. By giving him the option, it narrows the decision down to two in my opinion: Arizona State and Buffalo.
It’s evident that Evans wants to reunite with Hurley in Tempe, but the fact that White is giving Evans the freedom could possibly lure the star point guard back into the program. If he stays, White did his job.
But if Evans leaves, White will be judged even harder than the Hurley debacle.
Like I said, it’s easy to blame White because he is the scapegoat for the program. If there is ever a problem that makes UB Athletics look bad, White gets the brunt of it. Sure, he deserves it sometimes.
Not in this case.
Evans’ departure from the program had nothing to do with that exchange in Alumni Arena on Monday morning. This was a decision that was weeks in the making and was announced at an ill-fated time.
People forget that White helped bring the basketball program to relevance just as much as Hurley. It was his hires and initiatives that got people excited in the first place. If Evans leaves, White shouldn’t be blamed.
But he probably will be anyway.
Jordan Grossman is the senior sports editor. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org