NRHS grad commits to Buffalo

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By Matthew Hatfield

Former Nansemond River guard Shannon Evans has given a verbal commitment to play college basketball at the Division I level in the Mid-American Conference for the University of Buffalo Bulls.

A 2012 NRHS graduate, Evans is spending this season at Hargrave Military Academy, a prep school in Chatham. He averaged 19 points per game and was a catalyst for the Warriors as they went 21-5 overall a season ago and won their first Southeastern District Tournament title since 2007.

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“I chose Buffalo, because the coaches were born and raised there, the players are all like a family, I had a good vibe with them and on my visit I felt welcomed,” Evans said. “They welcomed my parents also. It’s in a good conference in the MAC, and they’re a program on the rise with a lot of potential. They’ve got a lot of talented young guys, and they want to be in the mix.”

Evans chose the Bulls over offers from Appalachian State, Gardner-Webb, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech and University of Tennessee-Martin.

Former Nansemond River guard Shannon Evans drives down the court during last year’s season. Evans has given a verbal commitment to play college basketball at the Division I level in the Mid-American Conference for the University of Buffalo Bulls.

“I’m very happy for Shannon,” said Nansemond River head basketball coach Ed Young. “He is about to realize his athletic dream of playing Division I basketball. Seeing him grow from a scrawny, directionless freshman to an All-District, All-Tidewater performer on the court — and more important getting it done in the classroom — brings out the proud factor for me. He also will greatly benefit both academically and athletically by playing this season at Hargrave.”

For Evans, there will be an adjustment period when he gets to the next level, and not only on the court. He’ll have to get used to living in a different portion of the country where the weather is much different than what he’s been accustomed to in Virginia.

“I did tell him when he was considering schools that he’ll see more snow in a week in Buffalo than he has seen his entire life in Suffolk,” quipped Young. “So he’ll definitely need to add to his winter wardrobe.”

Evans says he’ll be prepared.

“I know it’s cold up there at Buffalo,” he acknowledged. “But it’s not going to be cold in the gym.”

Evans becomes the fifth Division I recruit under Young at Nansemond River, following Vaughn Wilson, Andre Jones, Nick Wright and Ashton Moore. His goal from day one with the Warriors was to get to the highest level for college basketball.

“I always believed I could play at the Division I level,” he said. “I just had to get in the right place to fulfill my dream. When Ashton left, Coach Young called me in the office and told me I had to step up, and it was my year.”

At Buffalo, the plan for Evans is to use him as a combo guard who can defend either backcourt spot, provide scoring and play the point in their transition game for a Bulls program that is one of the few up-tempo teams in the usually physical and rough MAC. This season at Hargrave is helping him improve as a player and mature off the court, as well.

“Here, all you do is basketball and military stuff in school. We’ve got a good group of guys here and we motivate ourselves,” Evans said of his transition.

“I’m working on the little things, like when you come off a screen you’ve got to hit a man in the chest. I need to get more people involved. At the college level, I’m going to need to get other people involved to get myself involved. Those are some of the things I’ve got to do a little bit better.”

Buffalo, coached by Reggie Witherspoon, finished 20-11 overall last season and 12-4 in league play. The Bulls have won 20 or more games three times in the past four years, but they are still looking for their first NCAA Tournament appearance.