A couple of weeks ago, I linked to an article by SI Online’s Luke Winn that told the story of how a former prep phenom, JuCo star, and possessor-with-intent-to-be-distributor named Tyree Evans (above) found himself under scholarship at the University of Maryland. It was a good, well-reported story, and Evans’ story itself seemed headed for a happy ending. Or at least as happy an ending as is possible when you’re being screamed at by a sleep-deprived, Merit-breathed Gary Williams. A little scouting report on Evans in The Baltimore Sun Online revealed that he has a way with similes — his JuCo coach Bobby Steinburg, “scooped me up like an ice cream cone” — is a big fan of Lil Boosie (you know, from Baton Rouge-based rap fanatics Concentration Camp? No, you don’t?) and is the cousin of Boston College star Tyrese Rice.
It couldn’t be all Lil Boosie and “what’s your favorite food?” forever, though, and the somewhat-tougher questions raised by Evans’ lengthy rap sheet — which Maryland AD Debbie Yow claimed not to know about — have led to Evans withdraw from Maryland. The Baltimore Sun‘s Jeff Barker reports:
Evans’ abrupt decision came after media reports about his past. Last year, he was charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He ended up pleading to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 12 months in jail with all but one month suspended. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to a reduced assault-related misdemeanor after being accused with others of statutory rape of a 15-year-old female classmate at a Massachusetts prep school. There was also a 2006 trespassing arrest in his hometown of Richmond, Va.
The previous media reports didn’t mention a fourth case — marijuana possession and handgun charges lodged in Cecil County Circuit Court in November 2005. He received probation on the drug charge, and the handgun count wasn’t pursued by prosecutors, according to county officials . “That was a positive result for him because not everyone gets probation,” said Lawrence Derx, his attorney…
(Evans’ old JuCo coach Bobby) Steinburg, who will become an assistant coach at Division I Kent State on June 1, said the buildup of negative publicity finally made Evans decide that College Park was not the best place for him.
“Hearing about all that stuff and people started telling him, it was just constantly a struggle, it seemed like every day it was something new,” Steinburg said. “He and I just talked about it two days ago, and said, ‘Let’s go ahead and opt out. It’s not like he’s going to have trouble finding another place.”
Steinburg denies that said other place will be Kent State; Arizona had also recruited Evans hard, and needs a point guard with Jerryd Bayless jumping to the NBA. The basketball stuff will work itself out, though. For now, the Sun‘s Rick Maese is breathing a sigh of relief that Evans won’t be in College Park. Why? For the children!
While some fans, boosters and alumni were hollering for Evans’ second chance, isn’t it clear that this young man has exhausted a second, a third, a fourth and even a fifth chance? Evans’ recruitment wasn’t botched by anything done in the past month by either the admissions or athletic departments. It all stems from Evans’ past.
Drugs, guns, assault? Think about that for a second. The Maryland men’s basketball program invited a young man on campus who we hope has reformed himself but who would’ve come with far too much risk. In this post-Virginia Tech world, anyone with a gun charge in his or her background is too much of a liability.
How do you explain to a mom and dad who are shelling out more than $30,000 a year for their kid to attend school that the 23-year-old junior in the next dorm over was admitted with so much baggage? Yeah, but you should see him shoot the three. And heaven forbid, how would you defend the decision if there was some unfortunate or tragic relapse in the recruit’s behavior?