Returning Players - Eric Evans

By Steve DiMiceli
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Eric Evans (Career Point 763)

No Duke is happier to see the '10-11 season in the rear view mirror than Eric Evans. After breaking his foot in the Blue and Red game and missing the first month and half of the season Eric seemed a step slow and saw his minutes slashed with the emergence of TJ McConnell and Mike Talley who were solid in his absence. Eric simply never found his stride with any consistency and faded even further as the Dukes hit the home stretch. About a month into his return, Evans was scoring 6.6 a game. He closed with 4.9. He only scored in double figures twice this season and went 3 consecutive games without scoring a point or an assist. He ended up with an assist every 11.5 minutes this season from an assist every 8 minutes last year. His A/TO dropped for 1.6 to 1.2. His FG% decreased by .02 in spite of a very impressive .12 increase in his 3PT%. It would seem he was missing baskets he should have made or he still was taking ill advised shots. The tear drop he so often relied on last year to score over taller defenders in the paint didn't seem to work.

It's hard find the silver lining in Eric's season aside from the improved 3 point shooting. However, he set that bar very low in '09-10. Still, it seems like a viable weapon for him leading into next year. His turnovers also decreased marginally from one every 13.25 minutes last year to one every 14 minutes this year.I also liked a lot of what I saw defensively from Eric.

Some people talked about red shirting Eric this year and there was much discussion on both sides. At the time, I thought the idea was ludicrous, because of class standing and my belief that the team should play for this season. In spite of his struggles,  I still stand by the decision to let him play as the correct one. While he may not have always helped the team, I don't think he hurt the team and provided some veteran depth to rest some wearing freshmen legs.

Moving Forward

I wouldn't count out an Eric Evans who is healthy for an entire season just yet. Next year, he will need to compete for minutes with Mike Talley and Sean Johnson in what is shaping up to be a very crowded back court for the Dukes. I expect he and Sean Johnson to tap into the sophomore Talley's minutes next year though there is very little chance that Eric plays 30 minutes a game again next year. However, he will help the team if his 3 point shot takes another step forward, and his FT shooting rebounds. I would expect his athleticism to return along with his tear drop. His steals per game should get back to the 1.3 he averaged his sophomore year with the other ball hawks in the Duquesne back court.

If Eric is the competitor I believe he is, he will bounce back strong next year. First thing he will need to do is except his reduced role whether it's just fewer minutes or means coming in of the bench.  I think there is little reason to believe that even with 20-25 minutes a game Eric should score fewer than 10 points a game. Particularly early in the season Eric could be a guy that teams forget about giving him more space than he deserves. He needs to make them pay with his shot and his passing. He will need to maintain his 3 point shot and improve his FT and FG%.  He also needs to be the floor general he was becoming his sophomore year. It would be a big lift if he could improve on his '09-10 A/TO ratio.

10-11 grade: D-

What he needs to do to get the A next year.

10 PPG
1.7 A/TO
1.3 SPG
< 1.2 TOPG
Maintain 3PT%
40% from field
75 FT%