Mike Evans makes an early impact with the Skyhawks
Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024
After a dominant outing, the Southern States Athletic Conference named Point University’s Mike Evans the Player of the Week.
In the Skyhawks’ thrilling 58-57 win over Truett-McConnell on Dec. 30, Evans had his best game of the season. Evans finished the game with 22 points to go along with seven assists and nine rebounds.
“I think it’s just been a lot of hard work put in, even before this week, from the beginning of the season until now,” Evans said. “I’ve just been putting in a whole bunch of work. I’ve been battling with myself to get back to where I know I’m capable of playing at.”
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Going into the matchup with the Bears the Skyhawks were on a seven-game losing streak. Evans was inserted into the starting lineup after coming off of the bench for most of the season.
Evans’ mentality was not just to get his shot off and earn the starting point guard spot. Instead, Evans focused completely on making winning plays and getting his team back on track.
“It was really doing whatever it takes to get the team a win,” Evans said. “We were on a little losing streak. At that point, it was whatever I had to do for us to win. It starts with practice. Coming in, competing and trying to get better. It led into the game, and you see the type of game that I had.”
Evans is a new addition to the team after coming over to Point University as a graduate transfer this season. Most players would have a hard time fitting in at a new school after spending four years at a different university. Evans felt right at home from the moment he arrived with the Skyhawks.
“I felt at home from my very first time coming down here,” Evans said. “One of my close friends from back home, Ben Ross, actually put me on to Point. When I came down here, coach [Jake] Deer fell in love with my game from my first day. I knew after the first workout that I was coming down here.”
Evans found his fresh start at Point University after battling through injuries while at Tuskegee University.
Evans tore his meniscus in his freshman and senior season, and he had surgery before visiting the Skyhawks. With the injuries, Evans’ basketball journey has been far from a straight path. Evans has had to persevere and work through trials every step of the way.
“It’s been actually a little challenge to me,” Evans said. “I’m still trying to work myself back into game shape. I sat out for three or four months. During that time, I just sat out. I felt myself getting out of shape. I gained a lot of weight. Now that I’m back here, I’m feeling myself steadily getting my body back and everything is coming back together.”
Evans still has two years of eligibility left after graduating from Tuskegee, but he left to join the Skyhawks because there is no option for a master’s degree at Tuskegee. Now, Evans is working to get his master’s in business administration.
Evans had another setback before the season started as he suffered a broken nose. The setbacks led to Evans’ role on the team fluctuating throughout the season. Evans has only started two games for the Skyhawks this season.
Evans has found a way to impact the game even while coming off the bench. In the game prior to the Truett-McConnell matchup, Evans came off the bench and scored a team-high 18 points in a loss to Thomas University.
Whether he is the starting point guard or the sixth man, Evans’ priority is helping the team win. Evans cares more about being trusted to get minutes in critical junctures of the game.
“I don’t really pay a real look into me starting or not, it’s making sure I get quality minutes,” Evans said. “Make sure when I get on the court I do make an impact. I oftentimes think it’s not about how you start, it’s basically about finishing the game. At the end of the game, depending on if it’s a close game, is where you need to be.”
As the season has progressed, Evans has seen himself improve in every aspect of the game. All of the improvement has come from Evans’ work ethic in the gym. Evans is considered by most to be a “gym rat” and that has shown on the court.
“That’s definitely something I take a whole lot of pride in,” Evans said. “I didn’t come down here to play around or anything. I really have goals and aspirations for after basketball. I want to at least have a shot at [playing] overseas.”
Evans is one of the most experienced players on the team this season, and he has assumed a leadership role early on. Evans has worked to fill that role even as a newcomer.
Coach Deer has helped Evans to feel more comfortable as a leader by instilling confidence in him every step of the way.
“Coach Deer has definitely helped me out a lot,” Evans said. “He has instilled his confidence in me. He knows what I’m capable of, he sees it every day in practice. He just wants me to make sure that I showcase it in the game. He constantly stays on me about being a leader, being vocal, making sure that I hold my teammates accountable and making sure that we’re all on the same page.”