St. John's basketball in review: 2008-09 Sean Evans

#5 - Sean Evans

 

St John's logo2008-2009 Class: Sophomore
Position: Forward/ Center
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 250
Age/ DOB: 20/ October 20, 1988
Home: Philadelphia, PA

stats taken from Statsheet, kenpom.com, and my own calculations

2008-2009 Highs

High Points
25
Richmond
High Off Rebounds
7
(G'Town (II), Prov)
High Rebounds
16
(Notre Dame (II))
High TO
5
(Marquette)
High FT Att
13
(Cincinnati (I), 4 made)
High FG Att
16
(Marist)

 

Watching St. John's last year, you might be surprised to know that forward Sean Evans, who started all 34 games, was actually 5th in minutes played per game in conference at 27.6 (though that also includes Malik Boothe's average). It seemed like Evans was always on the court, aggressively making plays. Evans was the team's leading rebounder in Big East play at 7.2/ sean evans vs marquettegame (3 offensive/ game), and the third leading scorer (at 9.5 points per game) while shooting 50% from the field. But for this team, offensive aggression always comes with the dreaded TURNOVER.

Evans' style of game is a high wire act, in a sense; there's little room for error, and when there is error, Evans is much less effective on the court. He depends on offensive rebounds, tip-ins, and pure hustle, which is great if he wasn't handling the ball, or if he had post moves and/ or counter moves.

But Evans will routinely take a rebound and try to go end-to end with the ball to get a shot or generate a foul. He will try to dribble in from 15 feet out. And he some of those shots go in; it's just that Evans turns the ball over 25% of the time. On other teams, turning the ball over 25% of the time as a forward/ non-ball handler makes a player a liability. But on this team, being in attack mode sometimes trumps structure, and other teammates turn the ball over more.

sean evans dunkEvans' aggressive game and agility does get him to the free throw line a fair amount. Attempting 1 free throw attempt for almost every 2 shots is a blessing. Converting only 50% of those shots is a terrible curse. Those are points left behind on a team that struggles to score, and Evans is one of the players who can consistently get to the charity stripe.

On defense, Sean did a decent job keeping his feet moving and staying with his man. He is an intriguing defensive option - very athletic but also strong, and the size of a college power forward. His defensive rebounding rate really improved from freshman year to sophomore year. And his steal percentage was very good for a forward. He can improve his defense against true post players, but he is coming along on D. He does not block shots... which is good, since eager shot blockers end up in foul trouble. But it would be nice to see him send an opponent's shot into the second row.

Evans' game is still evolving. The former 2-sport star played with a confidence not seen his freshman year. His style might be bull-in-china-shop, but he does make plays and competes on the court.

Impact on the 2009-2010 Season

Sean Evans should be a mainstay on the Red Storm front line. He was a solid find for Norm Roberts' staff; he can do a lot of things on the court, though he has a far way to go to make those sean evans dribbleskills into positive contributions, especially on offense. There are players around Evans who seem to have more potential, who can do more skill-based things on the court; but a player who plays 100% all the time is great to have. Here are some things this blog thinks Sean Evans can improve upon:

Ballhandling. Watching him bring the ball upcourt is an exercise in holding one's breath. If Evans is going to continue to think of himself as a slashing forward, his dribble has to tighten up. He moves decisively enough, but his handle is helter-skelter and can be bothered by good defenders. His desire to bring the ball into the teeth of the defense... I don't know how that will change without reducing his effectiveness, so he might still have a lot of turnovers this year.

Free Throw Shooting/ Range. Evans has talked about improving his range this offseason. One hopes that this plan comes first with making free throws on a regular basis, because that is a huge flaw in the forward's game. A little range will mean that defenses will have to come out on him a little, allowing him to dribble past them. But he hasn't shown any range in 2 years (unlike Burrell), so we will see how this one goes.

Position Defense. Evans is decent at stealing the ball from the forward position; and his ability to stay in position and not leave his man/ area has improved. Still, against the likes of Boston College, with a deliberate motion designed to free up the forwards, both Evans (and Justin Burrell) struggled. Evans' anticipation and defensive quickness can definitely improve. The Red Storm need to make getting to the basket much harder for opponents if they want to be a very good defensive team, which they will need to be if the team is going to move up into the standings.

Sean Evans has a surprising amount of ability; but he certainly may have made all the notable changes in his game from freshman to sophomore year. I don't expect to see a distance shooter or a shot blocker emerge; but he can be a better team defender, a 60-65% free throw shooter, and maybe even turn over the ball a little less.

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