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St. John's basketball 2008 Year In Review Part VI-Sean Evans

Part 0: Opening | Part I: Team stats | Part II: Boothe | Part III: Burrell | Part IV: Cavataio | Part V: Dele Coker

Sean Evans

Sean Evans

(stats taken from, Statsheet, Ken Pomeroy's Basketball Prospectus, and my own calculations)

2007-2008: Freshman
Position: Forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 242 lbs
Age: 19 (10/20/1988)
Home: Philadelphia, PA

Sean Evans 2007-2008 Highs

High Points 12 (Prov)
High Assists 2 (Marq)
High Rebounds 9 (Prov)
High Minutes 32 (Rut)
High FT Att 9 (Marq)
High Blocks 2 (G'Town, Pitt)

One of last spring’s late signees, Sean Evans, is a perfect example of what I take exception with in coaching in general and on this coaching staff in particular. I love hustle as much as the next guy, but hustle that produces nothing… that’s what walk-ons should be for. Not saying that Evans isn’t worth a scholarship, and not saying that walk-ons are the toilet paper of a basketball team, but Evans probably played more minutes than he warranted. Then again… the other options weren’t particularly palatable either.

Part of the "hustle producing nothing" might be from his fairly inexperienced background – he was a two-sport star in the Philadelphia area, and was expected to take high-level offers to play defensive end. But he chose basketball, and probably needed a prep year to improve his game. Instead, he came to St. John’s.

Like Cavataio, he should have redshirted; but the lack of depth and guard-heavy offense meant that Evans was pressed into duty. Sean Evans signing with St John'sHe was as strong as described, though the words from the spring signing press release like "adept ball-handler," "guard skills," "good mid-range game" and "passer" were a big old sales job. Nice dark-horse recruit, but I saw none of those skills.

Offensively, he’s a brick layer. It’s great to have players who don’t automatically feel they have to score whenever the ball nestles in the palm of their hands (an auto-response?) but at a certain point, St. John’s can’t trot out 2-4 non-scorers on every damn possession. 6 points in 32 minutes against Rutgers? 0 points in 15 minutes at Cincy? 0 points in 14 minutes against Georgetown? There were credible efforts—12 points in 30 minutes against Providence; 8 points at West Virginia; 9 at Duke; 7 points against Marquette—but they were inconsistent.

Interestingly enough, those scoring outbursts, such as they were, seem to correlate with Evans getting to the free throw line:

Providence:12 points, 8 FT attempts (4 made)
W Virginia: 8 points, 2 FT attempts (2 made)
Duke: 9 points, 3 FT attempts (1 made)
Marquette: 7 points, 9 FT attempts (5 made)

Rutgers: 6 points, 0 FT attempts
Cincy: 0 points, 0 FT attempts
Georgetown: 0 points, 0 FT attempts

The free throw attempts may be a proxy for how aggressive Evans is being on offense in each game. When he’s giving the maximum effort, he gets after the ball on the offensive end and draws contact and fouls. He actually has the best rate of getting to the line of anyone on the team. Some of those numbers may be influenced by the garbage time periods of the games he played in, but still, that’s what we have to go on. Sean Evans stealThat may be where his value lies, in this kind of scrap; his shooting skills make officials duck, and his post "moves" and dribble make fans cringe.

There is room to improve all of this; but it’s bad offensive ideas that lead to turnovers, and over 1 turnover in 16 minutes of play is very poor for someone who doesn’t and shouldn’t be dribbling. All that hustle is undone by turnovers, 39.6% shooting percentage, and the 35% free throw percentage.

One would think he earned 16 minutes a game on defense; but when some opponent came in for a powerful baseline dunk, Sean Evans was usually on the periphery. Just enough to let you know that he should have been involved, but not close enough to stop the easy drive. The team's poor defensive 2pt percentage owes a lot to this kind of play, where Evans or another forward switches to help against a cutting wing or guard and OOOPS it’s another dunk.

Norm Roberts’ first two teams at St. John’s didn’t let easy shots happen. Evans has more athletic talent than many of those forwards, but someone has to coach that athleticism into some basketball IQ. Hustle is great. I love me some hustle. I get excited when Sean Evans loosens the ball from some player's hand. But his defense isn't so sharp that he could justify his offensive inability on a good team, let alone a squad that put up multiple under-50 point efforts and lost a lot of games by double digits. Every player has to have some positive effect on the box score – a few efficient points, a few rebounds, a steal or two that leads to points. A team cannot play 4 on 5 basketball.

Evans’ minutes take from more talented offensive players, and St. John’s needs players on the court who can score. Moreover, Evans often played next to Burrell, defending centers and forwards. If Evans can score a little, he would defuse the double teams that have been killing Justin Burrell’s game.

I would look for much of Evans’ playing time to be taken by Rob Thomas, now a year from injury and hopefully in better physical shape than he was last year. Thomas can do a lot of what Evans could, and has a nice touch around the basket. Evans mentioned that Thomas was his best friend on the team; he could learn from his friend and put that big athletic body to better use.

All Conf
Minutes Per Game 14 16.3
Effective FG Pct 43.2% 39.6%
FG Pct 43.2% 39.6%
3pt FG Pct 0 0
FT Pct 34.6% 35.1%
FT Rate 59.1% 69.8%
Points Per Game 3.1 3.1
Rebounds Per Game 2.5 3.2
Off Rebs Per Game 1.1 1.3
Def Rebs Per Game 1.4 1.8
Assists Per Game 0.2 0.3
Steals Per Game 0.3 0.4
Turnovers Per Game 1.1 1.2
Assist-Turnover Ratio 0.2 0.3
Blocks Per Game 0.3 0.4
Fouls Per Game 1.8 1.7