University at Buffalo star guard Shannon Evans said Monday he’s seeking to be released from his scholarship commitment to UB.
Evans said early Monday he was determined to transfer from UB, but he stepped back from that position after an afternoon meeting with UB Athletics Director Danny White.
The sophomore guard said he still will consider staying at UB if the university releases him from his commitment and allows him latitude in contacting other schools about the possibility of a transfer.
“I’m still considering Buffalo,” Evans said. “I just want to see all my options.”
The 6-foot-3 Evans was a second-team all-Mid-American Conference pick this season. He averaged 15.4 points a game, seventh best in the conference. He also ranked third in assists at 4.6 a game, third in free-throw percentage, second in steals and third in minutes played.
“I feel like me and Danny got to a common ground,” Evans said. “If he gives me a good release, then I’ll definitely consider Buffalo because that means he cares for my future. But I feel like if he still blocks a lot of schools that I want to consider, then I’m just going to have to leave regardless and go somewhere.”
“We had a good talk, and I can tell he really cares for my future,” Evans said of White. “I feel like he’ll do the best for me.”
For now, Evans will wait to see what UB decides.
Evans was very close with former UB coach Bobby Hurley, who left for Arizona State.
“I came here to play for Coach Hurley,” Evans said. “Now that he left, I want to see all my options. Buffalo definitely is one of them.”
Evans said the big reason he’s thinking about leaving is the possibility of playing at a higher level.
“I want to be able to show NBA scouts and overseas scouts that I belong,” Evans said. “It’s more of a personal decision.”
Evans said he has wrestling with his decision for a couple weeks.
“I was on the fence about everything,” he said. “The fact that my best friend, my father figure, coach Hurley, left that hit home with me. I’m not mad at him for that. But I’ve been on the fence. I’ve had mixed emotions. I talked to my family.”
Evans said the situation came to a head when he tried to talk to White early Monday but was put off. White is leaving Tuesday for an out-of-town business meeting.
“I saw him. He said, ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this. Talk to Nate Oats, I told him everything.’ ”
Evans said Oats, UB’s new coach, informed him that if he asked for his release, UB would block a move by Evans to go to Arizona State, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion or another MAC school. Evans is a native of Suffolk, Va.
“I feel like if I want my release, OK, any MAC school, I understand,” Evans said. “But they shouldn’t block me from any school in a higher conference than Buffalo.”
Whether Evans could get an opportunity to rejoin Hurley remains to be seen. As of Monday, UB preferred to not allow it. VCU and Old Dominion are close to Evans’ home. UB is due to play Old Dominion in a non-conference game next season, and it’s believed the Bulls may have a game set with VCU in the future. Whether that should be a factor for UB is debatable.
Evans said he likes Oats, who served as Hurley’s right-hand man the past two seasons.
“I love coach Oats,” he said. “He’s a great guy, a great coach, this is nothing bad towards him. I think he’ll do great. He’ll do big things here.”
Evans' joyful style on the court made him a crowd favorite this season.
“I really want to give a lot of love to the Buffalo fans," he said. "I feel like they adopted me and I feel like I’m a Buffalonian at heart. The community supported me from Day One. Our student section, True Blue, did a tremendous job of embracing me.”
Evans was UB’s second best player this season, behind MAC player of the year Justin Moss. Evans’ departure would be a big loss, although UB has a lot of talent even without him. The impact of his loss would depend on how the roster stacks up after the spring recruiting season.