The University at Buffalo gave Shannon Evans his release Tuesday to transfer to any school in the country, opening the door for the star guard to play in a power conference next season.
Evans, the 6-foot-1 sophomore, got what he wanted when UB Athletics Director Danny White announced that the university would not restrict him from going to certain schools.
“The first core value of UB Athletics is our student-athlete experience,” White said in a statement. “To that end, we will always operate and make decisions with the best interest of the young men and women who don the blue and white to represent this wonderful institution on a national stage.”
“After learning about the request for a release yesterday, and meeting with the student-athlete, I have decided that granting Shannon Evans a full release to transfer to any school in the country is in his best interest. We wish Shannon nothing but the best in his future academic and athletic pursuits.”
One obvious potential landing spot for Evans is Arizona State, where former UB coach Bobby Hurley landed earlier this month. The two have a close relationship. Evans was planning a visit to Arizona State this weekend. However, numerous other schools are interested in Evans, a second-team All-Mid-American Conference selection this season. They include Miami of Florida, Boston College, Illinois, St. John’s, Old Dominion, North Carolina-Wilmington and North Carolina-Charlotte.
UB wanted to keep Evans and initially told him it planned on restricting his options. Evans was relieved that a clear-the-air meeting between him and White Monday afternoon resulted in any objections being dropped.
“It’s a great feeling. I appreciate it,” Evans told The News. “I’m definitely going to take some time. I’m setting up a few visits and then I’ll go from there. I’m going to keep my options open. I’m going to consider all options.”
Evans said he still would consider a return to UB.
“I haven’t ruled it out, not at all,” he said.
However, given the interest in him from schools ranked among the top six conferences in the country, it probably will be tough for Evans to turn down a bigger-school offer. The Mid-American Conference ranked 10th out of 33 Division I leagues this season.
“I’ve got to take some visits,” he said. “I’ve got to talk it over with my family. I want to talk to my high school coach and make a good decision for myself.”
Evans will have to sit out the 2015-2016 school year if he leaves UB.
While Evans figures to be a big loss, UB’s offense still will have a lot of firepower without him. UB returns MAC Player of the Year Justin Moss and most of last year’s team. Exactly how Evans’ contributions will be replaced won’t be clear until all of the Bulls’ recruits have signed letters of intent.