Sophomore Jacob Evans hopped onto the Bearcats scene in the 2015-16 season in surprising fashion. In his freshman campaign, Evans proved to be a playmaker on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He has the skill and range that make him a threat to score from anywhere on the court, and the height to be a problem defensively for opposing guards. As we look forward to the 2016-17 year, expectations are that a young talent like Evans is going to take over as a leader for years to come.
Evans’ first year as a Bearcat got off to a solid start and only got better with time. Evans averaged 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He proved to be a threat from both the 3-point line and free throw line, shooting 33% and 80%, respectively. His shooting and scoring abilities will be highly in demand on a UC team that has usually had a hard time putting points on the scoreboard.
As alluded to earlier, Evans numbers and impact became more impressive as his rookie year continued on. In the final two months of the season, Evans was able to up his scoring average to 11.5 points per game and became a consistent threat from distance, hitting 24 3-pointers in the Bearcats' final 8 games. Evans had a pair of highlight performances throughout the year, dialing up 16 points, four 3-pointers, six rebounds and four assists against Butler, and 18 points with four more 3-pointers and seven rebounds when the Bearcats visited East Carolina. Evans' best performance of the year came against St. Joseph's in the first round of NCAA Tournament, where he scored a career-high 26 points with five 3-pointers and nine rebounds. Unfortunately, the game versus Saint Joseph's would end up being the last of the season, but Evans added an exclamation point in his final performance which has all UC fans itching to see what comes next.
As we look forward to the upcoming years, a deep UC roster shows signs of a bright future. The leaders to begin the 2016-17 season on UC's roster will be seniors Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson, and junior Gary Clark. A young talent like Evans could prove to get his name into that mix and stay there for years to come. Straight forward, Evans has shown the potential to become one of the best Bearcats we have seen in a long time outside of Sean Kilpatrick. Evans' athleticism, scoring ability and size make him a matchup nightmare for opponents and a dream player for Mick Cronin. Obviously, you don't usually want to bet all of your money on a guy who has only had one season at the college level, but Evans is worth that gamble.