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April 16, 2008
Evans makes his pick
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The day after Memphis freshman Derrick Rose announced he is leaving for the NBA, John Calipari and the Tigers program found out they will be replacing him with another blue-chip player. Five-star guard Tyreke Evans announced his intentions on playing for the Final Four team on Wednesday afternoon.
Evans will sign with Memphis today, ending the worst-kept secret in college basketball recruiting circles.
"It was a tough decision. I wanted to stay close to home with my mom, brothers and family but the school I chose is the University of Memphis," Evans said on live national television on Wednesday afternoon when he announced his decision.
There was a pressure to stay close to home and play for the Villanova Wildcats, Evans admitted, and said he saw himself better suited in John Calipari's dribble drive offense.
"[Villanova head coach Jay Wright] said he'd love for me to be a family at Villanova but I just decided that Memphis was a better offense for me," Evans said. "I wanted to play with coach Cal because of the offense he runs."
Evans, the MVP of the 2008 McDonald's All-American game, also considered Connecticut, Texas and Villanova. He was the highest ranked player on the Rivals150 going into today's signing period to remain uncommitted.
For Memphis, Evans is the perfect replacement for Rose in terms of sheer production in the backcourt. Evans is one of the top pure scorers in high school basketball.
The Tigers now shift their focus to Devin Ebanks and Wesley Witherspoon, two of the top unsigned wing forwards in the nation. Ebanks has an official visit date set up with Memphis on May 9. Witherspoon will announce his decision on May 1.
Memphis signed Angel Garcia and Matt Simpkins in the early signing period.
Jerry Meyer also contributed to this story.