Second-team All-MAC selection Shannon Evans is transferring from Buffalo, according to multiple reports. The 6-foot-1 sophomore had a breakout season under former head coach Bobby Hurley in helping the Bulls reach the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance. But with Hurley leaving and former assistant coach Nate Oats taking over, Evans will seek a fresh start.
Evans was seventh in the MAC in scoring at 15.4 points per game and was third in the league in assists at 4.6 per game. The talented guard also averaged 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals and shot 41 percent from the field, 38 percent from the 3-point line and a shade under 80 percent from the free-throw line.
According to a report from Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, Evans wanted the chance to play in front of more professional scouts and it’s a primary reason for his desire to transfer elsewhere. Although Evans seemed okay with Oats, he was clearly not pleased with athletics director Danny White not taking time to speak with him on his future.
Earlier on Monday, Evans sent out a tweet that implied that he couldn’t meet with White to discuss his future. That tweet was later deleted, but Evans spoke with Gaughan about the athletics director not taking time to meet with him.
“I wanted to talk to Danny White today,” Evans said to Gaughan. “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.’ . . . It’s like he was in a rush.”
White clearly felt compelled to respond to this allegation from Evans, but did not specify Evans — or the men’s basketball team — by name in a tweet later on Monday.
To make the transfer look even worse for Buffalo, they’re blocking Evans from looking at other schools he might want to attend.
Evans said Oats informed him that UB would allow him to transfer but 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.
“They’re basically going to block all the schools I want to talk to,” Evans said. “I just feel like they don’t want my best interests and what’s best for me personally, and I really don’t like that. I feel like if I want my release, OK, any MAC school, I understand. But they shouldn’t block me from any school in a higher conference than Buffalo.”
“That’s giving me a chance to potentially play in the NBA one day, and I want to have that opportunity,” Evans said. “It hit me real hard today. That’s when I decided I’m not going to stay.”
To restrict Evans from going anywhere is terrible treatment of a player trying to enhance his career choice by going elsewhere to challenge himself. It’s tough to say what really happened in the Evans and White situation, but for both sides to say something publicly about it doesn’t bode well.
UPDATE 4/21: According to ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, Evans will receive a full release and have the opportunity to transfer anywhere.