New coach Underwood, guards Evans, Forte lead Oklahoma State
The Associated Press - October 27, 2016 8:57 am
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) – A year ago, accomplished Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte called then-incoming freshman Jawun Evans the best player on the team.
It took a while, but Evans proved him right.
Evans began the season deferring to others, but the point guard eventually learned what he could do, became more assertive and averaged 12.9 points and 4.9 assists before missing the final nine games with a shoulder injury. He scored 42 points in a loss to Oklahoma and he led the Cowboys with 22 points, six rebounds, eight assists and two steals in an upset win at home over No. 3 Kansas. The Big 12 freshman of the year has healed, and he’s a preseason all-conference pick who is expected to help the Cowboys improve on last season’s 12-20 campaign.
When new coach Brad Underwood got his first look at Evans after arriving from Stephen F. Austin, he was floored.
“He is very gifted in the fact that he sees plays before they happen, and there are not a lot of people who do that,” Underwood said. “And Jawun has an uncanny ability, and I use a cliche, ‘Good players make themselves better, great players make their team better.’ Jawun falls into that category.”
Evans will have a key playmaker back in Forte, who was lost for most of last season with an elbow injury. Forte averaged 15 points and was a third-team All-Big 12 pick as a junior in 2014-15. He ranks fourth in school history with 244 career 3-pointers.
“He’s one of those guys that nobody’s really talking about, and they should be,” Underwood said.