In little greater than a 12 months with the Florida State males’s basketball workforce, RayQuan Evans has gone from understudy to supporting function to a part of the principle attraction.
And he has earned rave opinions for his performances in all three.
When Evans signed with Florida State after two years at North Idaho Faculty, he was nicely conscious there was going to be a interval of adjustment. He had averaged 18.2 factors, 7.Four rebounds and 4.9 assists per sport as a sophomore, however he knew he’d by no means be a one-man present with the Seminoles.
Because it turned out, he would not even begin one sport that first season. As a substitute, he would serve primarily as a backup to senior level guard Trent Forrest.
Evans loved some good particular person moments. He scored eight factors with 4 rebounds and three assists in a win over Miami. He delivered a career-high six assists within the Seminoles’ ACC championship-clinching victory towards Boston Faculty.
However for probably the most half, his major aims had been to present Forrest any relaxation that he wanted, convey vitality on protection, and study every thing he may from among the finest level guards in class historical past.
“It was nice attending to play with Trent,” Evans mentioned. “Having the ability to compete with him every single day, selecting his mind, studying from him when he speaks. He was an important chief. When he talked, folks listened.
“And coming into a brand new program, within the ACC — utterly totally different from junior school — it was nice to have the ability to choose up on little ideas he was giving me. To look at him shut up and behind the scenes at follow and issues like that. It was an important alternative to look at him and see how he grew as nicely.”
Evans did not essentially present star potential on the courtroom that first season at FSU — he averaged 3.2 factors whereas taking part in 11.5 minutes per sport — however he made the transition from scoring guard to facilitator with relative ease.
And Florida State’s coaches and gamers knew he may accomplish that far more.
When Evans arrived in the summertime of 2019, he turned heads along with his play in pick-up video games and particular person exercises. It wasn’t till the 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard went down with a hamstring harm throughout preseason drills that he was relegated to a lesser function.
“I had by no means torn a hamstring earlier than, so I am assuming that perhaps I am out a few weeks,” Evans mentioned. “Seems I’ve obtained to overlook a whole lot of preseason follow. So it was tough for me coming again in.”
The most important factor Evans missed was all the conditioning work that permits FSU’s gamers to compete so aggressively on protection whereas additionally taking part in a wide-open, open-floor fashion on offense. After offering Forrest with a pair minutes of relaxation, Evans would usually discover himself asking to return out for a breather as nicely.
However because the Seminoles’ ultra-successful 2019-20 season wore on, Evans started to really feel like his previous self once more — even when he not was within the featured roles he loved in highschool or junior school.
“Coming into this program, I understood that I wasn’t going to be, ‘The man,'” Evans mentioned. “We’ve a number of guys who had been, ‘The man,’ on their groups in highschool. So my mindset was simply to play my function, do what the coaches need me to do, do what my gamers want me to do, and simply settle for that.”
Evans’ function has definitely developed shortly in 2021.
With five-star freshman Scottie Barnes coming into this system and FSU’s coaches excited concerning the impression the 6-Eight level guard may have at each ends of the ground, Evans once more was requested to return off the bench firstly of this season.
There isn’t a disgrace in that in Leonard Hamilton’s program, after all. The Seminoles routinely play 9 or 10 males of their rotation, and “sixth males” Mfiondu Kabengele had Patrick Williams have each gone on to be first-round picks within the NBA after not beginning at FSU.
However Evans’ state of affairs could be even just a little totally different from theirs.
Not solely would he, as a senior, be backing up the freshman Barnes, however he additionally would play a pivotal half in grooming Barnes for the job. Taking every of the teachings he realized from Forrest, together with all the information he has picked up throughout his personal journey, and sharing it with the gifted newcomer.
“He represents that unselfish spirit to the utmost diploma,” mentioned Hamilton, whose Seminoles will return house to face Clemson this Saturday at Three p.m. ET (ABC). “He spends all his time speaking to Scottie, making an attempt to ensure Scottie is aware of [what to do]. He is sharing all of his expertise.
“Most guys could be competing towards one another. That is not what he is about. … This man’s distinctive, man. I really like him.”
Evans downplays his place as Barnes’ mentor. He says they’ve realized loads from one another this season, they usually do not even contemplate themselves the workforce’s solely level guards. They’re simply as assured in juniors Anthony Well mannered and RaiQuan Grey taking up that duty, and senior M.J. Walker can fill in as nicely.
“We’ve an important relationship,” Evans mentioned of his rapport with Barnes. “He stays in my ear throughout video games, and I keep in his ear. If I see one thing that he ought to make an adjustment to, I am going to inform him on the facet. If he is out of the sport and sees one thing I ought to do, he tells me. We’ve that kind of respectful relationship.
“And on the finish of the day, we’re each making an attempt to win. … I feel we complement one another very well.”
That has been particularly evident over the previous couple of video games.
When FSU returned to motion following a two-week break resulting from coronavirus protocols, Evans acquired his first begin final week towards visiting N.C. State. Barnes had missed some follow time resulting from a strained leg muscle, so the coaches gave Evans the beginning and had Barnes heat up through the early minutes on an train bike.
The outcomes had been astounding.
Barnes did not see any drop in his manufacturing — he’s averaging 11.zero factors on the season and he had 11 in that sport — however Evans was phenomenal. He scored a career-high 24 factors on 9-of-11 taking pictures and grabbed six rebounds in a 105-73 rout of the Wolfpack.
“I simply needed to set a presence early that if I may draw some consideration towards me, then that is going to open up the ground for my guys, and I am going to be capable to facilitate extra,” Evans mentioned. “I feel that form of helped our workforce loads.”
The one destructive to return from that N.C. State sport was that Barnes twisted his ankle within the second half and would miss the next sport towards North Carolina. However the Seminoles, with Evans within the beginning lineup, have saved on rolling.
They knocked off the Tar Heels at house, 82-75, after which cruised previous Louisville on the street, 78-65. Evans scored 10 factors with 4 assists towards UNC after which added 11 factors towards the Cardinals. (Barnes had 10 factors and 6 rebounds in his return.)
Evans is now averaging 8.1 factors per sport, taking pictures 47.2 p.c from the sphere, tied with Well mannered for the workforce’s greatest 3-point taking pictures proportion (53.3), and has hit 15 of 16 free throws.
Whereas he will not be regarded to for scoring the best way he was in junior school — Evans poured in 32 factors in North Idaho’s convention championship sport as a sophomore — he’s seeking to present extra offensive punch whereas additionally organising his teammates.
It is one thing his coaches have been encouraging him to do all alongside.
“They keep in my ear generally to be extra assured,” Evans mentioned. “Like I mentioned, I am making an attempt to be extra of a facilitator, and generally I cross up a whole lot of photographs as a result of I am pondering, ‘If I make this drive, I could make a play for the subsequent participant.’ So I form of shifted from making an attempt to attain to making an attempt to be a facilitator, as an alternative of being in between and making use of each.”
Echoing the phrases of his head coach, Evans says the Seminoles are nonetheless working to convey out the perfect in one another. Older gamers are adapting to being main males, and newcomers are nonetheless getting acclimated to life within the ACC.
Evans is someplace within the center. He has earned his first three begins as a Seminole and his offensive manufacturing is growing, but he’s intensely centered on serving to Barnes and different teammates develop into the perfect variations of themselves.
“We’ve a whole lot of nice shooters, a whole lot of nice attackers,” Evans mentioned. “So for me, to have the ability to discover these gamers who can shoot and discover these gamers who can assault … I feel it is good for me to develop as a participant.”
Stated Hamilton: “This child’s obtained one thing distinctive about him. And I nonetheless suppose his greatest basketball is forward of him. However the man is sweet. He is a singular man.”