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Archive for Friday, May 19, 2006

K-State to take player if he’s cleared

Virginia guard Evans indicted on charges of statutory rape, indecent assault and battery on a child

May 19, 2006

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As a senior at George Wythe High in Richmond, Va., Tyree Evans scored 884 points, a season total exceeded in the state by only Allen Iverson and Moses Malone.

He scorched Wythe's rival, L.C. Bird, for 51 points. He ripped off 34 second-half points in a state tournament semifinal loss, prompting several college coaches in attendance to shake their heads. If all goes as Evans plans and he ends up playing for Bob Huggins at Kansas State next season, imagine the reaction then.

Evans, a 6-foot-3 guard, was indicted in September 2005 on charges of statutory rape and indecent assault and battery on a child stemming from an October 2004 incident while he was a postgraduate student at the Winchendon (Mass.) School.

Evans was one of five individuals originally charged in connection to the rape of a female classmate, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges in March. On May 8, his lawyer filed a motion in Worcester Superior Court to dismiss the case. According to the office of Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte, Evans' next court appearance is scheduled for May 30. No trial date has been set.

Evans is confident the case will be thrown out. If so, he says he'll join Huggins in Manhattan.

Evans originally planned on playing for Huggins at Cincinnati. But his grades were insufficient after graduating from Wythe in 2004, and he enrolled at Winchendon. Cincinnati wouldn't admit him in 2005 while charges were pending.

In the past year, while neither was involved in organized basketball, Evans said Huggins remained in contact.

"He's like a second dad to me," Evans said Monday. "He's been loyal to me, and I've been loyal to him. His word is his bond. ... I'm interested. I'll be there in the fall."

The charges, if he's innocent, wouldn't be an issue for K-State, said Jim Epps, senior associate athletic director.

"Whatever he was charged with, if he was found innocent, I don't think we'd say, 'He was charged with a crime but found not guilty, so we're not going to recruit him,'" Epps said. "From our perspective, if he's exonerated, our message to coach Huggins is to go ahead and recruit the kid."

But there is the issue of perception, whether this will be interpreted as another controversial move by a controversial coach.

As in, there Huggins goes again.

"If we were afraid of public criticism, we wouldn't have hired Bob Huggins," K-State athletic director Tim Weiser said. "I don't think we'd back away from giving a young man or woman a chance if we knew whatever they were involved with before wouldn't be an issue under our care at K-State."

Frank McMillan, Evans' former coach at Wythe, thinks Evans is as good as former Duke star J.J. Redick, who played his high school ball nearby.

"He's probably the best I've ever coached," McMillan said. "With the proper coaching, he'll be as good as anyone."

Mike Byrnes, his coach at Winchendon, believes Evans will make a lot of money in the pros.

"He does not back down from a soul," Byrnes said. "If he goes to K-State, he'll be on the Big 12 All-Rookie Team."

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