Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Memphis recruiting guru Keith Easterwood of WHBQ radio says he knows where Tyreke Evans will go to college.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to that has anything to do with the kid seems to think he’s coming to Memphis,” said Easterwood, a coach of the Memphis YOMCA AAU team for the past 27 years.
The 6-foot-5 Evans, a senior guard at American Christian (Pa.) and McDonald’s All-American, will announce April 16 whether he has chosen Memphis, Villanova, Texas or UConn.
Memphis will meet Kansas tonight in the national championship game in San Antonio.
Easterwood is highly regarded in Memphis hoops circles and is in touch with coaches at Memphis, Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as AAU coaches in Philly and Memphis and sneaker gurus Chris Rivers of Reebok and Sonny Vaccaro, now retired from the sneaker business.
“If this was a stock, you would almost put your money on him going to Memphis,” Easterwood said. “I think the key is (William Wesley) Worldwide Wes and his relationship with (Memphis coach John) Calipari and his relationship with Tyreke.”
Wesley, a mortgage broker in real life, has been called “The Most Powerful Man in Sports.” He has relationships with a slew of people, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Bill Clinton. He also helped bring Derrick Rose and Camden’s Dajuan Wagner to Memphis.
“He’s my friend of 20 years,” Calipari told Mark Kriegel of FoxSports.com. “This stuff on recruiting is about relationships. … That’s what recruiting is … I have a lot of relationships. That’s why I’ve been able to recruit pretty good players.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday that Evans was leaning toward Villanova after he and his brothers had a two-hour meeting with Wildcats coach Jay Wright at Wright’s home last Tuesday.
“After eating with Jay and talking to Jay, he kept it real with me,” Evans told the Inquirer. “He told me the things I wanted to hear and some things I didn’t want to hear but will make me a better player.
“He showed me the respect he has for the players and how much of a family they are,” Evans said.
Still, Easterwood says Evans will come to Memphis whether or not Rose, the Tigers star freshman poin guard, goes to the NBA as expected.
“Rose and Evans in a backcourt together could coexist very well,” Easterwood said. “(But) I’ll be shocked if (Rose) doesn’t go. Because of the money that’s there, he just about has to go. He will get guaranteed first-round money. Plus, he’s going to get a shoe deal. His money’s going to be stupid and he’s going to have to go.”
With Rose gone to the pros, Easterwood says Evans will slide right in to replace him next season.
“The same people who told me Rose and Wagner were coming to Memphis are the ones telling me Evans is coming,” Easterwood said.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.