Tulane football may be the reason campus will be buzzing Saturday, but it won’t be the only entity benefiting.
The Green Wave basketball program is hosting Baton Rouge native Jacob Evans for an official visit on the weekend Tulane unveils the newly constructed Yulman Stadium in front of a sellout crowd.
Evans, a composite four-star recruit by 247sports.com from St. Michael the Archangel, is one of coach Ed Conroy’s top targets for the 2014-15 signing class and is the highest-rated official visitor in the school’s recent history. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard is widely rated as the second-best prospect in Louisiana.
This year’s entrance into the American Athletic Conference arms Tulane with some additional recruiting ammo, thanks to a schedule full of nationally broadcast games on ESPN’s family of networks and contests against several NCAA tournament teams, including defending champion Connecticut.
“A lot of people I talk to knock Tulane because they’re small,” Evans said. “I tell them to look at the teams they play against, and I feel like I can get a pretty good look if I go there.”
The Green Wave staff is certainly familiar with Evans, not only because of his time as a coveted recruit, but also his connection to Tulane’s newest assistant coach, Quannas White. Evans played for White as a member of the Louisiana Dynasty, the successful AAU program in Baton Rouge.
White was officially hired Aug. 22, replacing former assistant Jeff Strohm.
“I think it’s great they hired Quannas. A lot of people know about our relationship, and I really think he earned the job there,” Evans said. “Tulane has been recruiting me very hard and, if I end up going there, it won’t be just because of his influence. He has an influence, but I won’t just go there because he’s there.
“The head coach and (assistant Shammond) Williams have always been recruiting me and kept it real with me. They told me I can have a bright future if I go there, and I know the conference that they’re in is a lot of good competition.”
But those connections haven’t slowed Evans’ recruitment. Last weekend, he officially visited Auburn and its new coach, Bruce Pearl. He also has offers from LSU, Baylor, South Carolina and Houston.
Tulane offers the power of proximity. With the school located just 75 miles from home, Evans said playing near his family would be a perk but added it won’t determine where he chooses to play.
“It would mean a lot of play in front of my family and friends,” he said. “A lot of them have always been able to watch me play and grew up with me. It would be really special.”
While Evans’ official visit is the most newsworthy event of the weekend for Tulane’s basketball program, he won’t be alone.
Blake Paul, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Landy-Walker, also will be in attendance on an unofficial visit along with a pair of rising juniors: Riverside guard Herb McGhee and McDonogh 35 point guard DeJon Jarreau.