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ASU’s Kodi Justice, Shannon Evans hope to extend basketball careers, work out for Suns

Phoenix Suns host pre-draft workouts Tuesday morning.(Photo by Jade Hanson / Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Former Arizona State guards Kodi Justice and Shannon Evans II are still wearing basketball jerseys but instead of maroon and gold, they’re black and gray.

The two showcased the relationship they’ve developed over the last few years at ASU while they practiced with the Phoenix Suns for their pre-draft workouts on Tuesday morning.

Evans and Justice were sharing laughs on the court, and there was no question they were both taught by ASU coach Bobby Hurley as the two were nearly in sync during workouts.

Though the parallels are evident, they’re keen on setting themselves apart.

“I’m a competitor. I want to keep proving people wrong that I can play at the highest level. I want to play until I can’t,” Justice said about what he’d bring to the Suns organization.

He joined the Sun Devils’ 1,000-point club and ended his collegiate career averaging 13 points per game.

Evans was surrounded by plenty of guards during his time at Arizona State, which didn’t allow him to touch the ball as much as desire. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

“I just want to show the teams that I’m a true point guard and I can run the team,” Evans said.

He finished out his collegiate career as one of the best two-year players in Sun Devil basketball history, joining a list that includes James Harden and Jahii Carson, and is the top free throw shooter in ASU history.

The two are familiar faces for Phoenix sports fans and are intrigued by the idea of staying in the Valley to continue their basketball careers.

“It would mean the world. (To) be able to stay here, be a hometown kid and play for your hometown team, it’d be the greatest opportunity ever…. It (would) be a dream come true,” Justice said.

He attended Dobson High School in Mesa and committed to ASU so he could play in front of his family and friends.

Evans, a native of Virginia, was welcomed to the Phoenix area when he transferred to Arizona State from the University of Buffalo.

“It’d be great to be back in the area and have familiar faces,” he said. “I feel like it would be a great opportunity.”

The two acknowledged that they aren’t included in any mock drafts and reflected on what that could mean for their careers, whether they could potentially land in the NBA, the NBA’s developmental league, or in leagues overseas.

“I want to keep playing as long as I can. I love this game,” said Justice, who added he’ll do whatever it takes.

Evans agreed but hinted at where he’d like to end up after retiring from the sport.

“When I’m done (playing basketball), hopefully, coach Hurley has a job for me,” Evans said, smiling.

He said that he loves studying player development, crediting Hurley for his interest.

Hurley isn’t known for controlling his emotions on the sidelines but Evans said he’d be able to do a better job, laughing that his former head coach is “a nutcase.”

After Tuesday’s workout, Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said that it’s no surprise that players from ASU have skills that translate well to the NBA game.

“We’ve obviously seen those guys play a whole lot over the course of their careers and, as much as we can, we like to try to work out guys from the local schools,” McDonough said.

This is the first NBA pre-draft workout for Justice. Evans worked out with the Los Angeles Clippers last Thursday.


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