CRONKITE SPORTS

ASU’s Bobby Hurley visits Vegas to support Shannon Evans’ ‘new journey’

Jul 7, 2018, 10:22 AM | Updated: 7:01 pm
Former Arizona State guard Shannon Evans II is hoping to find a spot on the Houston Rockets roster....
Former Arizona State guard Shannon Evans II is hoping to find a spot on the Houston Rockets roster. (Photo by Jordan Kaye/Cronkite News)
(Photo by Jordan Kaye/Cronkite News)

LAS VEGAS — The scene at Cox Pavilion Friday mimicked the boarding of an airplane: slow, confusing and frustrating. The coach watched the cross traffic flow behind the scorer’s table, looking ahead to see what the hold up was. As people started to scoot by him and head to better seats, the whispers to their friends began.

“That’s Bobby Hurley,” some said in hushed voices, like they were protecting a state secret.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, who attended the same game, came in through the back and sat courtside. Hurley, along with ASU Special Assistant to the Head Coach Ben Wood, sat in the stands with every other fan.

Why? Because while watching the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers compete in the first Las Vegas Summer League game of the year Friday, the Sun Devils head coach was a fan — a supporter.

He coached Shannon Evans II at Buffalo for two seasons. When Hurley left for Tempe, Evans joined him. Hurley calls him extended family and with Evans embarking on his first professional basketball opportunity with the Rockets, Hurley only felt it was right to be there.

“(He) did so much for Arizona State, for me personally, so I just wanted to be here to support him,” Hurley told Cronkite News. “It’s the beginning of a new journey for him, it’s like starting over again.”

Shannon Evans II played in front of former coach Bobby Hurley Friday.

Hurley’s one-day Sin City trip would have allowed for him to see a pair of his former players, but after being signed by the Philadelphia 76ers, former ASU guard Tra Holder was waived before Summer League began.

Evans said he talks to Holder and another founding father of “Guard U,” Kodi Justice, every day, adding that he’ll be in Los Angeles the rest of the summer and will be with Holder “a whole bunch.”

Evans may not make the NBA — he didn’t get in the game Friday — but right now he’s afforded the luxury of NBA coaching. Hurley’s teachings were phenomenal, Evans said, but for the limited spacing of the college game. He’s embraced the time he’s had so far with Houston’s coaches and said he’s “learning a lot.”

“Going in the film sessions with the coaches, pick and roll,” the 6-foot-1 guard said. “The way that you got to be — attack with your guys in the corners. The college principles are out the door. The NBA game is a whole different game.”

But Hurley knows that. After an illustrious career at Duke, Hurley was drafted No. 7 overall by the Sacramento Kings 25 years ago. Although in far different circumstances, the NCAA all-time assist leader passes along words of advice to his former players.

“Just to continue to focus on getting better and competing the way they competed for me at Arizona State,” Hurley said. “And Tra and Shannon and Kodi will be fine, just hoping for all of them to get good situations, good starting points for the next phase.”

The trio is still going through the post-collegiate process, weighing different opportunities such as the G-League or searching for international teams that seek their talents. Evans said he’s talking to “a whole bunch” of international teams at the moment, any of which would be lucky to have him, or Holder of Justice, Hurley said.

“I just think they’re all dynamic and they’re all creators,” he said. “Teams are going to love what they bring to the table and wherever they end up, they just have to keep leading their teams to victory like they did for us last year.”

Last year, the Devils reached new heights under Hurley. They raced out to a 12-0 record, were No. 3 in the country in December and ultimately made the NCAA Tournament. In the construction of the program Hurley and ASU strive for, the trio was arguably its greatest building blocks.

Just over two weeks ago, Justice, Evans and a plethora of other current and former players under Hurley reunited in Tempe for the Bobby Hurley Basketball Camp. It featured those who helped the program grow exponentially and those who will benefit from it.

“It was fun,” Evans said of the camp. “A lot of jumping around. A lot of playing and things like that. It was great to be around those guys, the older guys and the younger guys. It was a good time.

“He wants everybody back to be around the program. Alumni and players that are still in the program. It’s great.”

That bond between classes is something Hurley hopes never leaves his program. It builds tradition. It also preserves relationships.

Hurley’s players will come and visit him in Tempe, hoping the program reaches greater heights than they saw. On Friday, Hurley showed that he will do the same thing, hoping for the same result.

“It’s fun to get a chance to see them in the uniform,” Hurley said. “And I’m disappointed, too, because at the same time I wish he was still there.”

Cronkite Sports

In the near future, the Arizona sports fan’s experience could include the ability to place bets i...
Cronkite Sports

Sports gambling in Arizona moves closer to reality

In the near future, the Arizona sports fan’s experience could include the ability to place bets inside sports venues while the action unfolds.
9 months ago
Higley quarterback Kai Millner committed to Cal this spring, despite visiting the campus just once ...
Cronkite Sports

Arizona high school football recruits still committing amid coronavirus

Despite visiting campuses few times if at all in some cases, class of 2021 high school football prospects from Arizona are committing at record rates.
1 year ago
(Photo via Cronkite News courtesy Mesa Community College Facebook)...
Arizona Sports

COVID-19 prompts junior colleges to push for cancellation of sports

The 2020-21 school year for Maricopa County community colleges may not include sports, schools await a decision by the district chancellor.
1 year ago
New Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez believes outreach in the Arizona Hispanic market is ...
Cronkite Sports

New Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez looks to reach Latino community

New Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez is the first Latino president and CEO in NHL history and hopes to reach new fans in the Valley.
1 year ago
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who joined the Phoenix Mercury in the offseason, is ready to get the WNBA...
Cronkite Sports

Full pay, 22-game season in Florida on tap for Phoenix Mercury

Another league has agreed on a return-to-play plan in the month of July. This time it’s the WNBA, whose members include the Phoenix Mercury.
1 year ago
Phoenix Rising FC assistant coaches Peter Ramage (left) and Blair Gavin are awaiting details about ...
Cronkite Sports

Phoenix Rising players await news on resumption of USL Championship

Phoenix Rising FC and the USL Championship are set to resume play July 11 while players wait on more details for the return.
1 year ago
ASU’s Bobby Hurley visits Vegas to support Shannon Evans’ ‘new journey’