Jacob Evans was a 36-game starter as a junior for the 2017-18 Cincinnati Bearcats, one of the best teams in college basketball. Cincinnati finished with a 31-5 record and was knocked out of the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 73-75 loss to Nevada. The guard-forward combo performed admirably in the elimination game, scoring 19 points and adding 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Coming in as an elite defender and good 3-point shooter at the collegiate level, Evans ranks anywhere from 20 to 39 in various prospect rankings around the web.
- Per game: 30.8 minutes, 13 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 1 block.
- Per 40 minutes: 16.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.3 blocks.
- Advanced: 122.5 ORtg, 88.4 DRtg, 20.5 PER, 54.3 TS%, 5.9 win shares, 10.6 Box Plus Minus.
- Age: 20
- Height: 6’6”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Wingspan: 6’9”
Measurements per nbadraft.net
The first thing that jumps out about Evans’ game is his defense. His 88.3 defensive rating in 2017-18 ranked 7th on the Bearcats, but 3rd among starters and is more impressive considering he led the team in minutes played. His defensive contributions were key in making the Bearcats one of the top defenses in the country, holding opponents to just 57.5 points per game, 2nd in the nation. His size and length should allow his defense to translate to multiple positions at the next level.
Evans’ shot has potential. After starting his college career shooting 33% from 3-point range in 2015-16, his shot became more consistent in his sophomore year, when he had 165 attempts from beyond the arc and hit 42%. Last season, he regressed slightly, shooting 37% on 162 attempts. While his shot looks a little flat sometimes, he at the very least has real catch-and-shoot potential at the next level.
Evans is not a great athlete. He struggles to create his own shot and is not a great playmaker as a ball handler. The big question is whether he can provide anything offensively other than a catch-and-shoot option.
Evans has also never been a great rebounder for his size, which speaks once again to a lack of athleticism. Through 3 full NCAA seasons, his 2017-18 rebounding of 4.7 per game was his high mark. As a 3&D wing at the next level, his value on the court would increase exponentially if he could figure out a way to pull down more boards.
Utah Jazz Fit?
On the surface, Evans is exactly what the Jazz need and what Quin Snyder looks for in his players. He plays smart team defense and is an above average shooter from behind the arc. In today’s NBA you can never have too many versatile defensive wings who can hit shots. Considering that, I would say the likelihood of the Jazz drafting him (should they stay put at pick 21) is decent if they are looking for immediate impact over athletic upside.