Kevin Evans could have quit playing sports a long time ago.
The Groves High School graduate has been injured the past few years and his production on the basketball court is not what is used to be.
“I have been battling a few injuries since being in college. I have been dealing with a sports hernia and hip injury for the last year that has kept me out a good bit of games my senior year and junior year. I have been getting treatment and battling through for a while,” Kevin said back in February.
In his younger days, Kevin was a good athlete as well as a well-rounded young man.
While in high school, he was a Ron Love Scholarship candidate, a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, junior class president and team captain of the Groves basketball and cross country teams. He was also active in his church, serving as a peer teacher at St. Paul CME Church. He also volunteered to work with the homeless.
As a junior at Groves, his basketball stats were not impressive. He played in 27 games but only averaged 2.7 points and 1.0 rebound. But, as a senior, he more than doubled his stats and finished the season averaging 11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Despite his improved play, the scholarship offers did not come like he had hoped.
“After high school, I had a few Division II and a couple Division I schools looking at me, but I was never offered a scholarship, so I had to take advantage of an opportunity. A junior college gave me the opportunity to get better academically before going on a bigger campus while developing on the basketball court. Coach (Cory) Baldwin took pride in academics and developing players more so than winning basketball games, and that was something that drew me closer to attending South Georgia State.”
While at South Georgia (formally known as Waycross College), Kevin was asked to play more defense.
“My role at South Georgia was different. I was a defensive and hustle player with Coach Baldwin. Though I could score, I knew that for us to be successful I had to accept my role and help my team on the defensive end.”
After leaving South Georgia College, Kevin found a home in Columbia, South Carolina at Columbia International University.
“At CIU, the coaching staff kind of let me play my game within the offense. They knew I could score so they let me make plays with the ball on the offensive end. They put the ball in my hands and let me have a little freedom,” he says.
CIU is a faith based school and Kevin admits that it was hard to get adjusted to in the beginning.
“It was a different adjustment for me coming to CIU. It was a great opportunity to not only play basketball, but to be able to grow closer to God with my peers. At first, it was kind of difficult because I was not accustomed to many of the rules, such as having to go to chapel every day, but over the months I have grown to really be thankful and blessed to be at a university like CIU.”
He already has his future plans laid out.
“I plan on going in to the military as an officer, getting my master’s degree in psychology and open my own practice, or become a high school counselor and basketball coach. I also plan to maybe go to mortuary school and work in the funeral business with my father, if things don’t go as planned with the military.”
During the 2014- 15 campaign, according to the Rams athletic website, Kevin started three of the 11 games he played in and averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Because of injuries, Kevin was only able to play in eight games this season, accumulating 21 points, 16 rebounds and three steals while making 7 of 13 free throw attempts.
CIU head basketball coach Marshall Tague is happy to be a part of Kevin’s life.
“My relationship with Kevin has been unique. Due to his injury I have not really had the opportunity to “coach” Kevin on the floor. Our relationship has been centered around mostly off the court situations and circumstances. That being said, in my short time here at CIU and in my short time being Kevin’s coach, I have seen and experienced a tremendous amount of growth in his life. Kevin has learned to control only the things he can control and be secure in the one true thing that will never change or fail him, Jesus Christ. Basketball and life don’t always go the way we want or dream of it going, Kevin has experienced this first hand, dealt with the difficulties that have come up, embraced these situations and tried his best to give them to God and continue to have a positive impact on our team and school.”
Earlier this year, Kevin was sadden to learn to the death of longtime friend Jibri Bryan.
“I have been knowing Jibri my whole life, since I was about five. We grew up calling each other cousins, but he was more like a big brother to me. He always gave me advice through the years and we always talked about future plans. Losing him was tough because he was a humble guy, always smiled and was always looking out for people. He was a one-ofa kind dude. It hurt me but it made me realize that life is precious and it can’t be taken for granted because we never know what God has in store for us. Jibri always stressed to me life after basketball; he always told me to have a plan for if basketball did not work, so I can say he has motivated me to push forward to be successful even when tough times come, He will be missed and I think about him every day. I know he would want me to keep working hard to get my degree.”
Kevin is the son of son of Ralphael and Yashica Chiles. Both of his parents attended Groves. He states that his father, who now works at Gregory B. Levett Funeral Home in Atlanta, played football and basketball for the Rebels. He added that while his mother was not an athlete, she does know a lot about sports.