A Real Patriot
George Evans Sets a New Standard for Mason Students and Athletics
By Jeremy Lasich,
When Commencement begins at 10 a.m. on May 12, one graduate walking down the aisle will be hard to miss--six foot, seven-inch basketball player George Evans. The 30-year-old army veteran has accomplished just as much in his life off the court as he has on it, and that's a lot.
Evans recently led the Patriots to a berth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament for the second time in three years and was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, a feat accomplished only once previously, by current NBA superstar David Robinson. In addition, www.CollegeInsider.com named Evans a Mid-Major All-American and selected him for the Mid-Major All-Tournament Team. Evans also was named a finalist for the Chip Hilton Award. As only the fourth player in NCAA history to record 200 steals, blocks, and assists in a career, Evans garnered extensive media exposure from the likes of ESPN, NBC's NBA Inside Stuff, The George Michael Sports Machine, The Sporting News, and USA Today.
His accomplishments on the basketball court are reason enough for praise, but Evans's military background adds to his story. The oldest of three children, Evans went into the army after high school to help support his mother and brothers. During his eight-year stint, he did a little bit of everything, including military intelligence and telecommunications, and was stationed in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.
When Evans came to George Mason in 1997, he was just hoping to make a small contribution to the basketball team in anyway he could. Over the next four years, however, he developed into one of the most dominant players in the university's history. He ranks first of all time at George Mason in steals (218) and blocked shots (211), third in points (1,953) and rebounds (953), and 13th in assists (226).
"I definitely thought I was going to be a role player," says Evans. "I never in my life thought I would have the success I've had up to this point. Even more important than all the awards, though, is earning my teammates' respect. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have earned all of these honors."
"George has had a tremendous impact not only on our basketball program, but on the university," says Coach Jim Larranaga. "He is a wonderful role model for other students and student athletes, and I think he gives our alumni a great sense of pride in what this university stands for--excellence, academically and athletically."
With his college career now over, Evans is looking to the future. He was the top overall selection in the 16th annual U.S. Basketball League draft, being picked by the Maryland Mustangs. Evans is still eligible for the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft in June, and although many scouts believe he has the talent to succeed at that level, his age may play a factor in whether he is drafted. He was invited to participate in April in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which gives players the chance to show their talents to NBA scouts. Evans may even consider playing professional ball in Europe.
If he does not play basketball, Evans says he wants to work in a sports-related field. "My major is in video production, so I want to work behind the scenes with athletes and get a different angle," he says. "I'm looking forward to what lies ahead, and I'm appreciative of the fact that I have a degree from George Mason University."