August the 6th, 2019
My very dear Evan:
I haven’t been told about it, but it can happen any day. I’m just another writer out there, after all, so I could be replaced in a finger snap time. You never know when bad times can hit, so it’s better to have one’s back covered at every single moment, I guess. And that’s why I’m hurrying to write this letter and send it your way. Just in case.
News reached my basement that you finally declared your love for someone. Someone, in particular, that has always been in your surroundings and that has also saw some of your relatives commit to it before.
It can be hard at times, can’t it?
I have heard the noise, the voices of the critics. The naysayers and the haters, as they call them nowadays, bashing your decision because it was totally related to family matters above all.
Can we blame you, though? Family comes first, it goes without saying.
And if the only reason you gave your heart to USC is because of your family links and those related to you who are already there, I’d actually be glad you all were born in California instead of North Carolina or Kentucky. You know where I’m going with this, right?
A few months ago I studied something that I didn’t really like. I didn’t like it, and I still hate it, and I only hope it changes. Duke and Kentucky are two bullies in a classroom of underclassmen when it comes to snatching prospects. Picture it. It checks. And you know you’d acknowledge my thinking. It is just right.
But you Evan, you broke the mold. You broke the rules from the very first moment and focused only on what was closer to you. You never wanted to leave the warmth of your home state. USC, UCLA, Stanford, and San Diego were the names. Lovely bunch that one.
And I must admit, you really took a leap of faith by becoming a future-Trojan. I mean, let’s be honest here. Can you mention who was the last No. 1 prospect to commit to USC? You can’t, because you hadn’t even been born, Evan. Don’t worry about it. I understand.
Perhaps some names came to your head, though. Who can forget about the days of OJ Mayo, DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson or Nick Young? You could barely catch them on your parents television. You weren’t even 10 years old by then, so you’re forgiven. By the time you flipped the page and entered the double-digit age, and from that moment to the present day, you have found yourself in quite a complicated situation. It makes me sad. It made you sadder.
But who are you to blame? You’re part of the solution, not cause of the problem.
Not to throw shade toward your brother, don’t get me wrong, but not even him and all his potential were enough to crack the Top 15 of this year’s class of incoming freshmen. He was only the 19th-best prospect in the nation! But getting that, for USC, was a coup indeed.
If the commitment of your brother and the hiring of your father were the two things needed to seal your decision, then I can’t complain. I loved you in high school and I will keep on loving you this next year during your senior Temecula-based season. How could I not?
Don’t blush when you read this, Evan, but just let me remind you that you just finished the year averaging almost 20 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks. Can you think of a prettier ratio than a 20/10/5? It’s a match of numbers made in heaven.
And also don’t think I love you just because some stuffed sheets of paper. You are already part of USA Basketball’s gold galore. You bang with anybody crazy enough to put himself between you and the rim. You have swatted more shots than Mike Trout has hit baseballs. Speaking of California-loved athletes...
I don’t want you to think I’m in love with others, but your brother made it clear and my thoughts align with his when he said you are like a certain Kevin Durant, a certain Greek named Giannis. Maybe I’m biased, over-committed. Call it what you want. I don’t care that much.
To have a No. 1 staying in California is good. To have one going to a program in USC that has not seen a nation’s best prospect sign with the Trojans since TV broadcast turned from black and white to color is better. And you’re that one, my man.
Screw the Triple-B and all the paraphernalia around it. I love you for what you are. Highly touted, yes, but always level-headed, grounded, and humble.
I can’t think of many more words.
I just wanted to let you know that I’ll back your decision from this day to eternity. You broke a trend. You flipped red to blue. No more Devils. No more Wildcats. It is all about Trojans now. And it is all thanks to you.
Thanks for taking the step. Thanks for making this real. Thanks for improving college basketball recruiting.