Express sign NBLC veteran Nick Evans
By Justin Prince
Note: This story was originally published on NBLCentral.
The Windsor Express have made a big signing today, picking up centre and National Basketball League of Canada veteran Nick Evans.
Evans, a six-foot-11, 240-pound big man, is coming off a good season with the Island Storm and London Lightning. He averaged 10.2 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game in 35 appearances in 2015-16, according to DakStats. The four-year NBL Canada veteran also had played two games with the Lugano Tigers in the Swiss LNA this season prior to signing with the Express.
The Carbondale, Ill., native had also played 10 games for Windsor during the 2013-14 campaign before fracturing his foot. He then finished that regular season with the Island Storm.
Evans explained it was a “no-brainer, hands down” decision for him to join the Express.
“It definitely feels good to come back to the organization,” said Evans shortly after the signing was announced. “It feels good to be back in a system that I’m familiar with that I’ve dealt with before and have a good relationship with. I’m excited to get back and see some familiar faces and see some new additions not only in the office, but on the court as well.”
Evans, who played collegiately at Southern Illinois University, said while he had interest from other NBLC and overseas teams, he felt most comfortable with rejoining Express head coach Bill Jones’s system. He explained he had a lot of respect for Jones as both a person and a coach. He also said they both got along from a personal standpoint in their discussions.
“One of our weaknesses last year was our interior presence,” said Jones. “So to bring a veteran in Nick Evans’s caliber, a big guy who is tough, a good rebounder and can also score on the outside and in, we’re glad to be able to have him going into the season.”
Jones said he understood Evans did not have the opportunities to succeed in Windsor’s system on both offense and defense back in 2013-14. He plans to put Evans in those chances to have success this time around.
“Just speaking with Nick (Evans) and knowing the impact our coaching staff and our organization had on him is a compliment,” said Jones. “The one thing about myself and our coaching staff is that we played the game, so we kind of understand from a player’s perspective that we try to put them in good situations and give them a platform to succeed.”
Evans has grown has both a person and player throughout his time in NBL Canada.
Prior to starting his professional basketball career, he worked at a factory in Memphis, Tenn., for two years shortly after college. He had played basketball and got back in good shape in his spare time.
He then met a former assistant of current University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari while in the city. That assistant coach referred him to Storm head coach Joe Salerno. During his first NBLC season, he felt good playing something he loved once again, something he said he felt had been taken away from him before.
Evans has since played for teams in multiple other countries, including Romania and China thanks to the opportunities the league gave him to play again. He is now entering his fifth season in the NBLC this December.
Because of the league, Evans also met his wife Tasha in Canada and now has his first child. He now considers Canada to be his home.
“I’m very happy with how the trajectory of being able to play in Canada Year 1 to Year 5,” said Evans. “It has been nothing but a blessing for me in this league to me. I hope to make Year 5 the one I win a ring.”
The Windsor Express start their training camp Dec. 12. They will tip-off the regular season Dec. 29 on the road against the Orangeville A’s.