5-Star PF Kwame Evans Jr. Commits to Oregon over Arizona, Auburn, Kentucky

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2022

Photo credit: Dushawn London, 247Sports

One of the top talents in 2023 is off the board after Kwame Evans Jr. committed to Oregon.

"I feel like it fits me the best and gives me the best chance to go to the NBA," he told ESPN's Paul Biancardi.

Arizona, Auburn and Kentucky were among the other finalists.

The 6'9" power forward is the No. 7 overall player and the second-best at his position in 247Sports' composite rankings.

A native of Maryland, Evans transferred to Montverde Academy in Florida ahead of the 2021-22 school year. His father, Kwame Sr., expressed a desire for him to continue his development after the COVID-19 pandemic forced Baltimore public schools to cancel the 2020-21 winter sports season, per the Baltimore Sun's Glenn Graham:

"We got to do want we can do and, unfortunately, we had to leave just because his development is most important for him right because he's so young and we just don't know where we're going next year with the pandemic. We know they're playing down there, so we had to get out of town. He'll get a lot of exposure, be in the national spotlight down there, so we're just looking forward to new beginnings and trying to get better."

Independent of the uncertain circumstances in Baltimore, heading south to Montverde made obvious sense because the prep school has become a proving ground for elite talent. Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, RJ Barrett and Ben Simmons are some of the recent alumni now in the NBA.

The transfer allowed Evans to test himself against the best, whether it was against Montervde's competition or his own teammates to earn regular playing time.

In October, 247Sports' Eric Bossi described Evans as "a skilled combo forward who can shoot with range, cover ridiculous ground on defense and he's just scratching the surface."

Bossi had also watched the versatile forward at the Peach Jam in July and came away highly impressed:

"It is one thing to see a kid Evans size who can move well laterally and run. But to see a kid as big as him picking up much smaller guards to pressure them for 94 feet is an entirely different thing. His ability to move his feet, slide and contain guys in space is extremely impressive for a big kid, of any age."

Eric Bossi @ebosshoops

So fun to see a prospect find his confidence and flip the switch from prospect to player. Kwame Evans is taking his game to an entirely new level. What he’s out here doing at near 6’10” is crazy. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PEACHJAM2021?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PEACHJAM2021</a>

Whether it's at the college or pro level, no archetype is more coveted right now than a player with size who can feasibly guard all five positions and score on all three levels. Evans isn't the mythical on-court unicorn just yet, but he's on his way there.

Plenty of eyes will be on him during the 2023-24 season because he's likely to be a top pick in the 2024 NBA draft at this pace.

Evans will join Jackson Shelstad in Eugene. Shelstad is the No. 10 point guard in the 2023 class.

Ducks head coach Dana Altman has brought a consistent level of success the program didn't experience before his arrival. Much of that is down to attracting a high level of talent to Oregon during each recruiting cycle, albeit not with the same value the traditional blue bloods do.

Looking at what's coming next season, Altman might be hopeful another run to the Elite Eight or Final Four is in store.