The Arizona Wildcats are the clubhouse leader to land one of the top men’s basketball prospects of the 2023 class, and that’s before he’s even officially visited campus.
Recruiting analysts from 247Sports and On3 like Arizona’s chances to land 6-foot-10 forward Kwame (KJ) Evans Jr., a consensus top-10 player in his class. Evans is from Baltimore, Maryland and plays for prep powerhouse Montverde Academy.
Evans is expected to take an official visit to Arizona this week, according to On3. Evans has previously officially visited Kentucky and Oregon. He also plans to officially visit Auburn and Indiana.
“I have a genuine relationship with Tommy Lloyd; that stands out for me,” Evans told On3. “I also want to get out to Arizona and see what it’s all about. They want me to come in and play like a skilled big, a mismatch four. They want me to shoot the ball more and handle the ball.”
While there’s some big names involved in his recruitment, Arizona seems to have the inside track. In the last week, 247Sports’ Jeff Ermann, Rivals’ Travis Graf and On3’s Jamie Shaw have put in predictions that Evans will attend Arizona.
Furthermore, On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine (RPM) gives Arizona a 90.6% chance of landing Evans.
On3 calls RPM the “industry’s first algorithm and machine and machine learning-based product to predict where athletes will attend college. It factors machine learning, expert predictions, social sentiment, visits, and historical trends. However, expert predictions are still a big piece of the RPM equation.”
It’s hard to believe an algorithm can accurately predict the behavior of teenage basketball stars, but in this case let’s hope it’s right.
Landing Evans would be the biggest recruiting coup in Lloyd’s brief tenure as the head coach at Arizona. Evans is ranked No. 4 in 247Sports’ Composite Rankings. ESPN is even more bullish on Evans, ranking him No. 2 in the class.
Here’s On3’s scouting report of Evans:
“It’s the length with Evans, his arms seemingly go forever and he continues to grow. There is so much there with his game, it is understandable how he can still be putting it all together. Evans has ball skills to re-initiate offense or grab and go off the rebounds. He has excellent vision, as teams are able to play through him from a stationary position in the half-court. Evans is a reliable spot shooter when his feet are set. While he is athletic, there is not a lot of pop in his game, but his enormous wing-span makes up for a lot of that. He is great in the passing lanes and has excellent timing as a shot-blocker. He will need to continue adding strength, but that will come as he is still young. The upside is huge and the light is coming on.”
Arizona 2023 class is already ranked No. 3 in the nation per 247Sports with commitments from top-30 players Kylan Boswell and KJ Lewis. A commitment from Evans would all but secure Arizona one of the nation’s very best classes.
Between Lloyd’s knack for landing international talent and his staff’s ability to compete for some of the top U.S. prospects, it’s evident that Arizona’s recruiting prowess is approaching what it was under the best Sean Miller years.
In the meantime, here’s some tape of Evans.