One of the top high school players in the state of North Carolina, Isaiah Evans of North Mecklenburg High School (NC) and The Skill Factory (GA) is making a name for himself on the national scene. A five-star 2024 recruit, Evans dropped a remarkable 62 points in a playoff win during the NCHSAA Championships, which was the fourth-highest scoring outburst in North Carolina public school history. In recent weeks, the 6’7” forward captured the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s District 9 Player of the Year and 1st Team All-District awards, won Mr. North Carolina Basketball honors, and added Duke and Alabama offers to his long list of suitors. This past season, Evans averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. An elite scorer who possesses two-way versatility and long term upside, he will undoubtedly be closely tracked throughout the upcoming Nike EYBL season.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Evans talked about his experience with TSF and his short-term goal of taking a certain amount of charges and locking down on defense, his interest and expertise in welding, his dream NIL deals, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Isaiah Evans, from Huntersville, North Carolina:
Pro Insight: First off, how did you get to where you are today?
Isaiah Evans: Really just working hard. That's the only thing I can really say about it. Just keeping my head down. Worrying about myself. Worrying about my own progression — not really worrying about what my peers are doing or their goals or their successes — just worrying about mine.
PI: When did you start playing basketball?
IE: I was playing basketball since like second grade, but I didn't really start thinking about it seriously until like sixth grade.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
IE: Yeah, I did football and soccer.
PI: When did you stop playing football and soccer?
IE: Yeah, around that sixth grade year. I stopped playing soccer very young though like 10 [years old], but I stopped playing football around sixth grade.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
IE: Yeah, on my mom's side, we played a lot of sports like football and baseball.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and playstyle?
IE: I feel like me being able to stretch the floor is my greatest attribute. I feel like my playstyle is just playing what the defense is giving you, I'll say that. Just not really having a set thing on what I want to do. When I come out, I scan the floor, I see what the defense gives me, and then I just react off that. I feel like my length on defense is a great attribute, too, because a lot of dudes my length can't really guard smaller guys and guard big guys at the same time. So I think that's what I can bring to a team.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
IE: I don't really study nobody, for real. I'll just be watching myself, watching what I need to get better at.
PI: What would you say is the most underrated aspect of your game?
IE: I feel like a lot of people don't know that I'm a good passer or that my court vision is as good as the other guards around me.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
IE: I'm working on getting my handles better. I want to be able to have that ball on the string.
PI: What are your current measurements?
IE: I know I'm about 6’6”, 165 pounds. I want to say that I have about a 6’9” wingspan. I can't remember the last time we did measurements — it was a long time ago.
PI: You set a school record by dropping 62 points in the fourth round of the 4A state playoffs. Talk a bit more about this past season at North Meck and your mindset as a junior.
IE: I mean, I don't take that stuff personally when people sleep on me. I mean, I do in the sense of like, you know what I'm saying, just keep motivated to work hard, but I don't really get too caught up in that stuff or I try not to. So coming into the season, we lost nine guys. We were playing with a young team. [No one] really expected us to end the season off with three losses. No one expected us to be a team that we’re gonna be. No one expected us to make it that far in the playoffs or any other tournament we played in. So I think I had a special group with me this year.
PI: What was the most memorable moment this past season?
IE: I think playing at the Arby's Classic. It was our first time being down at halftime the whole year. When we came back and won that game, it showed us and gave us a sort of identity of where our team could be.
PI: What are your short term goals for this AAU season?
IE: Short term goals, I want to say I wanna take a certain amount of charges per tournament. I feel like during the back end of this high school season, I was doing a good job of stepping over in the lane and taking the charge even though I’m having to go back down to score the ball over and over again, just giving what I can on defense. So I think that's the challenge I want to set for myself.
PI: Describe your experience with TSF, thus far.
IE: TSF, it was interesting because I didn't really know a lot of the guys coming in last year, but we gelled together because they all played hard. They all want to get up and down. They all had this sense of grit to them. So I feel like that’s the team that I could fit on easily.
PI: How do you envision your role at the next level?
IE: Honestly, I'm just preparing myself to just be able to be ready at whatever position they want me to be at. Just trying to be as well-rounded as possible so that whatever position they need me to be or whatever role they need me to fill, I'll be able to do it.
PI: What is your recruitment update? Who have you been hearing from the most, lately?
IE: You know, my coach tells me Duke hits him up a lot. NC State keeps in contact with me. Arkansas has always been in constant contact. Kansas. Me and Maryland are tight. Coach Cal called my mom. I had talked to an assistant Kentucky coach the other day.
PI: Which schools are you hoping to visit in the near future?
IE: I just wanna visit any team that has an open weekend or any day that you know they can accept me so I'll be able to go to any school that I haven’t.
PI: Which college coach would you say you’ve formed the closest relationship with and why?
IE: Yeah, I think Coach Muss is in the front when I want to talk about just staying in touch like just even coming in-person and being on the phone.
PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?
IE: No, we haven't really done too much looking into that stuff.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
IE: Just the fit, you know? How am I gonna fit on this team? Is this a system that I can play in? Would I thrive here? Does this place feel like home? You know, basically stuff like that.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
IE: I'm a really good welder. That's probably the only thing I do outside of basketball.
PI: How did you develop that interest?
IE: It was just I saw it in my auto shop teacher’s corner and I was just curious. So I was like, “can you teach me how to weld?” and he was like “sure.” And then once I started learning how to do it, I just liked it, so I just kept with it. So I just started making little statues and stuff like that and letting my mind run free with it, making anything I could with the metal.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
IE: My top one right now is probably Lucki, I don't know if you heard. Lucki, D. Savage, Luh Tyler, Lil Baby, Gunna, Real Boston Richey. All those guys.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
IE: I’d probably weld for a career. Yeah, I would definitely do that for a career.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
IE: My mom.
PI: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
IE: I mean, I've always been if my team, like if my guys hit me up, “hey, we gotta go do this. Like you should come.” Like I’d definitely come. I can also just chill in my room for hours. You know what I'm saying? I really don't care. I'm social for sure. I can get along with anybody. I'm never really turning down and going out with my friends, but you know, with that schedule, always working out and stuff, I'm usually always trying to rest, for sure.
PI: What is something that most people have no idea about you?
IE: A lot of people think that welding stuff is pretty interesting because, you know, not a lot of people really know about that or even associate that to even being close with basketball. So that's really the only unique thing about me. Like other than that, my whole life is really just basketball.
PI: What is your dream NIL deal and why?
IE: Probably Dodge. I would like to have an NIL deal where I can just trade in any Dodge car I want. There’s also this place down here called Slim Chickens. So I'll probably have an NIL deal with them. Yeah, I definitely want to because it would make sense, you know, I'm saying. Get your Slim’s Meal at Slim Chickens. I'm definitely gonna try and get that one if I can.
PI: Assuming you’re in the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years to ten years from now?
IE: I mean, hopefully I’m on my second or third contract by then, you know what I'm saying. I definitely want to be in a place where I'm secure for the next 10 to 15 years of my life.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
IE: Hardworking. Outgoing. Coachable. Last word, I'll probably say is mature. I feel I look at things differently than kids my age.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
IE: As a player, I just want to be remembered by the passion I play with, you know what I'm saying? I'm always out there having fun, you know, expressing my personality, stuff like that. As a person, I feel like I want to be known as someone who doesn't put themselves in a box. Always open to new opportunities. Always looking for new adventures, stuff like that.