Recruiting & Scouting

Bakari Evelyn finds a home and signs with Nebraska and Edwards of Glenn to join another forward from Michigan at Georgia

Basketball   | Scott Burnstein

State Champs! Sports Network




Former Southfield Christian all-state guard Bakari Evelyn and Westland John Glenn post prospect Mike Edwards both signed a letter of intent to a high-major, Division I school in the final days of the late signing period.

Evelyn (6-2) signed with Nebraska of the Big Ten on Tuesday and the Edwards (6-10) signed with Georgia on Monday.

Evelyn was the best player on a Christian team that won three consecutive Class D before leaving and heading down to Arizona for his senior year. He first enrolled at Gilbert Christian, near Scottsdale, where one-time Detroit Country Day coach Kurt Keener (35 years, nine state titles) is currently on the bench.

But Evelyn was ruled ineligible by the state’s governing body, the Arizona Interscholastic Association, in December and is now at a prep school in the area, Hillcrest Academy.

Some recruiting experts speculated that all of Evelyn’s shenanigans, including the fact that he missed half of his junior season at Christian due to a mysterious leave of absence (and an unconfirmed rumor of an attempted mid-season transfer), might have prevented him from signing with a Division I school earlier.

T.J. Kelley, the founder and editor of Inside Prep Sports, one of the top basketball scouting services in the Midwest, isn’t necessarily surprised.

“Bakari is a proven winner, who doesn’t want that?” Kelley said. “It’s been great to watch his growth the past four years and I think he’s going to have the opportunity to play at Nebraska right away. He knows how to score the basketball and he’s the kind of guard that can play off the ball as easily as he can run the point, that’s how you earn time.”

Evelyn scored 28 points in the 2014 Class D final and averaged 25 points in nine games of action for the non-state sanctioned Hillcrest Academy this past season.

Edwards became the fastest-rising recruit in the state of Michigan over the past two months, gathering over a half-dozen Division I scholarship offers since February. That list included ones from Auburn, Kansas State, Marquette, Nebraska and Pittsburgh. Displaying raw athleticism, an active presence on the glass and a soft touch around the rim, he averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks this season. Edwards is the second front court player from Michigan to select Georgia in as many years. He follows in the footsteps of freshman Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills) who saw significant playing time this season at Georgia.

“Mike really put it all together this year, the jump he made from his freshman season to his senior season was tremendous,” Kelley said. “Looking at him going off to college, he’s a very intriguing prospect and he’s only going to get better, stronger and more refined as a player in the future. You add that to the way Georgia develops its big men and it's a nice fit.”


Sewing their oats


Nate Oats has come far in the two years since he guided Romulus to a Class A state boys basketball championship. Earlier this week, the 40-year old Oats was named the new head coach at Buffalo, replacing former Duke All-America and NBA first-round draft pick Bobby Hurley, who left the Bulls program last week to accept the head coaching position at Arizona State.

Oats resigned from his teaching and coaching job at Romulus in 2013 in the wake of his leading the Eagles to the program’s first state crown in 27 years and joined Hurley’s staff at Buffalo as an assistant. This past season, Hurley took Buffalo to a 23-10 record and its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

“There won’t be much of a change, there’s no reason to fix what’s not broken,” said Oats of taking over for Hurley. “Hopefully, you’re going to see a lot of what you saw last year again next year. Bobby laid an outstanding foundation.”

In 11 seasons pacing the sidelines at Romulus, Oats compiled a 222-52 record and made four trips to the Class A final four. Ever since landing in the college ranks, he’s recruited his old stomping grounds hard. There were four players from Michigan on Buffalo’s 2015 roster and Milan’s Nick Perkin’s, a 6-7 forward who helped Milan to the Class B finals each of the past two seasons, signed with Buffalo in November.