Sean Evans (203-PF-88, college: St.John’s) is a 33 year old 203cm forward from Philadelphia playing his 11th professional season and second with SC Prometey Kamianske (Ukraine-Superleague). He began his basketball career at Northeast high school and then played at St Johns (NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 128 games. He began his professional career in 2011 that has taken him to countries like Germany, Korea, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Argentina, and Macedonia. He currently has played 323 professional games. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.
Welcome back to Germany. You played in Germany in your rookie season in 2011-2012. Is this your first time back?
That’s a good question. I have been playing so long. Yes I think it is.
You were in the Greece when Covid hit the world. What were the biggest challenges that you endured in the last 2 years concerning COVID?
I think the biggest challenge was not being able to play in front of fans. Doing the Covid tests every few days and making sure the vaccine is up to date was also challenging.
With everything you have seen with COVID off the court how do you believe has that made you stronger as a man?
With Covid, I became stronger as a man having to be yourself and just opening my eyes to appreciate time with family and friends. I spent more time with them.
Your playing with your 15th organization. Do you sometimes feel like you’re a basketball globetrotter? If someone had told you in 2011 in Duesseldorf that you would go the path that you have gone what would you have thought?
I think that most Americans that come overseas experience that globetrotter life. Being with the same team for a few years is very rare. I have only done it twice in Greece and the Ukraine. In 2011, I really couldn’t have expected such a long career. I had no idea what the future had in store for me. I couldn’t put a finger on it.
Your playing your second season with SC Prometey Kamianske (Ukraine-Superleague) and bang have won 2 of your 3 titles as a pro. At age 33 is this a club where you might want to end your career with?
Yes this could be one of those teams. They take good care of me. This is one of the top organizations that I have been with. I have nothing to complain about.
Do you feel like rebounding has pretty much been your bread maker? You were rebounding champion in Greece, Turkey and South Korea.
Yes rebounding has always been one of my biggest strength. Another one is the versatility of being able to defend many positions. I have been the top rebounder of leagues most of my career. I believe that I also have the double double record in the Greek league.
Does it bother you that you never reached the Euroleague or Eurocup? There are guys in those leagues that aren’t better than you.
It always has to do with the right timing and the connections that you have. Of course from top to bottom I’m better than some of the guys playing in those leagues. But it is what it is. Honestly I have been happy with how my career has gone.
What is so special about this club. It seems like they came out of nowhere and have taken the reins from the top teams.
The most special thing about this organization is that it is run great. They invest a lot of money in it having success. It has great players, great coaches and a president that loves the game and invests so much in it. We just try to give back and play hard and make the fans happy.
How vital has head coach Ronen Ginzburg been? He is a legend in the Czech Republic having won 17 titles with Nymburk. He needed no time transporting that winning culture to Prometey.
Coach is my guy. A lot of people joke about our relationship. It is difficult to explain except that we just click. We really like each other out of basketball. I have only had a few other coaches in my career where I had a great relationship with them. I really respect him. Our team is full with veterans that help him be successful, because they know what to do. It is like a great marriage.
How special is it being reunited again with St Johns (NCAA) teammate DJ Kennedy? Now you guys must be like special brothers.
We are special brothers. We almost grew up together. We came in the same class to ST Johns. We battled together in the Big East. I remember my coach with Prometey asking me if they should add him and I said it was a no brainer. He brings experience and winning that helps us get to the next level.
You played at Ifestos Limnou (Greece-A1) from 2018-2020 and was top and third best rebounder in the Greek first division. Was this time where you played your best basketball as a professional?
I wouldn’t disagree with it. My coach in Greece clicked with me. He just let me play my game. He never held me back. We had 2 good years there.
In those 2 years you always played well against top Euroleague team Panathinaikos, but didn’t win. When you played well against ex NBA players and others how did that give you a type of special satisfaction?
I’m in a place in my career now where I know what I can do on the court. Playing well against a Euroleague team now doesn’t give me the extra satisfaction. Earlier in my career it would have. I have played well against Euroleague teams my whole career.
In the 2017-2018 season you bounced around with ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece) averaging 12.3ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.4spg, 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 53.6%, FT: 70.0%, in Feb.’18 moved to Aerochaco Boca Juniors Capital Feder (Argentina-Liga A) averaging 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 38.6%, FT: 33.3%, in Apr.’18 signed at KK Rabotnicki AD Skopje (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga) averaging 12.4ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.8%, FT: 64.2%. Did you literally live out of a suitcase?
Yes you would have thought that. You become a journey man playing overseas. It’s always tough moving around so much during a season, but as soon as you acclimated to your surroundings, it’s like riding a bike and then you just roll with it. I have become used to it.
What was it like playing for the famous club Boca Juniors in Argentina? Was that fan culture one of the craziest you ever saw and did you experience their soccer team?
It was crazy there. When I got there, I had no idea how big that soccer club was. It was like a movie seeing how much their fans care about them. Basketball is also a lot bigger than I thought. It was a good experience.
You finished the season in Macedonia winning your first professional title. How crazy were those last 2 games against MZT Skopje where you won by a combined point total of 4 points?
That was a crazy series. In the second game, I actually broke a bone in my face. I had a hole in my face and kept playing. I knew that we had to win that game, because if we lost then I wouldn’t have been able to play in the deciding game. I went with my adrenaline and helped win the game and title. We actually stopped a long run of MZT Skopje of winning the title. It was very special winning that first title with guys like Marcus Ginyard and Russell Robinson.
In the 2016-2017 season you had your first tour of duty in Greece with GS Lavrio (Greece-A1) averaging 10.1ppg, Reb-3 (6.9rpg), 1.1spg, FGP: 50.8%, FT: 45.7%. How enjoyable has your time been in Greece? How did your game grow there?
Playing in Greece helped my game a lot. I got a lot of experience playing there. It is one of the best leagues in Europe and there are never any nights off. My career really grew in Greece. Teams really respected me from top to bottom and there were many teams that offered me contracts. I really appreciate Greece and what it gave me. It is like my second home.
How enjoyable was it watching an unknown Kevin Punter develop there? He made it to the Euroleague. Do you feel his size kept him from his goals early on as a professional?
It was good to see him develop. Kevin is my guy. I always knew that he would reach the top level. He had all the tools and he put in all the work. I am a player who gets to the gym early before practice to get in some extra work whether it be stretching or getting shots up. I remember him always being there early also. He was only a rookie and knew what it took to get to where he wanted to be. I am happy for his success and we still keep in touch to this day.
In 2015-2016 you played in Turkey with Sakarya Isik Koleji (Turkey-TBL) playing 40 games averaging 15.0ppg, Reb-1 (11.2rpg), 1.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 62.6%. What has been your secret to being so consistent in so many different leagues?
I think key is knowing who you are and not trying to do too much. Being a competitor also helps. Coming out of Philadelphia, I was groomed on being a dog on the court. That has really helped me.
In the 2014-2015 season you had your only tour of duty in Israel with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) averaging 9.1ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 58.1%, FT: 45.2%, and Hapoel Holon (Israel-Winner League) averaging games: 11.2ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 56.3%, FT: 46.6%. How important was this season for your career? You saw many very talented guys in this league a little different than what you saw in Germany.
Israel was another great place that I played in. With Holon we finished great third in the league. I had some great teammates with Tony Crocker and Dominic McGuire. The fan base really stood out there. It was crazy.
You played the 2013-2014 season with Anyang KGC (Korea-KBL) averaging 13.4ppg, Reb-1 (11.9rpg), Steals-5 (1.4spg), FGP: 53.7%, FT: 42.0%. You had great games there including a 20 rebound game. What do you remember from your time there? Is it true that American players have God like status there?
Your like a movie star there. You get mobbed everywhere you go and get gifts before and after games. They are very passionate of basketball. I really appreciate that.
In 2012-2013 you had a season with the Idaho Stampede (D-League) averaging 12.3ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.7%, FT: 58.0%. What kind of an experience was it? Was it difficult making the step between keep trying for the NBA or go overseas after the good season you had?
Coming out of my rookie season in Germany and being young, of course I wanted to get to the NBA. I had try-outs and work outs and then landed with the Idaho Stampede. Overal it was a good experience. But it’s almost like a waisted season there. Your stuck there. If I had the choice to do it again, I wouldn’t have done it. Simply because there is more money overseas.
You had an incredible 34 points and 22 boards against Bakersfield. What memories do you have of that game?
Yes I remember that game. After that game, I really thought that I would get an NBA call up. That was an amazing game. Everything I shot was going in and I was grabbing every rebound. It felt like I had magnates on my hands. After the game I was saying good bye to my teammates thinking I would get to the NBA. I remember the assistant coach Scott Williams who won 3 NBA tiles with the Bulls with Jordan telling me If I was 2-3 inches more that I would be in the NBA. The D-League was what it was. It was like a war. All want to get out to the NBA or get that good contract overseas.
Did you have a feeling then that it is even harder for guys to make an impression when NBA teams only have certain guys that they are focusing on developing further for the NBA?
Yes definitely. Young guys are naeve. I was the same when I was in the D-League. The D-League is more for guys that are already in the NBA and go there to work on their game. Other times guys are just parked there, because they are about to sign a contract or sometimes are just there to fill a roster spot. The D-League can kill a career. I have seen it. Guys get stuck there and if they don’t play well there, then you can’t get out, because teams won’t sign you from overseas.
As a rookie you split time with the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf (Germany-ProA) averaging 6.2ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 61.1%, FT: 60.0%; and with BG Goettingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) averaging 9.7ppg, 6.6rpg, FGP: 51.8%, FT: 53.7%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas for the first time where you knew that you were very far away from home?
The wake up call was when I got to Dusseldorf and saw how Murat Didin ran the organization. It was a good experience for me. I was young and seeing how he operated prepared me for the future so I would know what to expect if I encountered someone like that again. I was there only a very short time. I then signed with BG Goettingen and was able to play in the BBL.
In Goettingen you were reunited with another former St John’s teammate Paris Horne. How vital was it having that family feeling? You went on to have a solid season there
That was great. We were both rookies and living in a comfort zone before getting there. Having someone familiar with me in hard times was important. It wasn’t always easy as we were thrown into the fire. We both played well individually, but not as a team.
You played at St Johns (NCAA) from 2007-2011. What were your fondest memories there?
There were so many. I remember beating so many top ten teams as well as 6-7 ranked teams. Beating Pittsburgh and Duke was also memorable. We had recruited 8 freshman and 5 made it through. We reached the tournament in 2011. We lost a hard fought game to Gonzaga. We were a lot smaller and they had a lot of bigger players. It was just one of those games where they were better.
You had an interesting career stat wise. You had a solid sophomore season, but then your numbers went down again. Talk a little about how your game was able to develop despite your numbers being up and down?
In college you need to play within the system. Playing in the Big East, there were always tough games. It was a learning process. I tried to do the best I could with the opportunities I got. I feel like my game grew a lot being able to play against top teams each night. My self-confidence grew and I took that with me into my professional career. Playing against top competition prepared me for everything after.
How vital was it having forward Justin Burrell on your side for 4 years. How do you believe did both of you profit from each other?
It was key to have Justin there. He was from New York and we played well with each other. We had different games. I was more the up and down player and Justin was more the throw it in the post player. He is still playing today and having a great career in Japan.
How did head coach Norman Roberts groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Norm was the reason for our success. He brought us all in. He groomed us and showed us what it meant to be winners and men. He put us on the map. It was very important that he let us learn on the fly as freshmen.
Who won a one on one you or Justin Burrell?
We were even.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
There were 2 guys. First Kemba Walker of UConn and second MarShon Brooks. He was the most talented guy I played against in the NCAA. He scored 56 points in college. Doing that is different.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Marcus and Markieff Morris, DJ Kennedy, DJ Stephens and Rolands Freimanis
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Shaq, Magic
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
It is a difficult comparison. Both era’s were different. But I will go with Jordan because he laid the foundation.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
Yes I saw it and they should have left it alone. It took me 4 times to get through it because it was so bad.
Thanks Sean for the chat.