Though it's finals week, Gamecock Central caught up briefly with South Carolina men's basketball assistant coach Lamont Evans for three questions.
Gamecock Central: First, you joined coach Martin's staff at K-State first as a student assistant in 2008, then graduate assistant and finally assistant coach. When did you first cross paths with Frank Martin?
Lamont Evans: Actually it was while I was playing high school basketball in Florida. He was a successful high school coach and we met there and knew about each other.
I had great respect for him then, and we kept in touch off and on when I went to junior college then playing for Drake and then professionally around the world.
When I finished my professional career, I was working in AAU basketball and he brought me in. I've been with him ever since.
GC: How is Martin different now from then?
Evans: He's softer, if you can believe that! He's not as intense. People think he's intense and angry and all that now, but wow, he was something back then. Now, he's intense on the court and in practice, but he's also a lot more relaxed away from basketball.
The thing to know about all that to begin with is he's passionate. He's a teacher. He wants you to learn because he knows he can make you better.
People forget that when he was coaching high school in Miami and winning state championships, he was also a math teacher, and a terrific one. It's what he does and it's what he believes in.
GC: You're known as an excellent recruiter. When you go evaluate a player, do you bring your own criteria to that evaluation or are you also looking for what you know Frank wants in a player?
Evans: Definitely both. I have things I like to see, but as a staff, we know what kind of things Frank wants. We know what he demands. You can look at the measurables, the stats, and all those are fine. But how badly does a kid want to win? Is he bought-in to the program he's in? How hard does he work? Does he want to do it badly enough to do anything to get better? Does he live and breathe basketball?
On our board, Frank will put up a heart by players. Guys he knows who have the same heart and passion and commitment he does. That's who we go after hard, because we know, and Frank knows, those are the guys you win with.
You're not going to out-talent everybody on your schedule. We played Kansas every year at K-State. You win because your guys want it more, believe in the program and team more and compete harder for longer.
That's what makes being here in Columbia so exciting. I can now travel up and down the East Coast, into Atlanta and Florida and D.C., and recruit that message. Plus, Frank is a national brand. I was in Los Angeles and people were talking to me about Frank Martin this and that and him being at South Carolina.
That's Los Angeles, California, and people know about him. That's a great message, and we can't wait to start seeing the results of the hard work everyone is putting in. It's a process, but it shure is a fun one.