VCU’s Evans trying to think like a pro
Guard is focused on ‘taking care’ of his body every day
Coming off a second Achilles tear in less than a year, a message Marcus Evans has heard from VCU coach Mike Rhoades, and from training staff, is that he has to think like a professional now.
It’s about maintenance for the junior guard, no matter how well he’s feeling.
“Before I wasn’t too keen on taking care of my body as much,” Evans said. “Now it’s every day after practice, every day, even if I have an off day, just getting in the training room, taking care of my body.”
Evans made his VCU debut against Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night, avoiding any missed games. He suffered a tear to his right Achilles at the beginning of June, after tearing his left one in July 2017. He recovered from
the first tear while sitting out last season due to NCAA rules, following his transfer from Rice.
After Tuesday’s game, Evans said it was an unreal feeling to get to play. Just with sitting out the transfer year, Evans hadn’t played in a college game for 596 days.
Then, on top of that, the road was complicated by the injuries. This past June, Evans said he went up for a layup in a pickup game, came down and knew right away what happened.
But he was able to walk off the court afterward. The injury this time was not as bad as the previous one — a partial tear — compared to the full tear he suffered in 2017.
He had surgery three days afterward, which included a stem cell treatment to help speed up the recovery process.
About four months later, Evans was able to start doing some workouts in which he said he was moving pretty well. He returned to live action in practice about two weeks ago.
In his return, Evans said his conditioning isn’t something he’s worried about — “It comes back like that,” he said. It was more about having confidence.
“After having two Achilles tears, it’s obviously back on your mind a little bit,” Evans said. “Running, jumping, if it could happen again. So the biggest thing for me was just trusting it again, getting back to myself, the same movements I had before.”
Off the court, Evans’ regimen includes a lot of stretching. He said flexibility was one of his problems, which may have led to the injuries.
On Friday night, VCU will host Hampton in a Legends Classic Richmond Regional game. It’s a team that junior forward Issac Vann said is really aggressive, throughout its lineup.
“They all can shoot 3s,” he said. “So that’s one thing we’ve been working on, run them off the 3-point line, rotating.”
A Chesapeake native, Evans is familiar with a few of the guys on the Pirates’ roster. He said he’s known junior guard Jermaine Marrow for a while. Marrow had a game-high 22 points in Hampton’s 110-58 win over Mid-Atlantic Christian to open the season Tuesday. He was also a Big South preseason all-conference first team selection.
“It’s just something in the  water . ... He’s tough, he’s aggressive and
he’s not going to back down from nobody, we know that,” Evans said of Marrow.
Personally, Evans is still on limited minutes as he works his way in — he played 9:18 on Tuesday.
But, whether it’s about the minutes or the maintenance, the focus is the long run.
“I have all the trust in the world with our coaching staff,” Evans said. “They’ve done a great job of keeping me focused and keeping me moving along the right track.”
Marcus Evans made his VCU debut in Tuesday night’s 69-57 win against Gardner-Webb. Evans, a transfer from Rice, sat out all of last season due to NCAA rules.