FAIRBORN — Grant Evans grew up with a basketball hoop in a barn in his backyard. That line from the movie “Hoosiers” — “I thought everybody in Indiana played basketball” — applies to him.
The 6-foot-3 junior guard from Wapahani High School, just east of Muncie, was impressive enough as an incoming high school freshman to receive a scholarship offer from Wright State before he had ever played a game in high school. On Friday, Wright State’s hard work pursuing Evans paid off as he verbally committed to the Raiders.
“It’s only an hour and 15 minutes from home,” Evans said. “That was a big factor weighing in my decision. I felt comfortable there with basketball and academics. They wanted to make sure I knew I was wanted there. They were after me the longest and hardest.”
Evans also had offers from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Gardner-Webb, but Wright State was the first school to offer a scholarship. A number of other schools had shown interest but had not offered scholarships: Indiana, Butler, Ball State, Michigan State, Indiana State and Purdue.
Evans has been on the WSU campus many times, beginning in seventh grade, because Raiders assistant coach Scott Woods and Wapahani head coach Matt Luce are friends. Both are Wapahani graduates.
“Wright State is not only getting a great basketball player, but a great student, a great kid, a great family member,” Luce said. “He’s just an outstanding class act.”
Evans’ strength is his outside shooting. He averaged 19.2 points and shot 35.1 percent (52-of-148) from the 3-point line as a sophomore.
“I’m a shooter, and I’m becoming an overall scorer,” Evans said. “My ballhandling is getting better. I’m becoming a good leader.”
Another offer: Grant Benzinger, a Cincinnati Moeller junior who is the son of former Cincinnati Reds first baseman and Dayton Dragons manager Todd Benzinger, was offered a scholarship last weekend, according to multiple reports. Benzinger is a 6-2 guard.