Chris Eversley is so excited about coming to Cal Poly, he has been using two calendars — one virtual and one tangible — to keep track of the remaining days before he joins the men’s basketball team.
The count on paper and on the computer is down to 22.
“I’ve always wanted to come to school in California,” the sophomore transfer from Rice said Friday. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Eversley, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound sophomore forward from Chicago, said he gave a verbal commitment to Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero in June, but it did not become official until he was accepted by the school this week.
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Though Eversley will have to sit out a season under NCAA Division I transfer guidelines, he is the second late recruit Callero has announced. The other, 6-7 Australian freshman Ben Kelly, was introduced last week.
Callero said Kelly could be forced into immediate action because of an ankle injury to sophomore guard Kyle Odister that could keep him out of action anywhere from eight to 12 weeks.
The injury is severe enough that it may lead to a redshirt season for Odister, a Big West Conference all-freshman honoree last season.
If Odister does redshirt, he will join Eversley — who Callero thinks can be an all-around game-changing scorer — on the sideline this year.
“Chris fits that bill absolutely perfectly,” Callero said. “You look at Ben Kelly as a really wiry 3-man, who’s going to give you the wiry scoring attack, but Chris can give us that strength scoring and that aggressive scoring with the skill to pop a 3, drive, create contact and post up. He looks a lot more like what we play against in the conference.”
In 16 appearances, including one start, Eversley averaged 1.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in 4.9 minutes per game for the Owls (8-23, 1-15 Conference USA). He was 3 for 12 from 3-point range.
Eversley scored more than 70 percent of his points in Rice’s final four regular season games, including a career-high 10 against C-USA champion UTEP. He said his playing time wasn’t the reason for the transfer.
“It was just a variety of things,” Eversley said. “I wanted something new.”
But it was hard, he said, adjusting to a new level.
“Coming out of high school, I was one of the better players, and I thought, ‘Yeah, I’m going to dominate blah, blah, blah,’ ” Eversley said. “And when things don’t happen like that, it sets you back and humbles you. It’s been a long road, but I feel like I’m a better player now and better person.”
Eversley was the first male athlete from highly respected academic magnet school Walter Payton College Prep to sign a Division I National Letter of Intent and averaged 19.2 points and 9.1 rebounds while leading Payton to the Chicago consolation city championship as a senior.
He considered transferring to colleges closer to home, including Loyola-Chicago, as well as Illinois-Chicago and Chicago State, where Eversley’s dad Mike “Tank” Eversley was a second-team All-American in 1979.
Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the seventh round that year, Mike Eversley’s name still resonates in Chicago basketball circles.
“My dad was known as a banger and he would fly over people to get to the basket,” Eversley said. “Everybody’s always telling me, ‘Your dad can fly. Your dad can hoop.’ He was a really aggressive player.
“Unlike my dad, I’m not going to fly over you, but I’m going to find a way to get to the basket.”