Shante Evans

Basketball player

‘Basketball is my whole world’

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How do you feel about this season with the team?
The season’s been good. We got to the quarter finals of the EuroCup, and right now we’re getting ready for the playoffs. But, so far, it’s been a great season, a winning season. As a team, we are progressing.
How did you get into basketball?
I started around six because of my father. He played basketball and he used to take me with him when he went to play at the local park with friends. He just put a ball in my hand and I’d be on the other side of the court shooting, dribbling and watching him play.
When did you decide to become a professional player?
When I started getting praised by other people, and I saw I was a lot taller than the other girls. At that point, I became a little local star and fell in love with the game.
Local means Philadelphia?
Yes. A town called West Chester, about 20 minutes from the city, but in that area I was known as the basketball player.
Is women’s basketball big in the US?
It’s bigger in Europe. Women have this problem everywhere. You know, we won’t be paid as much as the men. Luckily, it’s not as bad here but it’s not as popular as the boys.
Tell me about the coaches, the professionals that most inspired you.
From the beginning, my first coach really influenced me. Her name was Chase Green and she was my AAU coach. She was the first coach that actually pushed me. She always wanted us to work hard. Professionally, this is my fifth country, I’ve had a lot of great coaches. My national team coach in Slovenia is a hard coach; if we’re doing something wrong he will definitely tell you.
You have a Slovenian passport. How come?
In August I was still looking for a new contract when my agent brought me an opportunity: “You have to play in Slovenia for a whole year and at the end you’ll get this passport because the coach wants you to play on the national team,” he said. The Slovenian league is not as strong but I had to do it. It’s been amazing having that passport, it has really helped me in my career.
You are young to have already played in five countries. Is that common?
I really don’t think so. When you go to a country, you usually stay there but with different teams, or you maybe go to two or three countries in your whole career, but never a different country every single year.
Bulgaria, France, Romania, Slovenia and now Catalonia. Tell me about your different experiences.
My first year in Bulgaria I was 21. Being that far from home, I was homesick. It was a tough year for me but we won the championship so it ended up being great! Then I was in the South Aix-en-Provence. It was beautiful weather and I had my own car. I think we finished 4th or 5th in that league but it was a great season and a great experience. France was amazing! And then Romania, for my third year. I had like six Americans on my team, so it was easy because everyone spoke English and we won two championships, so another good year. My fourth, Slovenia. It was a different experience because I was the oldest, everyone else on the team was under 21, while I was 25, so being the oldest helped me become more of a leader. Again, that year we won three championships.
Before coming here, did you know anything about the country, the language and the culture?
Not really. I spent a few days like “Spain, Spanish”, and then I was told what was going on here, so it was a whole new thing because we didn’t hear too much about it in America.
What did you think about it?
I understand the Catalans want independence and Spain is against it. For me, I feel like Catalan is Catalan, so they should have their independence and seeing on TV what the police did to the voters was mind-blowing. Is this happening in 2017 or 2018?
You say you like Girona a lot, but what is going to happen next year?
I love everything about this team. The friends have been amazing and the club is very professional, but sadly I won’t be returning next year. It just didn’t work out business wise. I’ll be in Europe but I can’t say where.
What about future projects, apart from playing?
Usually in the summer I like to do my own three-hour camp for kids from 8 to 16. It’s something I do every year, and this will be my fourth year. That’s my main project. I also train kids one-on-one. I haven’t had a vacation in four years, so this summer is very important for me to take care of myself.
What are your expectations and objectives in terms of your career?
I see myself playing maybe four or five more years, hopefully. I just want to continue to become a better player. I would actually like to go to different countries every year and have new experiences.
And afterwards?
Definitely coaching. I just don’t see me leaving the basketball world. It’s been my world since I was five or six.


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