Tyreke Evans, a 6'5" junior guard at American Christian in Aston, Pa., is among the top recruits in the class of 2008 (box, below). In his first diary entry for SI PLAYERS, he talks about being a standout and the choices ahead.
I'VE BEEN GETTING MEDIA ATTENTION FOR A LONG TIME, since ninth grade really. It's pretty cool stuff! But it comes with a lot of pressure; people have high expectations for me, and I want to prove every night that I am worthy.
THE RECRUITING PROCESS STARTED GETTING REALLY INTENSE THIS YEAR. I get about 30 letters a week. It's a lot to deal with, but I'm lucky to have so many people I can trust. Besides my mom, Bonita, I have four older brothers who really look out for me. My brother Reggie had the text message option taken out of my phone two years ago. (I was getting recruiting messages even then.) And when coaches call the house, my brothers talk to them for me. I'll see coaches in the stands at my games, too, but I do my best to concentrate on my play. I'm trying to keep the recruiting process as distant as I can.
CLASSMATES ALWAYS MAKE SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHERE I SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE. But everything in my life is a family decision—I 'm not allowed to play on playgrounds because my brothers think the concrete is too hard on my knees! If I decide to go to college, my family and I will sit down and figure out the best choice. I have a short list. I can't say who's on it, but I will say I was a big fan of North Carolina growing up and both my parents were born in that state. So becoming a Tar Heel is a possibility.
COLLEGE IS NOT MY ONLY OPTION. American Christian is a prep school and I could stay here for a fifth year, then declare for the NBA draft. I don't think I'll do that, but it's something to think about. I talk to a lot of people outside my family, including some NBA players—Jameer Nelson, who's from the area and friends with Reggie, and LeBron James, whom I've met at tournaments. I would like to make a decision by the end of the AAU season in September. I don't want to drag it out because I want to focus my attention on my senior season and helping my team win a championship. I'd hate to let any distractions affect my game.
CARLOS M. SAAVEDRA (EVANS DIARY)
DIANA ELIAZOV (EVANS ACTION)