'Team Tyreke' Responds to Evans' 130 MPH Speeding Ticket
Being placed in handcuffs in the back of a police car during his first offseason as a pro, however, was not.
The reigning Rookie of the Year was involved in a high-speed chase without even knowing it on Monday evening in Sacramento, when a California Highway Patrol air unit spotted him topping out at 130 miles per hour and possibly racing another car on a local freeway on which the maximum speed allowed is 65 mph.
According to numerous reports, ground officers reached him at 6:58 p.m. after he arrived for a pickup game at a neighborhood park. Because Evans' 2010 black Mercedes-Benz S550 has four tinted windows, officers drew their guns during what was deemed a "felony stop."
Evans and his passenger cooperated, with officials noting that neither man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Evans was released from the cuffs and the car on site and cited for reckless driving. But the real trouble would come later, when the oldest of four Evans brothers, Julius, called the youngest of the bunch from his New Jersey home.
"I let him know that (the incident) didn't sit well with any of us," Julius Evans, 39, told FanHouse by phone. "We let him know we're not happy about that going down, especially when we're 3,000 miles away and we see he's on the news in handcuffs.
"He said, 'I didn't know how fast I was going. I didn't know this or that.' I said, 'I'm sure you didn't know, but you've got to be smarter than that. You're 20 years old, you're independent, and you've got to make better decisions. What if you hurt somebody, or what if you hurt yourself? I don't care how late you were. You call and say you're going to be even later.' He's sorry he did it."
Julius, who is also known as "Doc," wasn't done with the phone call. He posted a message on his Twitter account Tuesday morning (approximately 11 a.m. Pacific time) saying he had told Evans he must apologize to the Kings and their fans. Evans, who could not be reached by FanHouse for comment, responded to his brother's demand less than an hour later, with the message on his account reading, "Apologies to fans, the Kings and my fam for bad decision making. Driving is a privilege & speeding was a mistake. I've def learned my lesson."
Which is exactly why "Team Tyreke" exists in the first place.
While many NBA players have entourages or extensive networks of family and friends, few -- if any -- are like the Evans bunch. They've been helping him learn lessons, and avoid these types of mistakes, from the time he was a rising young talent back in Chester, Pa. While he was dominating AAU tournaments, putting on a four-year show at American Christian Academy in Aston, Pa. and later starring in one season at the University of Memphis, they were creating a structure that was geared toward maximizing his talent and helping him avoid missteps on the path to prominence.
In essence, the objective is to let nothing keep Evans from becoming the next LeBron James. Yet the wrong kind of comparison could be drawn in this instance, as James was cited for driving 101 miles per hour on a freeway in the Cleveland area at 3 a.m. back on Dec. 30, 2008.
The uniqueness of Evans' group is in the exclusivity and the amount of brotherly love, as the only non-blood member of "Team Tyreke" is his trainer, Lamont Peterson. Otherwise, it's brothers Reggie, Doc, and Pooh, with their cousin, Temetrius, looking out for him. The brothers, none of whom draw a salary, are all older with families of their own (Reggie has one child, Pooh has five and Doc has two). They keep outsiders at a distance for fear of the wrong kind of influence.
While Tyreke and his mother, Bonita Evans, have a close relationship and even share a new home Tyreke had built for them in Delaware, his brother, Reggie, is his legal guardian. Their father, John Holmes, died of a heart attack four years ago.
"Their thing was always to protect their brother, to keep the buzzards away," former Memphis and current Kentucky coach John Calipari told me in December during an interview for a story on Evans' family. "And their job was to protect him so he could do what he loves to do. ... They'll look after him, and they're also going to tell them the truth. When kids get that, then they're comfortable."
Yet while Tyreke spent his rookie season living with Peterson and his childhood friend, Dwayne Davis, Doc said that blueprint may have to be changed in light of Monday's events. He is considering moving from New Jersey to Sacramento for next season so his voice of brotherly reason can be heard more consistently.
For now, though, Doc said he'll ease up on the lecturing and allow Evans to enjoy what continues to be an exciting time. He is headed to China on Wednesday for a three-city tour with Nike that goes through Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai. He returns on June 14, with the next marquee event of the summer coming in mid-July.
While Evans is not expected to take part in Las Vegas summer league, he will be in Sin City from July 19-24 for Team USA tryouts and training camp. With so many veterans either declining or being non-committal about their involvement, Evans will have a legitimate chance to impress national team director Jerry Colangelo and perhaps even make the team.
And while a serious speeding ticket hardly hinders his goal of becoming one of the NBA's elite, it was a speed bump his brother and the Kings hope he avoids next time.
"It's certainly a situation we'd prefer not to have happen," Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie told FanHouse. "But I think he has handled it well. We had a meeting with him today (at the Kings practice facility), and we walked him through all the reasons why it's not a good thing. I think he has learned."
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