Evan McGaughey is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Carthage, Illinois that will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the MLP Academics Heielberg. The American played an illustrious career at Quincy(NCAA”) where he averaged double figures in scoring average each season. As a senior he played 25 games averaging 16.6ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 50.6%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Thanks Evan for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how is your summer coming along?
Currently at the golf course right now. I usually go golfing with my dad on Sunday mornings. Getting in a few more rounds before I leave.
I have to commend you about your name Evan. It´s a great name and I should know since I just named my first son like that a few months ago. When you think of the name Evan what comes to mind first?
I usually think of taller people when Evan comes to mind. It’s weird, but the few Evan’s I know seem to be taller.
Congrats on signing with German pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg. If someone had told you coming from West High School 5 years ago that you would be a professional basketball player in 2017 what would you have thought?
I honestly wouldn’t have believed them. Coming from Illini West High School with less than 400 kids in the school, not many of them become a professional athlete. I’m excited that it actually happened though!
What kind of feelings do you have now that you are a professional basketball player? Has excitement outweighed the expectations at first?
Right know it’s all excitement about being a professional athlete. I’m sure once the day comes closer that I’ll have to leave it will be more nerve racking.
How was your first professional off season testing the market? You signed relatively early and now can enjoy the rest of the summer. Did you have other offers? I can imagine the Heidelberg offer was the best you had?
I had two other official offers from a couple different countries. We had plenty of interest from other teams too, but my agent said this would be a great opportunity for me so we jumped on it.
What were the main reasons for signing with the MLP Academics Heidelberg? What was the deciding factor that made you take on this opportunity?
The main reason I signed with MLP Academics Heidelberg was because it is a great league to play in, especially for a rookie. It was one of the leagues that my agent and I had discussed about playing in from the beginning.
What do you know in general about the country Germany? Have you picked up on the fact that Heidelberg belongs to one of the bigger American tourist attractions in Germany?
I honestly don’t know a lot about Germany. I’ve been finding out more and more as people have talked to me about it the last few days. It will definitely be different for me coming from a town of 2,200 people.
What do you know in general about German basketball? Ex Quincy great Courtney Belger is playing in Germany.
I’ve heard it’s a great league and will be a great opportunity for me. I’ve been talking to Courtney for most of the process, and I hope he knows that a lot more questions will be asked throughout the year too haha.
Does it humble you that a guy like Courtney Belger has toiled in the German regionalliga and pro B for four years and will play a fifth in the pro B which are all beneath the German pro A where you will get your first chance as a professional rookie?
It honestly does humble me to sign in German Pro A. I know what type of player Belger is and how hard he has worked to be in this spot. Hopefully I can make it out to a few of his games this year.
How thankful are you for this opportunity. It is a fact that there are so many great players in NCAA 2 ball, but often are overshadowed by the NCAA. It isn´t everyday that a NCAA 2 player gets signed for the German Pro A.
Very thankful for this opportunity. I’ve seen it every year in college that Division 2 players get overlooked just because they are in a lower division. In most cases, the upperclassmen in D2 should be playing at a Division 1 school just because they have developed their game better than coaches thought they would coming out of high school.
You had an illustrious career at Quincy (NCAA2) from 2013-2017. What kind of experience was this for you and what was most satisfying about the whole process?
The most satisfying part about the process was that the last two years were the most successful with the team. Those were the only two years we finished with winning records. It was a blessing to see all of our hard work pay off.
You have an overall very versatile game for a 203cm player. To what NBA player would you describe your game to and what is your other biggest strength on the court besides scoring and rebounding?
I’ve heard a few people comparing me to Kristaps Porzingis. I wouldn’t mind playing for the Knicks haha. I like to think that my biggest strength is the ability to see the floor. I take a lot of pride in my passing ability and setting up teammates.
You are a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed every time on the court?
I would say my ability to keep the team morale in a positive direction would be a strength of mine. I always try to keep things in a positive perspective.
At the start of your college career, you were plagued hard by knee injuries. How difficult was it at the start making that transition from the high school level to the college level?
That was the big decision on why I chose to redshirt my freshman year. It was the best decision of my life. I needed to get faster and stronger and really get a feel for the faster pace of play. I never played AAU so I didn’t have any experience with higher level competition going into college.
You had very consistent stats throughout your career at Quincy(NCAA2). You once stated “You just have to continually keep getting better to compete at this level because the GLVC is probably one of the top conference in Division II,” How vital was the continuing improvement that allowed you keep this consistency over time?
That’s the big thing with college basketball. If you don’t continue to improve each and every year then you might not be playing next season. Nothing is guaranteed, so you have to put in the work to get playing time.
How do you feel did your game continue to develop over time at Quincy(NCAA2) that allowed you to become the player you will be when starting your professional career?
The biggest key was playing against the best competition that Division 2 has to offer. The fact that we had 4 all-conference and a honorable mention all-American on the team didn’t hurt either.
Your head coach Marty Bell really believed in you and saw the raw talent that you had coming out of high school. How did head coach Marty Bell groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Quincy(NCAA2)?
Coach Bell believed in me (along with Coach John Perry at the time, who is an assistant coach at Navy now) more than any other school and I could sense that. That is ultimately why I chose QU, because they really saw the potential in my game.
You had many great games in the NCAA2, but where would you rank your 30 point 13 rebound effort in a win against Bellarmine? You also had a 35 point game against William Jewel, but lost.
It was actually the other way around, we lost to Bellarmine but beat William Jewel) I would say my game against Bellarmine was one of the best in my career. I believe they were ranked in the top ten in the nation coming into that game. There was plenty of overseas talent in that game. The 35 point game against William Jewell was special for me because that was my first 30 point game in college and I scored my 1,000th point that game. I’ll never forget it.
I will imagine you beat freshman Marcus Hinton in a one on one in practice, but were you like a mentor for the young kid who had a solid rookie season
I really like the player, and person, that Marcus is turning into. I know he looked up to myself and the other upperclassmen this year and could tell he learned a lot. I hope to see another great season from Marcus this year.
How does a normal summer work out day look like for you on and off the court and what are the main things you will be working on in your game?
A normal workout day for me starts with my basketball trainer Matt Pugh. We have really been working hard on my 1 on 1 moves and finishes. Once the basketball workout is over I go to my strength coach Chris Bockius. We have been focusing on my overall strength, but mainly with my core and lower body.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
My Mt. Rushmore would be Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title an dhas three to Michael Jordan. There are so many experts that keep proclaiming that Lebron is the best of all-time. Where do you rate him in the neverending debate about who the best of all-time is?
It’s hard to say honestly, because I never truly was able to watch Jordan in his prime. I would still have to rate MJ as the best to ever play the game though.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I would love to see Alec Peters out of Valparaiso have a great career. He’s an Illinois boy and we always have to root for each other.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just watched 22 Jump Street last night. One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen!
Thanks Evan for the chat.