Welcome to a very special edition in our series of interviews with CU student-athletes. Joining me for this episode is senior forward Evan Battey. The emotional leader of Tad Boyle’s Buffs, Evan spoke with me just a few days removed from one of the most memorable games in CU history, a 79-63 win over No. 2 Arizona.
We could have spent the entire interview on the Arizona game, but there is so much more to Evan’s story. He talks openly about his fight with the California athletic system, which didn’t allow him to play his senior year of high school. If that wasn’t enough, Evan lost another bout the following year, this time with the NCAA, which decreed he had to sit out a red-shirt year rather than play as a true freshman. Oh, and yes, Evan suffered a stroke during Christmas break of his freshman year.
Any one of those events would have been enough to discourage any young man, but, instead of using those setbacks as an excuse, Evan used them as a motivation to become one of the most popular players in CU history.
We’ll talk about Evan’s first standing ovation, coming as he stood alone to shoot a free throw at the end of the half of CU’s NIT victory over Norfolk State. Then there was the collision with Stanford’s Oscar de Silva in Evan’s sophomore year, and the emotional and touching way both teams handled the scary moments after de Silva’s injury.
This season, with a young team to guide, Evan has been a leader both on and off the court. We talk about his leadership, the ups and downs of this season’s Pac-12 campaign, culminating in a Senior Day which Tad Boyle said could not have been scripted any better.
So ... What was it like to be recruited by Tad Boyle, and be a part of a recruiting Class which included Tyler Bey, DeShawn Schwartz, and McKinley Wright? Why is it that Evan doesn’t feel completely comfortable with being called the “Mayor of Boulder?” ... And what was Evan’s response when Tad Boyle offered him a job with the team for next season?
Let’s find out ...