It took two visits before Evan Phoenix told the Central Connecticut State coaching staff that he wanted to play basketball there. In the Calvert Hall junior’s mind, though, the first trip was more than enough.
“When I first stepped on the campus, it just seemed like the environment I wanted to be in,” Phoenix said. “Everything just seemed right.”
Phoenix committed to the Blue Devils last week. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward also considered offers from American, Hartford and UMBC.
Phoenix came to Calvert Hall as a sophomore after beginning his high school career at Kent Island. His AAU coaches with Maryland 3D recommended that he join the Cardinals to raise his profile and face better competition.
“I think if I stayed at Kent Island I’d probably still be 190 pounds. And probably not be as good as I am,” Phoenix said.
Attending Calvert Hall meant that Phoenix would have to take on a roughly three-hour round-trip commute five days a week. He typically wakes up at 5:40 a.m., leaves his Eastern Shore home at 6:30, and arrives at Calvert Hall at around 8:15.
In the offseason, Phoenix is usually home by 4:30. During the season, however, he’ll get home at 8:15 p.m. if the Cardinals have practice, or much later if they have a game. A road game at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, for example, means that Phoenix won’t get home until 1 a.m.
But despite the inconveniences involved, Phoenix’s decision to transfer to Calvert Hall has proved to be a good one. He averaged around 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists as a junior for the Cardinals, earning Most Improved Player honors last spring at the Baltimore Catholic League banquet.
And his recruiting profile undoubtedly improved. Greg Collucci was an assistant at American when he first saw – and later offered a scholarship to – Phoenix. When Collucci moved on to Central Connecticut, he made sure that head coach Howie Dickenman knew about Phoenix, who will play the 4 in college and expects to be the team’s third forward as a freshman.
“I can shoot the 17-footer and in,” Phoenix said. “I’m a high-low post type of guy. I’ll get in to the high post and pass, or get into the low post and put on some post moves. I think the coaches really like my passing game the most.”
Phoenix plans to major in communications and hopes to eventually intern at ESPN, located just 10 miles away from CCSU’s New Britain campus. He’s looking forward to joining a program that already “feels like family.”
“A bunch of weight got lifted off my shoulders,” Phoenix said. “Now I can just focus on my season.”