John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers need him to be better if they have any hope of a return to the glory of the past three seasons that saw the Tigers win 104 games and reach two Elite Eights and the national championship game in succession.
So the coach rides the kid. This is what Calipari said after Evans scored a season-high 24 points in a 100-61 rout of Marist: "I liked how Tyreke played. He messed with the ball about three of four times, opposed to every time. So, the rest of the time he scored, got to the rim."
Getting to the rim is never a bad strategy. It's an even better one at the moment for the 6-foot-6 Evans, who to this point is struggling mightily from the perimeter (4-of-20). He's a better outside shooter than he has displayed, but he also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and score in a variety of ways.
Memphis is 5-1, with games coming this month against Big East teams Georgetown, Syracuse and Cincinnati. If it's going to win at least two and perhaps all three, it will need Evans not to mess around.
Through games of Monday, Dec. 8:
1. B.J. Mullens, Ohio State Season averages: 6.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Mullens has yet to play more than 20 minutes in a game, but he had 11 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes in an upset of Notre Dame.
2. Jrue Holiday, UCLA Season averages: 10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
The Bruins are off to a rocky 5-2 start, with Holiday scoring in double figures in every other game to date.
3. Demar DeRozan, USC Season averages: 9.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
DeRozan has scored in double figures in three consecutive games and shot 15-of-31 during that stretch.
4. Brandon Jennings, Lottomatica Roma Season averages: 4.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 17.3 mpg
Jennings is starting only occasionally and he hasn't played a lot of minutes recently in his first season as a pro in Europe.
5. Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
Season averages: 9.6 ppg
Through seven games, Hopson has scored in double figures three times and is averaging 20.6 minutes.
6. Tyreke Evans, Memphis
Season averages: 16.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg
Evans has struggled from the perimeter (20 percent from 3-point range), but otherwise has been one of the most impressive of this group so far.
7. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Season averages: 12.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg
Aminu had his worst game in the Demon Deacons' last outing, with five points and six rebounds in a win over Bucknell.
8. Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Season averages: 13.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg
Monroe is shooting 63.5 percent and, if anything, isn't taking enough shots in John Thompson III's complicated offense.
9. Samardo Samuels, Louisville
Season averages: 16.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Samuels is shooting 65.5 percent but has only one game with more than six rebounds.
10. Willie Warren, Oklahoma
Season averages: 13.5 ppg, 2.8 apg
Warren is playing big minutes (29.3 per game) and has scored OK despite a woeful display from 3-point range (25 percent; 9-of-36).
11. Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
Season averages: 6.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Ebanks played a season-high 27 minutes against Cleveland State on Saturday and responded with 10 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
12. Chris Singleton, Florida State
Season averages: 9.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg
The Seminoles have no complaints about Singleton's work on the boards, where he has reached double figures four times already.
13. Ater Majok, Connecticut
Season averages: Yet to play
Majok has not been cleared by the NCAA, but the Huskies expect he will be when they return Dec. 15 against Stony Brook.
14. Kemba Walker, Connecticut
Season averages: 12.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.0 apg
Walker remains a pass-first point guard who has attempted only 13 shots over the past four games.
15. Ed Davis, North Carolina
Season averages: 9.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg
Davis was a solid contributor while Tyler Hansbrough was out and has continued to score and rebound.
16. Elliot Williams, Duke
Season averages: 2.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Williams is averaging only 13.6 minutes per game and hasn't played much except for blowout victories.
17. Ty Walker, Wake Forest
Season averages: 1.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Walker has been the least used of the big three in Dino Gaudio's prized recruiting class, playing only 5.0 minutes per game.