Cal Poly forward Chris Eversley only won 13 games this season, but in a few hours he will be playing on national TV in the NCAA tourney and you won’t. He was named Big West tourney MVP last weekend after scoring a team-high 18 points in a 61-59 win over Cal State Northridge in the title game. CHD’s Jon Teitel sat down with Chris to discuss the pair of Pac-12 tourney teams he faced in the early part of the season and how his team was able to come together late in the season to get into the NCAA tourney.
Why did you choose to attend Cal Poly? I knew that that I would get a good education regardless of how the basketball part worked out, and it is nice to be in California.
You play for Coach Joe Callero, what makes him a good coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He is good at helping people develop. He constantly reminds us that everything comes down to one possession: we lost a lot of close regular season games this year, but won our final two conference tourney games by a combined five points because we paid attention to the details.
Your 40 three-point shots are second-most on the team. What is your secret for making shots from behind the arc? Just focus and concentration, as well as having confidence in myself.
You have played a bunch of fellow tournament teams this year (Arizona/Pitt/Oregon). Which of them impressed you the most? It is probably a tie between the two Pac-12 schools. You cannot replicate the Ducks’ speed in practice: they just turned our game into a track meet. Arizona has a lot of talent: they are going to be a dangerous team this month.
Ridge Shipley scored 14 points including a thee-point shot with 13 seconds left to clinch a two-point win over Cal State Northridge in the title game last Saturday. Did you think it was going in, and what did it mean to you to clinch the title? Ridge’s shot was definitely huge: he just dialed it in when he was open and has been making shots like that all the time in practice. It was a relief for me and my fellow seniors to win the title after putting in four years of hard work.
After a three-game winning streak put your record at 8-10 in late-January, you finished the regular season by losing 9 of 11 before winning three games in three days in the Big West tourney. What went wrong in February, and how have you been able to turn things around in March? We had a lot of concentration breakdowns and were missing some guys due to injury, but we got focused at the end of the year on the task at hand.
You led your team in scoring and rebounding this year and were named conference tourney MVP. How were you able to play your best when it mattered the most? My teammates and coaches had confidence in me and we all believed that we could do it together. It was great to receive such an honor, but I share it with my entire team because everyone contributed.
What do you think about your #16 seed, and what do you know about Texas Southern? We have been looking at them on tape the past couple of days. We knew that we would get a #16 seed due to our record, but our main thing is just continuing to play the basketball that got us here.