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ASU basketball: Shannon Evans is getting open 3s and making defenders fly with his pull back move

Crossover + step back = pull back

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Stanford John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Highlights are not usually made up of crisp passes and 12-foot jumpers. Basketball highlights are full of players making their defenders look ridiculous – like they’re the Globetrotters just toying with the Washington Generals.

ASU guard Shannon Evans doesn’t need to throw a ball of his defender’s head to make them look foolish, either, he just uses his go-to move – one of many he claims to have. The move is a mix between a step back and a crossover, a “pull back” as ASU head coach Bobby Hurley calls it.

Evans sells the move like he’s driving to the hole, then abruptly slams the breaks and decelerates from 100 to zero instantly. Once he gets his defender flying, the senior pulls the ball from his right hand to his left like a crossover while stepping back for a clean look from beyond the arc.

“I really try (to use) speed because I lot of people think I’m quick,” Evans said. “I try to go real fast and just stop on a dime and step back.”

ASU guard Rob Edwards, who is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, has fallen victim to Evans’ “pull back” before. But facing it everyday in practice, the redshirt sophomore has learned the secrets and figured out how to defend it.

To preface Edwards defense on Evans, the Cleveland State transfer is known for being one of the chippier defenders during Sun Devil practices. He was quick to point out that there aren’t any refs at practice, while noting that his aggressiveness only helps his teammates during games. “He doesn’t know that,” Edwards said of Evans. “He thinks I just hack him all the time.”

Regardless of how many practice fouls Edwards has racked up, he offered his strategies for defending it, and they were a bit conflicting.

First, he said that he’ll “leave him a little space so he won’t try to go by me.” Following it up by saying that you need to be close because “when he does it, I’m still close.”

So for all of the Pac-12 defenders tasked with stopping Evans, stay close or he’ll drive to the lane and get an easy layup. But not too close or he’ll put you on skates and drain the 3. Nothing difficult about that.

The “pull back” has been at the forefront of Evans’ monster season. The former Buffalo transfer is having career-highs in points (17.2 PPG), 3-point percentage (38.7), field goal attempts (12.9), as well as a few other categories.

Hurley coached the guard at Buffalo, playing a lofty role in his progression throughout the past four years. From the evolving haircuts to the extended range, Hurley has seen it all — and according to the third-year head coach, Evans’ move wasn’t present at Buffalo.

“Shannon was like more of a stop suddenly, shoot the 3 (player); or he was going to use his speed and go downhill into a driving lane,” Hurley said. “He’s put that into his game since he’s been here.”

The former Duke guard was even jealous of it.

“I love that pull back, I didn’t have that in my bag when I played,” Hurley said. “It’s an amazing counter to over-aggressive defenses.”

Though Hurley didn’t see it until Evans got to Tempe, the origins of the “pull back” began very early for the 6-foot-1, 170-pound guard.

Being from Suffolk, Virginia, Evans said that as a kid, he, along with everyone else from the area, were always trying to emulate Virginia native Allen Iverson’s lethal crossover.

Mix the step back in and the “pull back” was born.

“It’s just repetition of doing a crossover and doing a step back at the same time and I kind of just found something I liked,” Evans said.

And whether his defender moves just and few inches or flies a few feet, the most important part of the “pull back” is making that shot that follows it. No matter how effective, Evans’ doesn’t take time to admire his move until the shot falls.

“After I shoot it, then I’ll look a little bit,” he said. “I try to stay focused and make the shot, and then I’ll laugh or whatever afterwards.”

Aside from the shot dropping, too, Evans has another goal.

“I try to put people on SportsCenter with it.”