This wasn’t the Jordan Evans we expected.
Gary Gait. Charlie Lockwood. The Powell brothers. Jojo Marasco. You know these names well if you follow Syracuse lacrosse. You’d probably know most of them if you followed college lacrosse in any form.
Each of those players wore the number 22. Every one of those players left their mark at Syracuse.
Gait fundamentally changed how the game was played. Lockwood was a four-time All-American. Casey Powell won national player of the year at two positions. Ryan Powell was another four-time All-American. Michael Powell is the school’s career leader in points and won the Tewaaraton twice. Marasco sits ninth in all-time assists for the Orange.
Many expected Evans to ascend to the heights of that group, but so far he hasn’t exactly fulfilled the hype.
Evans arrived at Syracuse in 2014 as the nation’s top recruit and the next in line to wear number 22 at Syracuse.
But his career got off to a slow beginning, with Evans not joining the starting lineup until his sophomore year. That season, Evans showed signs of promise with a five-goal performance in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Finally, during his junior year, Evans looked like the top prospect he was expected to be. He scored 27 goals and added eight assists. He still wasn’t the award winner that his predecessors had been, but he had set the stage for his senior year.
Instead of lighting the world on fire, Evans has had an underwhelming campaign by comparison.
He enjoyed a gaudy performance against Cornell, adding three goals and two assists, but that has been much more the exception than the rule in 2017. He has 12 goals and 15 assists through ten games.
“I’m trying to improve on the little things,” Evans said. “The things that you might not see with stats.”
As a result, Evans has missed the Tewaaraton shortlist. Three of his teammates appear though, and that is the way Evans likes it.
“You can’t really key on one guy,” he said. “It takes a lot of pressure off everyone in our offense.”
He said from the very beginning of career that he was not focused on being the best player on the field. Instead, Evans seems to be finding his role as an all-around attacker. He was a midfielder in high school and his creativity is definitely on display.
So maybe this wasn’t the Jordan Evans we all expected to get, but maybe we should have expected this version. Evans is playing more like an attacking midfielder, which makes him almost more dangerous. He could could uncork a rocket toward goal, or locate a streaking teammate for an easy finish.
He might not be the number 22 we expected, but if Evans can help propel the talented group around him to a title, no one will care at all.
“I play every game like it’s my last game,” Evans said. “I don’t have many games left here in this Dome.”