So here stands Shawn Evans, at the top of the Top 50. It’s not an easy list to compile and because of the sheer volume of quality players in the world today. But Evans separated himself from the pack in 2013 with sheer volume. As in points. In 35 combined regular-season games with the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks and the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse, Evans racked up 218 points. That averages out to 6.2 per game. That’s an astounding number by itself, but there is much more to what Evans brings to the rug every game, and that’s why he stands alone this year as the No. 1 player on ILIndoor’s annual list.
Evans started 2013 on solid footing with a 5-point (3-2) effort in Week 1. But he was just getting started and by the end of March, he’d already logged 3 separate games with double-digit point totals — 13 (4-9), 11 (2-9) and 10 (37). His final 2 games of the regular season both were 10-point nights, giving him 112 points for the season on 32 goals and 80 assists.
He added 9 points in 2 playoff games for the Riggers before they were eliminated in the West Division final, but the sheer production of offense was impressive enough for Evans to be named the league’s MVP. But like we said earlier, there’s so much more to his game.
He led the team’s forwards in forced turnovers (15) and his 69 loose balls ranked third on the team. All impressive, no doubt, but that doesn’t even begin to measure his impact without the ball. Evans is a relentless hustler into the corners and even if he’s not scooping the loosie, he’s bodying up on an opponent so a teammate has the space to get to the ball. He’s a hound on the forecheck, as evidenced by his forced turnover numbers and he’s never, ever believed his shift is over just because the other team gains possession.
If he’s not in a grill before the ball is cleared, trying to force that turnover, he’s chirping and nudging his way back to the bench. And the style doesn’t change once his NLL season is over. He won the MSL scoring title (and the loop’s MVP award) with 106 points on the strength of a career-best 29 goals and 77 assists. And although the Lakers’ season ended much like Calgary’s — without a championship — Evans brought the same grit, determination and hustle to every corner he could reach.
There are plenty of guys who can score goals in lacrosse. And Evans surely is one of them. But there are not many forwards in the game who bring the tenacity that Evans brings. It’s a motor that is red-lined anywhere on the floor he finds himself, and it’s why we feel he’s the No. 1 player in the game today.
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