ST. LOUIS - Dwayne Evans has a list of goals for 2013.
"We're still trying to be the first SLU team to make it to the Sweet 16," the Billikens' best player said last week. "That's the overall goal. Obviously, win another Atlantic 10 Championship. And personally, I want to become a better leader on the court."
He thinks he will get a head start this summer, thanks to his first trip off this continent.
Evans, fellow SLU senior forward Jake Barnett and SLU director of operations Mike Lepore will board airplanes in August, traveling overseas to participate in Athletes in Action, a Christian-basedsports ministry that sends Division I basketball players across the world for a mix of mission work and competitive hoops.While Barnett and Lepore are destined for Jamaica, Evans is headed to the Ivory Coast.
"What I love the most is the people you come in contact with," Barnett, who will be making his third Athletes in Action trip, said. "And not only the people in the country. But you get 10 guys from Division I schools on one team. All of them are different, unique. But all are similar that they're trying to grow in their faith and in basketball. To get that combination together is amazing."
Barnett sold Lepore on the trip to Jamaica. Evans, after punching Ivory Coast into Google, decided he was up for a simliar adventure as well.The two players will participate in a training camp before they leave. Once in Jamaica and Africa, they will play as many as five games against the countries' national and professional teams during a two-week span of faith-building and mission work.
Evans hopes to return a better player and leader.
"This is way out of my comfort zone, and nothing like I've ever done before," he said."That's why I'm really excited about it. I kind of thought about it for a week or so. Why wouldn't I want to go help out the community there, and become a better leader, become closer to my faith? And play competitive basketball at the same time? There isn't really a negative side -- besides the 15-hour plane ride."