MORGAN -- Casey Evans epitomizes the notion that significant achievement comes with a cost.
The basketball star from Morgan High School didn't sit around all summer and then simply show up at tryouts in the fall expecting awards and accolades to be handed to him. Instead he worked on his game constantly.
Evans participated in offseason workouts, played in pick-up games and leagues, and spent long hours honing individual skills that needed improvement. In short, his remarkable senior season was many years in the making.
For his efforts, which included leading the Trojans to the state 3-A championship game at the University of Utah in February, Evans has been named the Standard-Examiner's 2010-11 All-Area Team Most Valuable Player.
"At the end of my sophomore season my dad said, 'You can do anything you want as long as you work for it,'" Evans said. "That gave me a lot of confidence about where I could be as an athlete. Now that I'm at the level where I can receive some awards and stuff, it's awesome to know that all the work I put in in the summer, and all the fall ball and all the spring ball has paid off. And all the money my parents spent on me, all those basketball shoes and all those tournaments we drove to out of state were worth it to me."
"I think he's only the second sophomore I've started on a consistent basis," Morgan coach Jim Wiscombe said. "He was good then, but he's continued to improve every year. One thing that's helped him is that he's gotten a lot stronger. He shot 52 percent from the floor, 43 percent from the 3-point line, which is excellent. But he's worked at it. He's paid the price and has spent a lot of time shooting the ball."
"He elevates everybody else," Wiscombe added. "Anytime you have a player like that, it creates more opportunities for other players because defenses put a lot of emphasis on stopping Casey. Young kids in the program see what he does and see the work that he's put in and I think that's going to help our program for years to come."
A three-year starter with the Trojans, Evans was known largely for his ability to put the ball in the basket, leading all 3-A players with 21.5 points per game. But he was far from a one-trick pony. He also averaged six rebounds, three assists and 1.7 steals per game. He also led the team with 18 blocked shots.
But scoring is what Evans did best. When the Trojans -- the highest scoring team in the 3-A ranks -- needed some points, Evans was the player they turned to. He routinely hit big shots during crunch time and often nailed long 3-pointers with a defender in his face or drove to the basket for a two-handed, momentum-changing dunk. His 46 3-pointers were far and away the most on the team this year.
Evans scored 20 or more points in six of the Trojans' last seven Region 11 games to lead Morgan to its first league title since 2005.
In December, Evans had a four-game run during which he averaged 31.5 points, including a career-high 46 in just over two-and-a-half quarters against rival North Summit. Six more points would have given him the school record for most points in a single game, but Wiscombe felt no desire to run up the score against the Braves or risk his star player to injury.
"That game was a lot of fun," Evans said. "I was just kind of in rhythm that night."
The soft-spoken Evans, who was selected this season as one of 19 Utah nominees for the McDonald's All-American team, credits both coaches and family for his success. He singled out assistant coaches Jay Thompson and Kovi Christiansen as two who played a big role in his development.
Evans' father Mike, as well as older brothers Cody and Caid, and sisters Shannon and Dani, exceptional basketball players in their own right, have also been key influences in his career. They occasionally provided motivation, too.
"I had some coaches kind of give me a hard time," Evans laughed. "They'd say, 'Shannon would have made that shot.' I don't know if my family knows how much it meant to me for them to be there, but it was awesome to look up in the stands and see five or six of them up there to watch me."
Although he has spoken to a number of colleges about playing at the next level, his first objective is to complete an LDS mission. He turns 19 in August and will likely decide on a school once he returns.
"I just want to play ball," Evans said. "Maybe get a little of my school paid for."
Joining Evans on the All-Area first team are teammate Jared Brooks and 13 other standout performers.