Dainius Chatkevicius — who was referred to as “an Evansville commit” earlier this month by ESPN recruiting analyst Reggie Rankin — has not committed to the University of Evansville men’s basketball program. In fact, the Aces haven’t even offered the class of 2015 prospect a scholarship, a representative of the athletic department said Tuesday.
The Aces are continuing to track the 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward, but the lone scholarship expected to become available after this season is unfilled.
(Full disclosure: I used Rankin’s tweet for this blog post, in which I introduced the big man to readers, pointed out there was no other link between Chatkevicius and Evansville and tried to dig up some tidbits about him.)
Chatkevicius averaged eight points and nine rebounds last season for West Oaks Academy, a private school in Orlando, Florida, that attracts loads of Division I prospects.
West Oaks’ 2014 graduating class contained men’s basketball players headed to Louisville, New Mexico State, Texas A & M, UC Irvine and South Alabama, coach Shaun Wiseman said.
Chatkevicius’ role on that stacked squad was to rebound and hold down the middle of the lane on defense.
“He’s tough, he’s rugged, he’s physical,” Wiseman said. “He’s not afraid to put his body on people.”
Chatkevicius became interested in UE when a Lithuanian coach recommended the school to him. He said he hasn’t visited campus, but hopes to sometime this season.
“I watched a few (Evansville) games online last year and that’s it,” said Chatkevicius, who came to the U.S. last September and has been in communication with Evansville assistant Geoff Alexander.
Chatkevicius said he hopes to improve his shooting, footwork and agility in his final prep season. Wiseman expects the big man to accept a larger offensive role.
“He’s gonna do most of his work 10 feet and in but if he needs to step out, he can take a jump shot every now and then,” Wiseman said. “He can pick and pop and do some stuff as he keeps developing.”