Aiken, S.C. — With Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox watching closely from his seat in the front row, Milton High’s Evan Nolte led the Southern Kings to the Peach State championship on Thursday.
The 6-foot-8 Nolte has a dozen scholarship offers, including both Georgia and Georgia Tech, and was named MVP of the AAU 16-under basketball tournament. He scored 21 points, including five 3-pointers in the first half, in a 69-58 win over the New Jersey Playaz.
“Kids can’t shoot nowadays … shooting is a lost art in basketball,” Kings coach Lawrence Gordon said. “If you can shoot, there will always be a place for you in college basketball. Now if you’re 6-foot-8 and can shoot the basketball like Evan Nolte, then you’re extra special.”
Nolte helped the Kings reach the championship by making a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation in the semifinals. The game went into two overtimes, and was eventually won by the Kings. North Carolina coach Roy Williams sat across from the team’s bench to observe Nolte’s every move.
“That was pretty nerve-wracking seeing Coach Williams,” Nolte said. “I try not to let it affect me, but it’s hard not to know who’s over there [in the NCAA coaching section] before the games. Everybody was talking about it, and excited to see [Williams].”
Gordon said 31 major-college head coaches, including Duke’s Mike Kryzewski and Florida’s Billy Donovan, watched the Kings in a Tuesday game. Duke, Florida, North Carolina and Stanford are among the colleges that told Nolte that they would be evaluating him in July for a possible scholarship offer.
“It was a long week and we’re all tired, but it was very exciting,” Nolte said. “I can’t wait to go to Orlando next week to play again.”