Heshimu Evans ’99 SW holds a special place in the hearts of Kentucky basketball fans. After all, he did play an integral role on UK’s 1998 NCAA championship team. Who can forget his famous two-finger salute after a great dunk or when the crowd would go crazy affectionately shouting his nickname, “Mu”? Even after years away from Kentucky, fans still remember the heart and energy that Evans brought to the game.
Evans came to UK as a transfer from Manhattan College. After redshirting the 1996-97 season, he came on big time for the Cats. He served as one of Kentucky’s tri-captains and started 39 games in two years. After graduating from UK with a degree in social work in 1999, he embarked on a successful international basketball career with stops in places like France and Japan. He now plays for Benfica in Portugal where he continues to win championships.
We recently caught up with Evans and asked him a few questions about his time at UK and life in Portugal.
What is a favorite memory from your time at UK?
Walking into Rupp Arena with twenty thousand plus UK fans cheering for their Cats!
Do you make it back to Lexington often?
During the summer of 2011, I returned to the Bluegrass state. I spent time with former teammate Wayne Turner and enjoyed visiting the UK basketball facilities.
Give us a little insight into your famous ‘salute’ after you went for a big dunk. UK fans loved it!
It all started after saluting my teammates on Senior Night. After one of my breathtaking dunks the salute was appropriate.
What does it mean to you to be a UK alum?
I am proud to be a part of such a great university with historical value.
Tell us about your life in Portugal playing for Benfica.
I am fortunate to be the only player to have five champions with four different teams. I am currently playing as a Portuguese due to having dual citizenship. I enjoy the best of both worlds. Portugal has become my second home and I proudly represented the Portuguese National Team in 2010. I am honored to play for such a historic club that has the most fans across the globe.
Having played across the world in your professional career, what has been your favorite place to play at and why?
Japan because of the hospitality and amazing technology
Is there anything you would like to say to all of your fans in Big Blue Nation?
Although many players come and go, thanks for always remembering your former Wildcats. Go Big Blue.