Following Westports Malaysia Dragons’ disappointing eighth place finish in the 2017-2018 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season, late-season pickup, Chris Eversley, made a decision to stay in Kuala Lumpur for most of his summer rather than rushing back home.
Offered an opportunity to become the assistant coach of a young KL Dragons team in the Malaysia Pro League Development League (MPL D-League), Eversley accepted the role in helping to develop some of Malaysia’s up-and-coming talent. “At the beginning of the summer, I was focused mainly on coaching our D-League team, so our days would consist of morning workouts with me, while the team practices were held in the evening,” elaborated Eversley.
Though the Dragons eventually ended their season as runners-up, the campaign was still a proud result from the entire team, considering the talent and experience disparity when stacked up against other teams.
“We eventually made it to the finals with players no one else wanted, so it was rewarding to see our guys, who weren’t the most talented, but worked extremely hard, make a name for themselves.”
Aside from coaching, Eversley has also been working closely with his personal strength and conditioning coach over the summer, aiming to become a more complete package on the court.
In just eight games with Westports Malaysia Dragons last season, the American-born forward averaged an impressive 28.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game, however, he remains hungry for improvement on the upcoming season.
“Personally, I’ve been working on becoming a more consistent 3-point shooter. I try to add something to my game every summer, and this year, I’ve taken the liberty of working on my shooting and playing the pick-and-roll [along with] learning to read angles as a ball handler and being able to create open shorts for my guys,” shared the all-around forward.
As the league continues to expand its reach into another history-making size while bringing in a new country, with the upcoming ABL season now jumping up to 10 teams with the addition of the Zhuhai Wolf Warriors and Chongson Kung Fu becoming the Macau Black Bears, being the natural competitor that he is, Eversley embraces the tougher, more exciting games that the league should be seeing for 2018-2019.
“I’m loving it! The league is expanding and it’s not only great for our players, but the fans in the region as well. Being able to bring basketball to multiple new cities this season is awesome.”
In case you didn’t know, reigning World Import MVP Anthony Tucker is a former teammate of Eversley’s from back in their playing days in Belgium. Due to the late arrival of the latter last season, the two have yet to officially match-up against one another on the hardwood, but that is due to change for the upcoming season.
And it seems that Eversley is looking forward to the head-to-head matchup.
“Hell yea! We talk almost every day, so it’ll be good to play against him and see Macau as well,” added an ecstatic Eversley. With their history together, exchanges of trash talk is certainly expected between the Dragons and Black Bears leading up to their matchup, which should make for yet another exciting matchup amongst the bevy of games that the league is sure to offer in its eighth season.
While Eversley has been keeping busy during the offseason, his club, Westports Malaysia Dragons, made headlines when they announced that they had signed Jamie Pearlman to be the team’s next head coach. Like many, Eversley immediately got to researching on the man who he would be playing for next.
“I’m really excited to see coach Jamie here as well from Australia. With his defensive mindset, I think we should be able to make good things happen again in Kuala Lumpur.”
Oddly enough, the 6’7” forward has also vowed to become a more threatening defensive presence in the upcoming season: “I want to turn it up a notch defensively. The team goal is to obviously win a championship, but an individual goal of mine would be to win the Defensive Player of the Year award because I take pride on both sides of the floor.”
Lastly, Eversley is just grateful overall for another run with his first professional team, alongside his Malaysian brothers, looking to make some noise in this rapidly growing league.
“It meant a lot when I signed the new contract, being able to help the franchise on the court and also in the community has been big for me personally,” shared the 26-year-old Cal Poly alum. “I’m happy to help basketball grow here. Kuala Lumpur has and always will be home and I can’t wait to get MABA stadium rockin’ again with our guys.”