New Orleans) Evan Cleaver, former point guard for the Dillard Bleu Devils basketball team, has found success on the big stage as he plays a part in the movie “The Host,” which is directed by Andrew Niccol and written by “Twilight Series” author Stephenie Meyer. “It has been an amazing journey,” said Cleaver. “After more than seven years of work and over 55 auditions, this is my biggest opportunity and it’s a beautiful blessing.”
Although born and raised in Kansas City, Cleaver is currently an adjunct professor at Dillard University and teaches public speaking. However, Cleaver came to Dillard in 2002 as a student-athlete. After one year at a junior college, he transferred to Dillard and was the starting point guard for three solid years and led his team to the Sweet 16 round of the NAIA tournament.
“The Dillard University athletics department helped me in my growth tremendously,” Cleaver said. “Being there taught me to have life goals, and because of Dillard University, I learned about discipline, hard work, and how to be physically and mentally strong.”
At Dillard, Cleaver majored in theatre and graduated in 2005. He then attended California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and received his Masters in Fine Arts (acting) in 2009.
When asked what inspired him throughout the years, he ended with this simple yet powerful statement.
“Sidney Poitier was my influence,” said Cleaver.
Poitier was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.