December 4, 2009

Evans focused on defense and rebounding

MADISON - Ryan Evans stepped into the Wisconsin basketball scene as a relative unknown. Now, though, after a productive redshirt season, Evans is making an impact on the court. He may not always be a scoring threat at this point in his career, but he makes up for it by cleaning up the scraps.

Following his impressive two-point, eight-rebound performance against Duke, caught up with the freshman forward and discussed the win over the Blue Devils, his role and his hairstyle.

The following is a question and answer with the Arizona native:

Is it kind of back to normal after kind of a crazy night last night?

Evans: Yeah it is. We're thinking about next and moving on from there. It was a great night last night and we lived it up last night, but now we're talking about next, Grambling State.

Have you ever experienced an atmosphere like that at any sort of level?

Evans: Me personally, no. No, it was great. I loved it. I really feed off the crowd. It did us all justice, not only me but our team.

Is that why you play college basketball? Is that the reason right there? Is that a prime example?

Evans: Yeah, you know, that's all the sweat and tears and blood. That's where it all goes for. An atmosphere like that, you get so high from something like that. There's no drug that matches that.

Is it hard though, after a huge win like that, to keep it even keel? Going against Grambling State is not the same name recognition as Duke. It's a little different.

Evans: No, it's not hard. Coach Bo Ryan is able to keep us even and keep us focused. No, we're looking at going and keeping our focus and try to blow them out if we can.

I don't know if you paid attention two years ago, but the Badger team that went on to win the Big Ten, they were kind of like this team. They were picked low to finish in the conference. There was one point that they went to Texas and they beat Texas who was a top ranked team. Then they went on a huge roll. Do you kind of feel like that could happen with this team?

Evans: Yeah, definitely. It could most definitely happen. We don't want to be looked at as any other way. We like to be looked at as the underdog. Me personally, I always liked to be looked at as an underdog. We're going to definitely make some big runs this season.

Is that kind of how you play, too? It seems like you have a chip on your shoulder out there. You just go out there and clean up stuff.

Evans: Yeah, well, I've always been thought of as an underdog so I try to get out there and prove something. Just like the team, we're going to prove something this year.

Yesterday, was Kyle Singler maybe the toughest guy you've had to guard?

Evans: No, I've guarded tougher ones. Singler is more straight up and down. He made some real difficult shots, but it's more when you guard the guys that go side to side a lot. Those guys are tougher to guard. With Singler, he made some tough shots and he's an excellent player. That's why he's rated so high.

What was your adrenaline like when you stopped him as he was going to his left there on that last drive? He kind of hit the side of the backboard.

Evans: It was great. Like I said, there's no drug that matches the type of high you get from an atmosphere like that.

Talk about your game in general so far this season. You come in there and you're just a bundle of energy. Is that how you've always played and is that how you like to play?

Evans: Yeah, it is. It's more fun that way. Getting in there and giving the team a spark, that's what I see me as doing. Yeah, I enjoy that.

Do you think the crowd feeds off of you when you get in there. Maybe he's going to come in and throw down a sick dunk or something?

Evans: Possibly, I don't know what they think. I hope so.

Is that the way you prove your worth out there, getting rebounds and getting all the tough stuff.

Evans: Right now, if that's what I have to do to see playing time, yes. That's what I'll be doing. The scoring will come, I'm not so much worried about that. I was more of a natural scorer in high school. Right now, if that's what I need to do to see minutes, that's what I'll be doing.

What would you say is the biggest flaw in your offensive game right now?

Evans: Well, just, you got to feel the game. You've got to feel the game and that's the main thing.

Is there one particular thing, maybe your shot or your dribbling or anything that needs more work than others?

Evans: I wouldn't say more work, it's been there. It's more of a mental thing. My shot will come back. It's more of a mental thing. I'm not so much worried about that. But right now, if I can help getting rebounds and playing defense, that's what I'll be doing. When my shot comes, it comes.

Is that something that with the more reps you get, the more games you get in there, that it will come naturally?

Evans: Yeah, that's exactly right. More games, more minutes. The more I feel confidence, the more within the flow of the offense I'll be able to do that.

What's the prognostication on the hair-do here? Are you going to let it go up bigger? Kid-N-Play style?

Evans: No, no. No bigger. It fits my personality. I'm more of an old school person. I'll probably keep it for a while.

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