Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Freshman focus: Ryan Evans

Ryan Evans is not your typical University of Wisconsin basketball player.

He’s not from Wisconsin, he’s not from the Midwest, and he was not a big-name high school recruit. Evans comes from Phoenix, Ariz., and was not really even recruited during his first three years of high school.

“I wasn’t recruited at all until the end of my senior year, and all of a sudden a couple of Big Ten schools started taking some looks at me,” Evans said.


Toward the end of his senior year, Evans received an offer from head coach Bo Ryan and UW. He signed almost immediately.

Yet, in his original plans, Evans expected to be somewhere far from Wisconsin.

“I was thinking I was going to be on the West Coast,” Evans admits.

Evans was a surprise signing, as many people had no idea UW was even looking at him, and several recruiting services didn’t even have a rating for him.

Additionally, Evans had made a quick adjustment from the heat of Arizona to Madison; something he admits has not been easy.

“It was real low until UW offered, and I just had to make that commitment,” Evans said of the attention he was getting. “It’s been real easy to adjust to everything — everything except the weather.”

Unlike most college coaches, Ryan allows his players to choose if they want to redshirt their freshmen year.

Evans opted for that route a year ago, giving him four years of eligibility left entering the 2009-10 season, but allowing him to be on campus last year.

This gave him the opportunity to learn by going against Wisconsin’s starters last year. According to Evans, that experience is one he has benefited greatly from.

“It really was a great experience, going against Marcus (Landry) and Joe (Krabbenhoft) on a daily basis,” he said. “That was huge for me and my game.”

During this season, UW has featured three truly signature victories against Duke, Purdue, and Michigan State.

Although Evans didn’t fill the stat sheet in those games, he played great defense and often due to his size, was covering the opposing teams’ best big man.

“Those nights were real exciting — the type of nights I’ll be able to look back on,” Evans said.

When Wisconsin junior forward Jon Leuer went down against Purdue on Jan. 9, it left a glaring hole that needed to be filled.

The hole was filled more by committee, which included moving Jordan Taylor to the starting lineup. However, this meant UW was going smaller and when they needed to go big, the man they looked toward more often than not was Evans.

“I felt I did a solid job, (but) every player feels like they could have done more,” Evans said.

Being able to have quite a few more minutes really allowed Evans to progress as a player. Much of this was because minutes on the court in a live game are a lot different then practice minutes.

The UW basketball team is a really close knit group of guys both on and off the court. The teams chemistry can be seen on the court whether that be always ready to congratulate each other after a play, or the joking that occurs on the bench.

“We’re all real close, doesn’t really matter what year we are, we all meet up and eat and go to the movies,” Evans said. “That’s why our chemistry is so good on and off the court.”

The most notable thing about Ryan Evans from a superficial standpoint is his hair. Evans sports a flat top that has not been seen since at least the 80s.

“My pops had it all my life and I had it once when I was younger,” he said. “So, this year I just decided it was worth a try.”

The flat top is so noticeable that many UW students are able to see him on campus, recognizing him solely by his hair. Hopefully, Evans’ play on the court will be more recognizable than his hairstyle.

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