MADISON - Earlier in the season it was obvious the Wisconsin men's basketball team needed to have a consistent third scorer emerge if it was going to have any success.
Since Keaton Nankivil has solidified that role, it's now becoming apparent that UW could consistently rely on a fourth contributor on the offensive side of the ball.
Whether that's Josh Gasser, Mike Bruesewitz or most recently Ryan Evans, it seems as though UW is at its best when a fourth member contributes on a regular basis.
At the conclusion of a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up Evans. The following is a question and answer with the sophomore fresh off of one of the better games of his young career.
After the game the other night you said it's been kind of a rough year for you. I guess, what did you mean by that?
Evans: Just knowing the things I can do on the court. I haven't been living up to the expectations that I've had for myself. There are expectations coaches have for you and teammates, but when you know you go in and you put in so much work and time it's kind of frustrating when you don't live up to your expectations. I know I could have supported the team so much more early in the season. It's been frustrating for me, but hopefully that last game was a start.
Where would you say are your shortcomings that prevent you from living up to your expectations or at least before the last game?
Evans: All over. Defensively, offensively and just my all around game hasn't been where it needs to be or where it could be.
Is that game the other night something that could turn it around and get it going? You were averaging a decent amount of points at the start of the year and getting a lot of minutes. Then there was kind of that lull. Now you seem to be getting back into it.
Evans: Yeah, I'm always looking forward. Every game I'm coming in there saying this could be the game. Last game happened to be a great game for me. I still made mistakes and there are still things I could learn from that game, but I'm going into every game thinking this could be another great game.
Was there ever a time when you pulled yourself to the side and questioned whether you were putting to much pressure on yourself?
Evans: Yeah, you do that kind of stuff all the time. The pressure just continues to build. I'm a competitive person and I work hard so it's hard to take pressure off yourself. I think that game will help quite a bit.
So in your eyes is what you did against Purdue something you plan on doing the rest of the year?
Evans: Hopefully so. I think that's something I can do, without a doubt. I can do more than that. So yeah, as for my expectations I think so.
You look at the way this team has panned out so far and you've had three guys that have kind of emerged as legitimate scoring threats each game in Jon Leuer, Jordan Taylor and Keaton Nankivil. There are guys like Josh, you and Mike that sometimes get hot. Do you need that consistent fourth scorer?
Evans: Definitely. You can't win the big games with just three. As good as those guys are you can't win the big games with just those three. The rest of us need to come along and pick it up. We really do. We need to be more consistent.
Have you noticed an uptick in practice?
Evans: Yeah, we always go hard in practice. There's no question about that. Whether the shots are going down or not, you're going to see guys on the floor. So yeah, we're be strong defensively every game. Offensively we need to be more consistent.
How good did it feel when you were on that break out dunk at the end of that game. It kind of put an exclamation point on that one.
Evans: I couldn't even tell you. I couldn't even tell you. It felt great.