Ryan Evans(Baaken Bears) Jon Leuer Was The First Guy That Taught Me That Great Offense Beats Great Defense

Ryan Evans is a 30 year old 202cm forward that was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Chandler, Arizona and recently finished his 7th professional season and played his second season the Bakken Bears (Denmark-BasketLigaen) averaging 12.9ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 43.6%. He will remain with the Bears in 2020-2021. In 2018-2019 with the Bears he averaged 14.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.2%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 64.3%; and in the FIBA Europe Cup averaged: 12.8ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 68.6%. Previously to playing in Denmark, he gathered experience in countries like Israel, Hungry and France. He also played his rookie season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) playing 33 games averaging 8.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 51.3%. He played at the University of Wisconsin from 2009-2013 and recorded two super last seasons averaging 11.0ppg, RebBig10-5 (6.8rpg), 1.6apg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 72.6% and 10.2ppg, RebBig10-5 (7.4rpg), 2.0apg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 42.8%: He appeared in school record 138 games (71 starts) over four-year career. He spoke to germanhoops.com before the Coronavirus crisis started. 

Ryan you recently played in Germany. Was this your first time in Germany? What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?

It was not my first time in Germany, Ive been there 2 other times. Once playing for a Big Ten Conference Allstar team in college and also last year when we played Oliver Wurzburg. I don’t know much about the country, but I know the German basketball league is solid top to bottom. The league is also known for paying on time

After playing your first four professional seasons in Europe in no international club tournament, you are now playing Fiba Europe Cup for a second season in a row. This competition is the fourth best in rank. Do you feel like the skill level in the Fiba Europe Cup is better than what it gets credit for?

I really enjoy playing Fiba EuroCup because it gives me a chance to travel and see different cultures as well as different brands of basketball. There are a lot of different levels within the league, but once the playoffs start all the teams are quality teams. So yes, once the playoffs begin, the skill level is better than it gets credit for

Last season the Baaken Bears won their 10th league title in the last 13 years and third in a row. Do you feel like the pressure is bigger than last season?

I feel as though there is a tradition/ expectation to win with Bakken, but there isn’t necessarily extreme pressure. We have a balanced team, so the pressure is dispersed. Also, coach and the staff do a good job of keeping the pressure down.

The club brought in 5 new players. How is this year’s team different and is it a stronger team than last season?

The team is definitely better because we have had a lot of experiences together. The guys that were brought back are all high IQ players and the new comers have done a good job of adapting to the style of play

Talk about the worth of experienced Adama Darboe? How important is he for the success and would the team be where it is this season without his leadership?

Adama Darboe is huge for our team. He comes to play everyday and is possibly the most consistent player on the team. You know what you’re going to get from him night in and night out. He is a floor general that understands the system well and it is a pleasure to share the court with him

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 202cm forward that can score and rebound at a high rate. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

That is a tough one. I think the midrange game is a loss art in the league and that is probably my strongest point. I would say I’m probably a combination of Kyle Kuzma and Carmelo Anthony. Lol

You’re a player that can really fill up the stat sheet. Would you define yourself as a modern day forward?

I think ‘modern day forward’ is a good way to describe me since I can play and guard multiple positions. Players are becoming more and more position less as the game evolves.

You will be turning 30 this summer. Would you consider yourself in your prime and what things are you focusing on most at this stage of your career besides winning titles and taking care of your body?

Yes, I would say I’m in my prime. My mind and body is in a really nice place. My body seems to be feeling better and better as time goes on. I have learned to balance my work load and adding things like fish oil and drinking a lot of water to my diet has worked wonders. Moreover, I am focusing on playing with programs that provide stability and that demonstrate interest in the wellbeing of their players. That is why I am glad to be a part of Bakken

Last season with the Bakken Bears (Denmark-BasketLigaen) you played 28 games averaging 14.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.2%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 64.3%; and played 16 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 12.8ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 68.6%. The team breezed through the playoffs to win another league title. What was so special about this team?

The team was special because everyone understood their roles and contributed to the best of their ability. We had so many special players coming off the bench and many of them went on to make more money. Whenever you get a team where everyone is playing for each other, it makes the game much easier and everyone benefits. It was a special season, but I feel as though this one can be even more special.

Two seasons ago you played with : Cholet Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 games averaging 8.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 41.3%. You played together with one of my favorite guys Illian Evtimov. Could some of his three point sharp shooting rub off on you and what did you learn about movies from him?

Hahahaha, Illian is my guy! Great man, teammate and father! I learned a lot from Illi, but what resonated most was just his passion for the game and level of professionalism. And yes, we found the time to catch a couple good movies 

In the 2016-2017 season you played with Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA) playing 33 games averaging 8.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 42.7%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 57.9%. You were teammates with French player David Michineau who was drafted in the NBA. Does it surprise you that he hasn’t reached the yet?

I had the opportunity to play with Dave two seasons in a row and he is still a good friend of mine until this day. Dave definitely has an amazing work ethic and has increased his abilities each year. He wasn’t NBA ready at the time he was drafted, but I believe he is now.

In the 2015-2016 season you balled with Saint-Quentin Basket-Ball (France-ProB) playing 35 games averaging 14.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 58.4%. Talk a bit about your first season in France and how you were able to develop further as a player in France?

Pro B France is undoubtedly an under appreciated league and it was key to my development as a player. I learned what it was to be double teamed in that league and had to navigate against every defensive scheme in the book. It was an extremely beneficial year for me

In your second professional season you split time with : Maccabi Raanana (Israel-National League) playing 11 games averaging 20.8ppg, 8.4rpg, 2.5apg, 2FGP: 48.4%, 3FGP: 42.4%, FT: 58.1%, in Jan.’15 moved to Atomeromu SE Paks (Hungary-A Division) playing 31 games averaging 13.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 42.7%, FT: 62.9%. What memories do you have of playing for two teams and what was your wake up call to being overseas for the first time where you knew that you were very far away from home?

I learned more about culture, family, community and money from Israel than I did basketball and I don’t mean that in a negative light. Israel was a great place for my first stop because the people there are great to the players and I learned how to value family and money there. The team that I played with in Hungary was possibly the most gifted offensive team that I’ve ever played with. I started at the 3 position on that team, Jarrod Jones was at the 4 and Henry Dugat at the 1. I believe we would have won the title that year, but we had 5 players injured down the stretch. Nonetheless, great experience with a great group of guys. I have never been someone to get too home sick, social media makes it easy for us nowadays.

As a rookie you played with the : Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) playing 33 games averaging 8.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 51.3%. What kind of experience was it playing in the D-League and being close to the NBA?. Do you sometimes wonder what kind of stats you might put up today?

The D league was the only wasted year of my career. I started off that season averaging around 16 points and 8 rebounds after the first ten games. Then my minutes were cut in half by players that I was absolutely dominating day in and out in practice. There are a lot of politics in the D league and I wish I elected not to go

You played with some NBA guys like Deandre Liggins and Justin Hamilton. When you look back at that time do you feel like a lot was missing from being an NBA type player?

Deandre Liggins is the hardest working in practice player I’ve ever been around. He is not that talented, but I had the utmost respect for how he approached every practice and game. Justin Hamilton is also a true professional, amazing player and a great man. I still keep in contact with him. I had the skill set and the drive to be an NBA player at the time, but my IQ and understanding of what they wanted out of me wasn’t there yet.

You also played at the 2013 and 2014 NBA Summer League with the Pistons and Timberwolves. Did you ever get positive feedback from NBA personal during the 2 summers and did you meet any big time players?

Yes, the Pistons and the Spurs both called my agent on draft day and considered drafting me. I had multiple workouts with both teams. I enjoyed my summer league experiences, but didn’t receive much opportunity. The Pistons were very high on me going into camp before summer league, but I had an awful showing. And the Timberwolves brought me in as a favor. I showed very well in camp, but they were never considering bringing me on board. I’ve played with or against probably 50% of the league at one time or another.

You played for Wisconsin (NCAA) from 2009-2013. How much did it mean to you leaving the school with the most games played at 138?

Wisconsin was and still is a very special place to me. It was an honor to leave with the most games played because it speaks to the winning consistency that we sustained during that time.

You reached the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Sweet 16. Which run remained more memorable?

The sweet 16 in 2012 was the most memorable to me because I has a big role on that team and I was extremely constant that season. I was also sharing the floor with guys that I came in with and admire until this day.

What do you remember most from the tough 64-63 loss to Syracuse at the big dance?

I remember that I wasn’t in the last possession and I’m still pissed about that

What memories do you have of Jon Leuer? Was he the kind of player that instantly had an impact on you?

Jon is a good friend of mine until this day. He is consistent on the floor and in his life. Truly a great person and someone I respect on and off the court. And yes, he is the first player that taught me great offense beats great defense

How did head coach Bo Ryan groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Ryan taught me how to win and use the entire team to accomplish that.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Jared Uthoff?

I would beat Jared Uthoff in one on one all day, every day. He was way to skinny at that time. But I would still put a lot of money on myself today

Did he have NBA potential when you first saw him?

Jared is an extremely talent player with great touch and IQ. I’m not sure I would have pictured him in the league when I played with him. But I know he worked extremely hard and I believe he deserves to be there now

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that went to the NBA?

Probably Kyle Singler or Draymond Green

Please name your 5 best teammates off all-time?

Jon Leuer, Jarrod Jones, Jordan Taylor, Frank Kaminsky and Michel Diouf

Please construct your personal own NBA Rushmore of past and present players?

Lebron, MJ, Shaq, Curry and Durant 

Who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

MJ is the greatest and Lebron is the most valuable

What was the last movie that you saw?

Birds of Prey with my Fiancee

Thanks Ryan for the chat.

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