Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's All About PT, PPG and AARP for R.J. Evans

A solid, 67-49 win for UConn tonight over scrappy Vermont. Nothing scintillating, nothing bad. The Huskies got balanced scoring and played strong defense, but did get outrebounded (39-32) by the Catamounts.

Let's talk R.J. Evans tonight. The Holy Cross transfer and grad student scored 11 points off the bench on 5-for-5 shooting, grabbed a few rebounds, swiped a couple of steals and just provided that solid overall game that's quickly becooming his trademark.

"He's just stabilizer, a guy that I can look to being consistent," said Kevin Ollie. "I know what I'm going to get form R.J. I'm going to get intensity, I'm going to get him to play hard, I'm going to get him to play unselfishily. And, he's a grown man. I mean, he's been through this before. And he's on a big stage now and I think he's relishing the moment. It's just his time to play."

Said Evans: “I see my role as whatever coach tells me to do. When I go on the court, I’m going to play my hardest, help my team.”

A starter and double-digit scorer at Holy Cross, Evans said the transition to being a role player off the bench hasn't been tough at all.

“It’s not much of an adjustment. It’s going out and playing basketball, which I love. I’m a team player, so it dpoesn’t matter if I play two minutes or 30 minutes, just as long as my team wins.”

Evans, 22, is the elder statesman of the team ("They ask me if I've signed up for AARP yet," he quipped). Still, Ollie mentioned a couple of weeks ago that it might have been a challenge for a kid from Holy Cross and the Patriot League to establish himself as a leader on a Big East squad.

Evans said he's never encountered a challenge to his leadership.

“I wasn’t expecting to come in here and everybody start respecting me," he said. "I felt I had to earn my respect, just like every freshman does. I just pictured myself as a freshman. I had to earn my respect from all the players, through hardwork and dedication in the preseason. Right now, we all respect each other, and that’s a good thing we’ve got going.”

Good kid (or man), good player. You win with guys like R.J. Evans.

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