Reggie Evans has fashioned his NBA career in the physical, hustle-and-muscle mold he fit when he led coach Steve Alford’s Hawkeyes in 2001-02. The Pensacola, Fla., native went undrafted after his productive yet raw stretch at Iowa, catching on for his rebounding prowess.
In his 11th season, the 6-foot 8-inch power forward has never rebounded better. Evans has helped the Brooklyn Nets earn the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, home-court advantage against Chicago. The Register caught up with Evans after his career-best regular season and before Brookyln hosted the Bulls on Saturday night.
DMR: You’ve always been a force on the glass, but how would describe the upswing your career has taken at 32 years old?
RE: It’s all about making sure you eat healthy as you get older and never taking too much time off as you get older. You have to make sure you still work out, whether it’s running, lifting, or in the gym, but I don’t spend 5 or 6 hours doing that anymore. Knowing that you’ve been a role player for so long, you’ve only been given a certain amount of minutes, and now I’m playing a lot of minutes, it’s an opportunity I want to take advantage of.
DMR: Do you feel like your 11th season has been your best season?
RE: It feels good knowing what the team was in the past that I’m part of helping the team get to this point.
DMR: Who is the best rebounder you’ve faced this season?
RE: I like Zach Randolph. He’s not athletic and he’s not the highest jumper. I feel like a lot of these guys that are in the top for rebounds are so damn tall and have long arms, or they just can jump high as hell. Zach is all hard work and the grind, and I love that.
DMR: You’ve spoken on the record about a teammate’s questioning of your offensive game leading to your increased aggresiveness. I’m curious how much you’ve used slights like that throughout your career.
RE: Keeping an edge is just a personal thing. That’s just a motivational tool that I try to use for myself. The older you get, you want to prove to yourself that you can play with the young guys at a high level. I challenge myself to do that.
DMR: You played some huge games for the Hawkeyes in the United Center in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament, and you’re going back there for this series against Chicago. What’s your affection for that building?
RE: Back then we had a chip on our shoulder and those games could have been in a fieldhouse and we still would have been ready. I do love the United Center, though, because how can you not like the place where your favorite player played in — MJ (Michael Jordan).
DMR: How closely did you follow the Hawkeyes’ NIT run a few weeks ago?
RE: I was frustrated because we had to be on the road and I couldn’t go to the games. I was pissed off that night. I wanted to go so damn bad, but my schedule would not fit. Knowing my team and my school was playing the finals in the same city, I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to take my son and show him. Whenever I can I tried to follow them. They’re still on the way up and making progress. I try and do my best to keep my ear to their situation.
DMR: What did you make of coach Steve Alford’s move to UCLA and how his introductory statements were handled?
RE: To be honest, I was just really excited for him, his wife and his kids. I was just excited, because I’m looking forward to hooking up with him when I get to Los Angeles. I think it will be a good but challenging situation for him, and I think UCLA did a good job picking a great coach. He did a very good job at New Mexico.
DMR: Is it ever an issue supporting the Hawkeyes and coach Alford knowing how many Iowans felt about his departure?
RE: I can’t do nothing about how other people respond to him. I’m my own man and that’s my coach. At the end of the day, we had two great years together and beyond that, he taught me how it is to be a father and husband. That’s my coach. I’m always going to pull for him. I like UCLA now, and I liked New Mexico when he was there, but I’m still black-and-gold all day. I’m a Hawkeye for life. I’ve got it tattooed on my body, so I’ve gotta be black-and-gold all day.
DMR: One last thing; did you get your tooth back from the scoring table against Charlotte (on April 6)?
RE: Nah, I didn’t get it back, but I got my teeth fixed after the game. I’m all good and I got my Kodak smile back right after the game.
–First in NBA in offensive, defensive, and total rebounding rate.
–Double-digit rebounds in 22 of last 23 games.
–Led Big Ten Conference in rebounding in his two seasons at Iowa.
–Stint with Brooklyn Nets is sixth NBA stop in 11-year career.
19.7 mpg, 4.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg
24.6 mpg, 4.5 ppg, 11.1 rpg
Since March 1
28.8 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 15.7 rpg
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball