Ryan Evans working on perimeter game for NBA teams

Former University of Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans has maintained his optimism this offseason about his chances of landing with an NBA team. And while he possesses the size and athleticism to compete at such a level, Evans also realizes he’ll need to show teams his shooting touch is better than in his final season with the Badgers.
“The one thing they know I can do is play defense and rebound,” Evans told reporters in Minnesota on Thursday at the Timberwolves’ pre-draft workout. “But I’m also trying to emphasize my outside game. I didn’t do that much throughout college, but that’s always been where I was comfortable at, playing on the perimeter. So just being able to go and really show that has felt good.
“Perimeter game is always something I’ve been comfortable doing. It’s what I always work on during the summer.”
Unfortunately for Evans, the statistics suggest he found anything but a comfort zone last season when it came to shooting.
Evans started all 35 games as a senior at Wisconsin and averaged 10.1 points with a team-best 7.3 rebounds. But his shooting percentages dipped to head-scratchingly low numbers. He shot just 39.5 percent from the field overall, including 8.3 percent on 3-pointers (2 for 24). Evans also connected on only 42.6 percent of his free throws (63 for 148).
In his Wisconsin career, Evans made 13 of 70 3-point tries (18.5 percent).
Still, Evans could potentially find his way onto an NBA summer league roster and demonstrate his strengths. The 6-foot-6, 212-pound small forward is athletic, long, a solid defender and rebounder and able to battle in the post. He finished second on Wisconsin’s team last season in blocked shots (28) and third in assists (70).
If nothing else, NBA teams have expressed an interest in Evans’ abilities. His workout in Minnesota represented his third pre-draft workout — he already worked out with Phoenix and Milwaukee — and he had another session scheduled Friday in Washington. In total, he said he would participate in seven workouts for NBA teams.
Evans isn’t listed on any mock drafts as a projected top-60 selection, so he’ll likely have to find his way in the pros through free agency.
“I don’t know what anything’s looking like, but I’m always optimistic,” Evans said. “I’ve got some good feedback from teams that I’ve worked out with thus far, and I’ve got a couple teams that I’m going to be visiting again that asked me to come back, so that’s always positive.”
Evans is currently enrolled in a graduate educational leadership and policy analysis program at Wisconsin. But he is happily putting his studies on hold, at least for the moment.
“I’m focused on basketball right now,” Evans said. “But that’s definitely something I would like to get finished up with when the time comes. Hopefully not for a while.”
FOXSportsNorth.com’s Phil Ervin contributed to this story.

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