Q&A with Jontel Evans
Question: What is the biggest difference for you this year as a veteran player on a young team compared to last season when you were one of the few newcomers on a veteran team?
Evans: The biggest difference for me is being more vocal and trying to be more of a leader. I am trying to show these younger guys all the dos and don’ts of playing at this level. I think I am a lot more talkative this year than I was last year.
Question: Early in the season you have been scoring more than you did last season. Was working on becoming more of a scorer something you focused on during the offseason?
Evans: I wasn’t focused on becoming a scorer; I was focused on being able to knock down the open shots when I got them. Last year, a lot of teams played off of me and gave me those looks. I worked hard on my shot so that when I got open looks I could hit them. Overall, my focus in the offseason was working on the little things that will help us win, whether that was shooting, passing, or defending.
Question: Do you feel like you and the other veteran players are more comfortable in the system this year with Coach Bennett in his second season?
Evans: The guys who returned are a lot more comfortable with Coach Bennett’s system this year. Last year, we came in and really didn’t know what to expect. That was even more so for me as a first-year, where everything was new. This year we are more comfortable with the system, and we know what we need to do to be successful in it.
Question: What did you learn from the six-game road trip that will help you as the season progresses?
Evans: We learned that there are going to be some ups and downs, but we have to stay together. It is family first here. We learned a lot about ourselves on that trip. We learned that we can play with anyone when we do things the right way. We also learned that when we don’t do the right things, we could have problems. Overall, it was a great learning experience.
Question: Now that the early season road trip is over, how nice is it to be playing at home for this eight-game homestand?
Evans: It is so nice to be home. We missed playing in front of our fans. We are looking forward to being able to play at JPJ for the next few weeks.
Question: You got a win at Virginia Tech in the ACC opener. What did you learn from last year about what it takes to compete in this conference?
Evans: It takes toughness, attention to detail, and togetherness. You have to play as a team. Everyone has to be locked in and on the same page. That’s what we were able to do at Virginia Tech to get a win and it is what we will need to do to be successful the rest of the season.