Reggie Evans " It doesn't matter. There is no guarantee I am going play a lot. It's actually probably going be a bit funny. To see them in their new uniforms. There was no bad blood, it was a good business decision for both teams. It wasn't nothing bad, I have a good relationship with all my ex-teammates, with Ed Stepfanski and Ed Snyder, they were all good to me and my family. It was just business, you can't let that affect a friendship that I had with that organization and everyone there. They will be missed and not forgotten and they treated me first class and I did the same. "
When you watch Reggie play on the court and then talk with him it is quite the contrast. He is nice and friendly guy outside the lines. But when that ball went up on Saturday he was aggressive and physical. He just plays the game a certain way. Raptor fans point back to the days of Charles Oakley and what he brought to the Raptors and see some of that in Reggie. I was curious to see what Reggie thought of the comparison. He said, " I don't compare myself to him, he shot a lot of jumpers." But beyond that I asked if he saw comparison in terms of the way they played the game with aggression and toughness. Reggie said to that, " Attitude and toughness.... I can see that. I respect his game a lot. He is definitely a guy I respect a lot. It's a cool comparison." Reggie seemed to be happy about the fact that fans would think of him in those terms.
Reggie Evans "It feels good for the fans to embrace me like that and to have fans compare me to someone like that. He was a great NBA player and had longevity in the league. It just showed me how much people in Canada appreciate the game of basketball and the Raptors. To see how they have embraced me and the team, it makes you feel really good and makes you want to work harder for not just the people in Toronto but in all of Canada."
It seems pretty clear based on the skills he brings to the table that Reggie could become a fan favourite if he is not already. He mentioned how he has learned since getting here how big hockey is here. Well in hockey terms Reggie Evans is like the enforcer for this Raptors squad. A roll that he embraces and enjoys. There had been talk for years that Raptors were soft. Reggie Evans now is the answer to that. It is clear that Raptors will not get pushed around anymore without a response coming from Reggie Evans. There is also a hope that some of that tough attitude and play will rub off on some others on this team. In talking with Reggie I asked him if his teammates were learning from him in those terms.
Reggie Evans " It's been going good. A lot of my teammates are going hard at me. That is a good sign, it all gets started in practice. I really can't complain. Hopefully it rubs off and stays that way through pre-season and through the regular season and into the playoffs. Hopefully it can be really contagious."
That last part in saying playoffs is something that sounds really good. Jarrett Jack is also bringing some much needed defensive attitude to the back court as well. He made one play in the scrimmage where he jumped a passing lane and went into the crowd trying to make a steal. Reggie Evans in that scrimmage was bumping people and carving out space to get on the glass. I really think Reggie is going to be a difference maker not just in his play but in what it will mean for this team as a whole. They will need his rebounding and toughness coming off the bench. Reggie Evans brings his lunch bucket to work everyday. He is a really nice guy off the floor but in between those lines you better beware. Thankfully I never have to do that. I wish Reggie all the best in his quest to bring toughness back to the T-dot. It was great to get a chance to talk with him.
Reggie and the rest of the Raps will be in London tomorrow to take on the Sixers. Wednesday I will be doing a feature on Raptors rookie Demar Derozan. So make sure you check that out and coverage of the first game of the Raps pre-season. The live blog from training camp broke a record for the Dino Nation Blog on Cover It Live so thanks to all of you that made that happen.
Oh and one last thing, make sure to follow Reggie on Twitter. he is @ReggieEvans30 and before we every met he gave me the heads up on the weather in Ottawa. Thanks to Reggie for his time and Jim LaBumbard and his staff for the chance to cover camp in Ottawa. It was a great experience and one that would be a dream for any fan of this team. I may cover the team but I still like to consider myself a fan as well. It was a great experience both professionally and from that perspective as well.