The Byrd Cage

Byrd Brains: The Evan Bradds Interview

In Interviews on January 16, 2014 at 9:54 am

Editor’s Note: The ‘Byrd Brains’ Interview Series kicks off again this season as we sit down with freshman forward, Evan Bradds who in his first year as a Bruin, has already won Freshman of the Week honors from the OVC, while averaging nearly 10 pts and 4 boards a game off the bench. Get cozy and follow along as we talk acoustic guitars, Coach Byrd’s apparent disdain for Lipscomb, James Michael McAdoo, and Evan’s insane Twitter habit.

BC = Byrd Cage

EB= Evan Bradds

BC: Evan explain for Bruin fans your role on the court in high school – what position did you play and what kind of system did you play in.

EB: When I was in high school I probably played more…I probably played everything to be honest. Like at the beginning of the game I would do the jump ball, then I’d go back and get the ball, and then run the point. I played a lot of positions and it just depended on who was in the game. My freshman year I played more of the four, then my sophomore year I played the one and I kind of stayed at the one for a long time.

BC: Well, where are you most comfortable playing?

EB: I like playing on the wing a lot. Just, being in transition, driving to the hole, pick-and-roll, that kind of thing.

BC: Explain to Belmont fans what its like to be recruited by Rick Byrd? What made you pick Belmont over the other schools interested in you?

EB: Well, Coach Byrd has been here for a long time and my situation was a little bit different because I committed to one school and the coach left, so I was really looking for a coach that would be there for all four years.

BC: What school was that? I didn’t know that.

EB: It was Ohio University.

BC: Oh, ok. [editor’s note: good choice Evan] Well, Belmont is a pretty unique place, you’re going to see a lot of guys playing a lot of acoustic guitars. How have you been handling that?

EB: Yeah its really different from my home town. I’m from a small town in Ohio – like a very small town. I wasn’t really used to it. So I’m adjusting somewhat to some of the acoustic guitars.

BC: What do you think of Nashville so far? What’s the most fun thing you’ve done while in town?

EB: Oh yeah, I have loved it. That is one of the reasons I came here. Nashville as a city is just amazing. There’s just so much to do, and so many places to go out and have fun with your friends and just go out to eat. Its awesome.

BC: What did you think your roll was going to be on this team before the season started – having played so many positions in high school. How has it changed?

EB: At the beginning [of the season] I didn’t really know. I had a feeling I would probably play on the wing but I’ve begun to play a lot of post – but whatever I can do to help the team, that’s all I really care about.

BC: Yeah you’ve played against some pretty big guys down low – had you had any experience in high school playing big guys.

EB: Not really. I was usually the bigger guy. I was playing in a small town against small schools. Coming up against another kid who was as tall as me – just didn’t happen that often. I mean, we had football players that weren’t as big as the guys I’ve been playing against.

BC: So lets talk about the redshirts on the team, you & Nick were the two incoming freshmen that decided not to redshirt – what went into your decision to play and what all goes into that process?

EB: I would have [redshirted] if that’s what Coach wanted me to do but Coach never talked to me about it. I mean, I would have if he had said something to me about it.

BC: It seems like there are a lot red-shirts on the team right now – which guys on the bench do you think Bruins fans should be most excited about and why?

EB: I think we all have our special skills. We’ve got a big man Tyler Hadden, my roommate, who is just a really big kid and he is just getting better and better every day in practice. Then Taylor Barnette the transfer from Virginia…he shoots lights out – him and Burton Sampson. They can just stroke the ball. Then Austin is another point gaurd Coach Byrd found in Texas and he is just a good player who just works his butt off everyday in practice – its awesome. They work really hard.

BC: You mentioned Tyler Hadden – he looks like the most coordinated big that Belmont has had in a long time [ever?]. Do you get to play against him in practice?

EB: Yeah he’s really big and really skilled too. He can step out and hit a three if need be, but he can hold his own in the post. So he’s got a lot of talents that I think will help us a lot.

BC: It will be exciting to see how these guys come off the bench and contribute next year. At the beginning of this season, you were really racking up the fouls under the new rules. How hard has it been to learn a new system AND a new set of basketball rules. What has been the most difficult for you?

EB: I mean it really is tough.  A lot of the rules I thought would impact the guards rather than the bigs, but the forwards and the centers – even all around the country – have been getting into foul trouble. I think the first couple games – especially the Lipscomb game – I think I had more fouls than minutes. Its been tough to adjust, but staying straight up is probably the biggest thing that Coach Byrd has preached to us. Just staying straight up and not hacking and whoever’s on the wing – you can’t hand check – which has hurt us a lot.

BC: Yeah, you basically can’t touch your guy right?

EB: Yeah, its really tough especially when their guards are super super quick. Its tough to keep them in front of you.

BC: I wonder what they were trying to accomplish with those rules. I mean, I heard they were trying to speed up the game but it seems like (at least for now) it has slowed it down with all these fouls.

EB: Yeah, especially in that first game. It felt like it took forever. It was like a 3 hour game.

BC: When we hear Coach Byrd talk about you, he seems to highly regard your abilities – what do you think you are doing right?

EB: I just do whatever they ask. I just try to play my hardest every time I step out on the court and I try to get as many rebounds as possible. I think now I’m going more into the post and creating for some of the other guys so that’s what I’ve been trying to do as much as possible.

BC: So you were OVC freshman of the week last week – do you get a trophy or something? What is involved with that?

EB: No, you just get a slap on the back from the coaches and all the guys.

[Editor’s note: OVC, give the boys trophies! THEY’RE GOOD BOYS]

BC: What aspect of your game do you think you have to improve on most as the season progresses?

EB: Probably my jumpshot. I mean, its not awful but just the guys that I’m around – they just shoot the lights out sometimes so I think that’s the biggest part of my game I have to work on. That and gaining a little weight.

BC: Do you have a goal weight-wise or are you just trying to put on as much as possible?

EB: I probably want to gain another 10-15 lbs. Whatever is healthy for me.

BC: Did you see the video of the SIU coach going off about how his wife has better shot fake than his big guys?

(its all worth a watch but 2:50 is what we are refering to)

EB: Yeah I heard that.

BC: You might have one of the more skilled uses of a shot fake that I’ve seen from a Belmont player. Has that always been a part of your game or have you had to develop that a bit more playing at the five?

EB: Well, in high school I could just shoot over everybody which was a little bit easier, but when you go up against guys like James Michael McAdoo and all those dudes – they’re a lot bigger and a lot more athletic than me so I have to use the ball fake so it doesn’t end up in the third row.

BC: Yeah in the period of about 10 months you went from playing your last high school game in Ohio to beating University of North Carolina – talk about that experience – what made it so special for you.

EB: Yeah that was just incredible. I mean leading up to the game, I was just so excited. The whole team was excited. We got to go to one of the more historic gyms in the country. We felt honored just to be there. Then we went in there and played so well in that game. They probably weren’t playing at their best, but still, we went in there and won and it was just amazing.

BC: Do you remember what Coach Byrd said to you guys after you won that game?

EB: It was so crazy  – I was still in shock over what had just happened but I remember him saying something like, this game was a huge win but we have to focus on the next game when we play at Lipscomb. He said he’d rather beat Lipscomb at home than North Carolina away.

“he said what?”

BC: Wow that’s a pretty big statement! Moving along here – You are a pretty prolific twitter user,  dude! I’m sorry to say – we had to stop following you! We couldn’t keep up! Have you guys ever tried to get Coach Byrd to join twitter?

EB: I’m not asking him to [laughs].That would be pretty funny.

BC: I mean, even like a ‘Things Coach Byrd Says” handle would be hilarious. I’m sure he would not like that though.

EB: [laughs] Probably not.

BC: Having you and Reece injured for the second SDSU game made for the most shorthanded Belmont team we’ve seen in a while. Tell us the story of how you hurt your ankle – do you have a history of ankle injuries?

EB: Well, no. Earlier in the year, like a week and a half before practice had even started at the beginning of the season, I just stepped wrong and stepped on someone’s foot and rolled my ankle. Not too terribly bad. Then that day we were supposed to play Fairfield, we were practicing a post drill and I just came down and it kind of gave out on me. This one was way worse. Unfortunately, I had to sit out of the next game. It was terrible because I just wanted to be out there but I came back the next game and it didn’t seem like I did anything playing hurt. I just got to keep fighting through it.

BC: How’s the ankle now?

EB: It’s pretty much better now. It’s still a little swollen but for the most part, its pretty good.

BC: Yeah you posted a picture of it – it looked terrible.

EB: Yeah it looked like someone put a softball in my ankle for a little bit. It was really nasty.

BC: You guys square up against a pretty impressive offense in SEMO tomorrow, what has Coach Byrd tried to get you guys to focus on defensively leading up to this game?

EB: Just how talented they are. We don’t want to underestimate them in any way. I know we won’t but I know a lot of them like to drive the ball so we’ve been practicing guarding catches and drives, trying to keep the ball out of the middle.

BC: Well its been great talking to you hopefully we’ll get many more chances to talk while you’re at Belmont.

– @kylerwilliams

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  4. […] on the floor at the same time, we could be a serious rebounding team – which would be weird. Evan told us last year that Burton and Taylor can shoot the lights out of the Curb. If they’re on the floor at the same time and the Bruins can make that last extra pass in […]

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