Brackins Talks World University Games

Iowa State star forward Craig Brackins has returned from Serbia and gives this exclusive interview to Cyclone Sports Report on bringing home a bronze medal, his time with Lucca Staiger, his overall play, and his problems with the food.

Cyclone Sports Report: What are your thoughts on bringing home a bronze medal back to the United States?

Craig Brackins: It was a little disappointing because we beat both Serbia and Russia during the games. The tough thing was that we weren't liked much out there. I was pretty shocked at how much they hated us. We should have beat Russia but we just made poor decisions and we really just killed ourselves. All of our missed free throws really kicked us in the butt.

CSR: How tough was it adjusting to the international rules?

CB: It was so hard and for the first three or four games we really struggled adjusting to them. The frustrating thing that really bothered us was that it was like an advantage for them. They would take the international extra step and nothing would get called but when we did they would call traveling. It was almost like we were playing with American rules and they got to play with international rules. We eventually just got going and played some really good basketball but it was definitely pretty tough to have to deal with.

CSR: How much time did you get to spend with Lucca Staiger?

CB: About a few hours a day and I would say that it was mostly at night. It was just great to hang out with my teammate because we used to room together freshman year and we're pretty close. We just laughed and talked about this upcoming year and were just there for each other. It was nice because he introduced me to his teammates and I introduced him to mine. I didn't see him at the end because he left early to go home.

CSR: What were you most happy about with your play during the games?

CB: I would say my rebounding especially considering how physical the play was over there. I had a lot of offensive rebounds and tipped in a lot of shots. I also was happy with how I guarded on the perimeter when I played out there.

CSR: What were you not happy about with your play during the games?

CB: I didn't do to well when I had to guard some of the big guys in the post. Some of them outweighed me by some forty pounds and at times I got out of position or I got in early foul trouble. I just have to play with more balance and cut them off.

CSR: Coach Bo Ryan is known for his funny sense of humor. Did you notice that and what was it like playing for him?

CB: He's a very funny guy off the court. He's real old school and says some things that we just laughed at because we had no idea what he meant. He loves to tell stories and talk about Philadelphia because that is where he is from. He's a real smart coach who sometimes could see what was going to happen beore it actually did and he really loved to teach. I can definitely take a lot from him I and I feel that I learned a lot playing for him. He said that he thinks I have a really bright future which I thought was nice.

CSR: Was it tough adjusting to playing a lot less minutes than you are used to?

CB: No because I knew it was going to be like that. Everyone started one to two games and I just told myself to do whatever to help the team. It really never mattered who was in because the whole team was full of talent.

CSR: Was there a player or two that you really bonded with during your time in Serbia?

CB: I already knew Trevor Booker (Clemson) and Deon Thompson (North Carolina) so it was good to be with those guys over there but the guys that I didn't know that I probably hung out with the most were James Anderson (Oklahoma State), Lazar Hayward (Marquette), and Robbie Hummel (Purdue). James is really a funny guy and I joked with him that when Oklahoma State comes to Hilton this year that they are going to have a hard time. Overall, our whole team was a bunch of good guys and no one was really separate of the group.

CSR: How did you enjoy the food over there during your trip?

CB: We really struggled with the food. It was funny because Robbie loves to eat and so we had him test things out and if he wasn't eating something then we weren't eating it. There was a mall near us that had McDonalds and KFC and I can't tell you how many chicken strips I ate at KFC. Trevor and I also found some rice and chicken at a sushi place but that got old quick so overall the food wasn't really too good.

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