Brunner Reacts to Trying Week

A day after fellow captain Pierre Pierce was dismissed from the team, Iowa forward greg Brunner took questions from the media on Thursday. The Charles City native let fans know that the team needs their suuport now more than ever: "You've got look at it like this, we have all of these Iowa boys on this team. They should come support us. That's one thing, you can't totally push away from being a Hawkeye. I've been through a lot of things, and I'm still a Hawkeye."

GREG BRUNNER

What about (Michigan St. center) Paul Davis?

They're a great team. They're going to come in here looking for a win. We've just got to play our game, go out and have fun and play together.

What makes him difficult to guard?

He's very skilled. I played against him growing up in high school. I played against him since my junior year.

Their whole team is like that. They're very competitive. The go out there and they're going to fight for every single win.

Greg, I've got to ask you about going on now without Pierre.

It's hard for us just like it's going to be hard for coach. He was a great asset to the team. He does a lot of great things for us.

But we're still a very talented team. One through five we have guys that can step in and play a vital role. It's just an opporunity for someone else.

Are you disappointed at all that you guys are faced with this?

It's a tough part of the season to go into with a situation like this. Any part of the season would be like this.

Now, we just have to prepare differently. We just have to go out and have somebody else step up.

What coach said to me is that now you can't play 10 minutes of breakdown on defense. You can only have two. (laughter)

Can the chemistry be better on this team now?

He was a great asset to the team. Everybody got along with him great on the team. The chemistry, we've just become closer as a unit and done what we've done the last two years.

Last year we went 9-7 in the Big Ten with six guys. Hopefully we can do the same thing.

Have you talked to Pierre since all this happened?

No. I left him a couple of messages. It's kind of a tough situation for him right now. He's kind of just figuring things out for himself. I'm letting him just be with his family.

I know a couple of the guys have talked to him. So, I know everything is alright with him. Knowing that kind of comforts me.

With all the things that you've been through on this team, do you look back on your career at all with any sense of disappointment at all?

I was born and raised a Hawkeye. I'm glad I'm here and I'm always going to be glad I'm here. Life is always about how you can do when you're put in a situation.

Do you feel Pierre betrayed your trust?

I got that question asked of me yesterday. I don't really know how I want to answer that question. I still haven't really thought about it yet.

It's a yes-no answer, I guess. Pierre could have been in a better situation, could have done something differently. But everything in life is about mistakes.

I don't really know how to answer that question to be honest with you.

When did you guys find out about this?

I didn't find out until Monday. And the coaches didn't find out until either late Sunday or early Monday. I think it was early Monday. So, everybody was in the same boat. I didn't even find out until I watched the news. That's how I found out.

How did coach explain it to you?

He sat us down and talked to us and then had Mr. Bowlsby come in and address us even further. It was a very emotional moment for him. I could tell. Having to dismiss him, they've been through a lot together and we've been through a lot together. It was a tough moment for him. He did the respectable thing. He knew it had to be done. And he handled the situation great.

What was your first reaction when you heard Pierre was involved in an investigation?

I still don't know if it's hit me all of the way. It's a situation like we've handled in the past two years. It's how you handle these situations that prove what you can do in life. We have a great group of guys and a coaching staff. I think we'll be successful without him.

How are you anticipating the fans will handle this?

I don't know. You've got look at it like this, we have all of these Iowa boys on this team. They should come support us.

That's one thing, you can't totally push away from being a Hawkeye. I've been through a lot of things and I'm still a Hawkeye.

We still need the fans support. Hopefully people will come out and watch us.

Do you guys embrace the Michigan State challenge or would you rather have a team that's not as talented as that in this situation?

Every team in the Big Ten is talented. Michigan State has a lot more exceptional players and they can do a lot of great things. We've just got to come out and play the way we've been playing. If we can do that we have a really good chance for a win.

Pierre's name obviously has been tarnished. What would you like people to know about Pierre that maybe they don't know?

Just what a great person he is. He does a lot a lot of great things around here.

People don't understand the pressures that come with basketball. I'm not condoning anything that happened. There's just a lot of pressures that kind of just take over people.

Overall, he's a great person. He's great with kids at all the camps. He does anything to help anybody that's around him.

Did he ever hint to you that he had intentions of going pro next year?

No. I don't think anybody has really ever talked about that on our team. We've all been a unit and talked about this year and next year.

Have you taken on extra responsibility as a captain during this time?

Jeff and I both have. The guys that haven't been around like Mike and Carlton and even the freshmen are starting to step up. They're starting to communicate a lot more. They're starting to understand that everybody has to pick up their roles.

Does having circled the wagons before help you guys right now?

The past two years, we've gone through a lot of things. This is just another situation that hopefully we can persevere through it.

Are you ready for a season where you don't have to deal with something like this?

Yeah. I got one more left. (laughter) We'll be alright.

Can you get to the NCAA Tournament without Pierre?

Yes. Definitely.


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