Brownlee Prepares for Farewell

Iowa's lone senior basketball player, Jack Brownlee, will be honored during a postgame ceremony Wedneday when the Hawkeyes wrap up the home portion of their regular season schedule. Positive news regarding the program has been scarce recently, but this former walk-on from Fort Dodge shined brightly during a Q&A session with the media on Monday. "At first I was just hoping to get on the team. I didn't care about getting minutes. I just wanted to be a part of the Iowa basketball family."

Jack Brownlee

How did it turn out that you lived with the four freshmen?

Jeff, Greg and Adam, who I lived with last year, decided to move other places. I was going to move another place, but they sublease for the summer so it ended up being the old guy with the new guys.

I kind of showed them the ropes and kind of told them what to expect from Big Ten basketball, expectations and all that. Most of these guys are really learning and they're showing it on the court.

Can you share some of what you told them?

I just told them that it's a grind; basketball is a grind. It's not like high school. It's fun, but it's not all fun and games. You've got to really work hard on the court and off of the court. You're in the spotlight all of the time. People are going to be watching for you. You've got to keep that in mind when you're away from the court.

Are you interested in getting into coaching or teaching?

I love basketball. In April I'm really going to look at what I'm going to do. I think that I have a decent sense of the game. I'm going to keep that option open when I'm done.

What does it mean to you to put on an Iowa jersey?

Growing up, I came to all of these games with my dad. I just loved Iowa basketball. I thought it was so neat when I'd go to camps and I could talk to these guys.

I keep that in mind when I'm working camps. I like to hang out with the little kids because it meant so much to me when I was a little kid.

But this was just great. It's just been a great opportunity for me. I'm so blessed to be able to do it.

When you got out of St. Edmond was it in your mind when you went to Kirkwood that you'd eventually end up at Iowa?

In the back of my mind always growing up I've always thought that I was going to end up here. I'm going to work hard enough to end up as a Hawkeye.

I was fortunate enough to have a great coach at Kirkwood who knew some of the coaching staff here who out the good word in. He told them I'm a hard worker. I've had fortunate events lead up to me being a part of this team.

Did you have to have a different mindset to come here as a walk-on? You knew that you weren't going to play a lot and be fodder in practice.

Well, at first I was just hoping to get on the team. I didn't care about getting minutes. I just wanted to be a part of the Iowa basketball family. Once I completed that, once I got here, then my mind changed. I wanted to play. I wanted to raise my goals. I've been working towards that.

Has it been hard not really playing up until the last few games?

It's been real tough on me. Everywhere else I've played I've started and played the majority of the games. It was different for me, and it's still tough. Sometimes when the other team is making a run I wish I could be out there trying my best to help.

But that's just how basketball is. Everybody has to know their roles. Once everybody understands their roles, the team will be much more successful.

What will it be like when you come out on the court one last time on Wednesday?

I've been here three years. It's been crazy. It's gone so fast.

My mind will be focused towards Ohio State. Once that buzzer sounds at the end and I'll never be on this court again, it's crazy. I never thought this day would come, so it will be pretty emotional.

Who were your Hawkeye heroes growing up?

My favorite all-time player would probably be Andre Woolridge. But when I first started watching when I was real little it was B.J.. Armstrong and those sort of guys. I loved watching those guys play.

I've just always enjoyed watching the point guard for Iowa every year.

What was last game like for you? You were on the court a lot and involved.

That was a lot of fun. Penn State was probably my best time as a Hawkeye just because I got to contribute to a win and a good environment in the locker room afterwards. It was a lot of fun.

If I play against Ohio State, that's great. I'm going to try my hardest. If I don't, I understand. I'm just a player that will do anything for the team as long as we have success.

What were the circumstances and timing when you found out you'd be on scholarship this year?

I thought there would be one available for me. I didn't expect it. That was a great thing (Iowa Coach Steve Alford) did for myself and my family.

I know that it pays for a lot of things. But it's not only that. It's his gratitude towards me of all of the hard work I've put in for two years. That's more of the reason I respected it and what I liked about it.

Did it make you feel like you were even more of a legitimate part of the program?

The coaches and the players make everyone as if everyone is on scholarship. The difference was that this year in practice I felt like I needed to work even that much harder to earn my scholarship because I didn't necessarily earn it in the court in minutes.

Have you thought about what you're going to say on Wednesday?

No. Some of these players have been giving me some grief about it saying that I need to write a speech. I doubt I'll write that. I'll probably just go off of emotion and see what comes into my head.

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