Drew Gooden Interview

Here's a portion of an exclusive upcoming Jayhawk Illustrated interview with former Jayhawk, Drew Gooden. Joel asks the tough questions. Drew holds nothing back.

JC: All right Drew, let’s get right into it. Rumor has it you were in Lawrence over the summer taking classes.

DG: It’s no rumor. It’s the truth. I took 8 hours toward my degree. I have some more to go to get my degree. I’m a communications major.

JC: So how was summer school?

DG: Weird. Going to class. Walking on campus again. Very strange, but good. Definitely good.

JC: You weren’t the only one back this summer. Many of your old teammates were back in town as well.

DG: Absolutely. We all love coming back.

JC: Get in any pick-up games?

DG: Of course. It’s great to play with the older guys and the younger guys. It’s important that we come back. I remember when Pierce and Lafrentz came back when I was in school.

JC: How intense are those games?

DG: Ha! Very intense. The young guys want to prove they can play with the NBA guys so they go all out. What they don’t know is that the older guys are just trying to stay in shape in the off-season.

JC: Did you get a chance to play with some of the freshman?

DG: You bet. I was impressed.

JC: Who caught your eye out there?

DG: JR Giddens, for sure. The kid has a tremendous amount of athletic ability. He reminds me of myself.

JC: How so?

DG: Well, he can play (laughs) and he likes to talk. He reminds me of me at that age.

JC: Anyone else impress you?

DG: Jeremy Case. That kid can shoot.

JC: So we hear

DG: It’s true. Jeremy really knows how to shoot the ball.

JC: Did you get a chance to hang with Coach Self at all?

DG: No, not really. I knew him when he was at Illinois though. I’ve always respected him. He’s been successful at so many programs. He’s going to keep things going for the Jayhawks. He’s an excellent hire.

JC: Were you surprised that Coach Williams left?

DG: No, not surprised. I mean, I thought he would stay but when I heard he left, I wasn’t totally surprised. He’s got family in North Carolina, and after having turned it down once. I just don’t think he could do it again. I think his heart was at UNC.

JC: Let’s talk about the final four this year. Were you watching that game wishing you were out there with Kirk and Nick?

DG: Of course. I don’t regret my decision to go to the NBA, but it would have been nice to be out there with my friends.

JC: So if you are out there, do you shut down Carmelo Anthony?

DG: I’d like to think so (laughs) but to be honest. We might not have been in the championship with me on the team. That team worked so hard to get there. It was all about them, but yeah, I would have liked to be there with them.


JC: Your fan club, Club Zero has really taken off. Tell us a little bit about it.

DG: It’s my way of thanking the fans who have stood by me for years. They can join the fan club and get autographed items and such. It’s a good way to stay in touch with me in my career. All the proceeds will go to my foundation, which will help kids in a few communities where I played during my career. My old neighborhood in Oakland, and also in Lawrence. All the money will go to help kids buy uniforms and support their teams.

JC: Your Fan Club has partnered with Phog.net to help promote the Fan Club and your foundation. Why Phog.net?

DG: Phog.net is the top KU website on the net. Why wouldn’t I work with Phog.net? It’s the best way to reach KU fans. We wanted to hook up with the best.

JC: Ever drop by Phog.net?

DG: Of course. I’ve been there plenty. Catching up on the Jayhawks.


JC: There was quite a story about a year ago when a recruit came to town during the summer for a pickup game. The story had it that he really took it to you and was not afraid to tell you about it. Did the kid really school you?

DG: (Laughs) He played well. He talked a lot. He was a good kid. Of course, I had to call a special second session for the next game. The kid never made a basket on day two.

JC: He didn’t end up coming to KU, did he?

DG: No, he sure didn’t.

JC: Lastly, and most importantly…..if you had one more year of eligibility, and the NCAA would let you come back. Where would you play? With Coach Self at KU or with Coach Williams at Carolina.

DG: That’s a great question, but it would be KU no doubt. No doubt about it. KU will always be home.

JC: Thanks Drew.

DG: Anytime.

(Editor's Note: Drew Gooden's fan club, Club Zero, is right here. This story is only a portion of Joel's interview with Drew. The entire Drew Gooden interview will be printed in our the upcoming Basketball Preview edition of "Jayhawk Illustrated" magazine.)

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