Senior Q&A: Josh Owens

As the year winds down for this year's senior class, The Bootleg's Kevin Danna was able to grab a few minutes with each of them as they count down their final games in a Stanford uniform. First up to discuss his life and times on The Farm - Josh Owens!

The Bootleg: Tell me a little bit about your prep school days. What was that decision like to move from Kennesaw to New Hampshire for your high school years?
Josh Owens: Really, it was kind a little bit of a personal decision. I was actually born in New Hampshire, and my parents always knew about Phillips-Exeter Academy, knew it was a great school. And as I got older, they told me about it and I'd always been an independent, adventurous type of guy. And I said "hey, it sounds like a great place. I'll try it out; hopefully get a whole lot of financial aid." It's the only prep school I applied to - got in, got all the financial aid, and the rest is history.

TB: You started out your Cardinal career playing behind the Lopez twins. What were those practices like for you, and what did you learn from them?
JO: I would say that those practices and that whole year was a blessing. Playing behind two future NBA starters and centers was definitely a learning experience. Definitely a change of pace from what it was like playing in high school and knowing what it takes and how good people are at this level.

TB: Your freshman year was the last time Stanford has made the Big Dance. What was it like going through that experience as a freshman, having the dunk against Cornell in the first round, beating Marquette in dramatic fashion, and going to the Sweet 16?
JO: *smiling* that was an experience in itself. Like I said, the whole year was a learning experience, but when we got to the point of making it to the tournament, that's when I started to realize what it took, being a part of such a great team like that, not necessarily playing a whole bunch, you realizes what it takes as a team to make it that far.

TB: How much were you able to appreciate it?
JO: *still smiling* I appreciated it a whole bunch even though I wasn't playing a whole bunch. I knew it was something special to go to the tournament. When I was younger watching the tournament, I always knew it was something special, and it was great.

TB: You had to sit out a year with that undisclosed medical condition. What was it like for you having to watch from the sidelines?
JO: That was probably the toughest year definitely basketball-wise of my life up to this point. But I definitely think it was a blessing in disguise. Sitting out gives you definitely a deeper appreciation of the game. But it gave me a chance to go out and support my teammates full-fledged as much as I could and just keeping hope and praying that I would be back on the court soon.

TB: Did the thought creep into your head that you may not be able to play basketball again?
JO: Early on when everything was up in the air and I didn't really know what was going on as much; of course, that's something that could be in the back of your head. But I treated every day as if I was going to be back on the court at some point, so I kept working out on my own, doing skill development and basketball stuff on my own, just in case I got the word that "hey, you can go back on that court" that I'd be ready.

TB: What was going through your head when you got the news that you could play ball again?
JO: *back to smiling* When I got the news, it was great after waiting so long. It was just great to hear. It was nice just to know that having faith and sticking to it paid off. And just being ready for that moment.

TB: On the court, you're known for your athleticism and monster dunks. For us mere mortals, what goes through your mind and what's it like to have those throw downs like you had against Arizona State and USC this year?
JO: It's funny because…When I was younger when I got a dunk, I'd get really hyped and I'd get really excited. Now I'll get a dunk and a lot of times I'll be like, oh, it's just two points. And whether it's during a timeout or whether it's after the game or the next day in practice, one of my teammates would say "man, that dunk was so crazy! You got all in this guy's face!" And a lot of times I'm like, "oh, I did?" *laughs* I don't really notice it when I'm up there; I just consider it another play.

TB: You're also one of the most effective scorers on the block in the conference. Your left shoulder has always been pretty killer, but this past year or so you've added that spin off the right shoulder. What did you do to improve your repertoire offensively?
JO: Just always looking for ways to get better. Working with Coach Davey for the last four years now, he's been great. He's a great teacher of the game; he has spent a lot of time teaching it - 30-plus years or so. I've always looked to him for guidance and he has always been great and telling me ways to diversify my game.

TB: Once your Cardinal career is finished, where are you thinking of playing professionally, or is pro hoop even on your list?
JO: I'd love to play pro basketball. Obviously, the NBA is a dream, playing here in the states. But if that doesn't work out, I wouldn't mind doing a bit of travelling for a few years. But after sitting out that year made me realize how much I definitely love the game. I definitely knew at that point that I wanted to play as long as I could because it could be taken away at any point.

TB: Once your playing career is finished, what do you see yourself doing?
JO: Possibly coming back here to do business school.

TB: The Mark Madsen path?
JO: Yeah, maybe the Mark Madsen path. He has been a great friend, getting to know him a little better these last couple of years. So yeah, I think that's a possibility, but who knows what will happen.

TB: What has his influence been on you?
JO: He has just been a great role model, watching his path. He played for some great Stanford teams here, went to the NBA and won a couple of championships, and then had the character to say "I'm not finished. There are more things I want to do." And he came back and he's working on his MBA now.

TB: Still making beats?
JO: A little bit here and there. Now that I'm in grad school, I don't necessarily have as much time to do that as I want. But yeah, when I get some free time, I like to play around on the computer and make some stuff.

TB: Who would you compare yourself to from a producer standpoint?
JO: It all depends on what I'm listening to at the time. But I like to do a little bit of sampling, so mix in some Kanye with maybe mixed with some Lex Luger, but I also like to make some more experimental, alternative-type stuff too.

TB: I'm taking it your goal is to win the Pac-12 tourney and go to the NCAAs. What would it mean to you to return to the NCAA tournament your last year?
JO: It would be full circle for me. Ever since the beginning of the season, I've kind of looked at this team and thought that it reminds me a lot of my freshman year, except that I'm in a complete role-reversal. I'm the fifth-year senior instead of the only freshman. So I think it would be great; I think our program for the last few years has been working really, really hard and we know that we can get there. We know we're capable of getting there and frankly I think that it's a very realistic goal for us, so it would be great and it would be a whole bunch of hard work being paid off.

TB: What was that like - being the only freshman on the team?
JO: Being the only freshman was rough, man *laughs*. At least that freshman summer, being the only freshman was rough. It didn't become clearer to me until the years that passed and I'd see other freshmen classes that would come in and the relationship that people had over freshman summer through that freshman year with a teammate that they knew "he always has my back; he's my go-to, I can hang out with him." I think I developed that relationship a little bit as I got older with Landry. But it's definitely something to be appreciated, and for Chasson, he's lucky that he has a couple of walk-ons he is kind of sharing the experience with. But I just said "always try to learn from the older guys," because they've been there before and you could always learn something from them.

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