Dan Grunfeld Interview & Profile

One of the emerging stories from the Adidas Big Time was Wisconsin wing recruit Dan Grunfeld, who topped the individual game scoring list. He made an equally big splash with his open interest in the Cardinal. He said far more when The Bootleg caught him after a Friends of Hoops game, and we are proud to share that with you now.

Dan Grunfeld - SF/SG
6'5" 190#
Fox Point, WI (Nicollet)
Rising senior - Class of 2002

(Interview during the 2001 Las Vegas Big Time)

The Bootleg: How do you feel you've played in Vegas? You obviously have put up some big numbers.
Dan Grunfeld: I thought it was a good tournament for me and my team. Our objective out here is to win. We lost two of our first three games at the buzzer, and that was tough. But we bounced back and had a good showing. We fought hard, and that's all you can ask for.

The Bootleg: Where did you succeed in showcasing the best of your game?
Dan Grunfeld: I think I just went out and played hard. That's really where it all comes from. Today, I didn't play as well as I could - I didn't have as much energy. When you play with energy, good things happen. I know I can shoot the ball and put it on the floor - and I did that - but I think when you come at and play hard, good things will happen.

The Bootleg: Particularly in the game where you scored 45, what clicked for you in that game?
Dan Grunfeld: You know, I get a lot of points by making smart cuts, and my teammates read that and feed me. I got a lot of stuff in transition, my threes were falling, and I got a lot of free throws. I didn't think I had that many points, and the bottom line was that we lost that game. I guess everything was clicking for me that game.

The Bootleg: Where do you project yourself playing at the next level?
Dan Grunfeld: Probably a combo two-three. Maybe a little more of a two. I'm a really good shooter, so I could be a specialty guy to shoot. But I can be much more than that. I can put the ball on the floor, or post up. I can play a little point guard, or go be a three. At this level, I can play the four, but in college - well, I'm not 6'10" or anything. (grins) But I think a two-three.

The Bootleg: What part of your game do you feel you need to still improve the most?
Dan Grunfeld: I think working on my overall game, including my pressure on defense. I can improve in every area. If I do that, versus improving in just one area, everything will follow. I think I have a lot I can improve.

The Bootleg: What coaches have you been seeing here, and elsewhere, this summer - the ones that keep showing up?
Dan Grunfeld: I see the coaches I'm interested in, and who are interested in me. Stanford, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Stanford - I know Indiana and Kentucky have been here watching me. I see them around, but I try not to focus on that too much. You want to focus on your game.

The Bootleg: Can you talk about some of those schools, and how you feel about them at this point?
Dan Grunfeld: Well, I feel real strongly about Stanford. From what I know about the coaching staff, they're great coaches and great people. Academics are really important to me, and they really have such a great combination of academics and athletics. That's very interesting. Also, Wisconsin is high on my list. Some Ivies like Princeton and Penn - even though I hate to say, a step down basketball-wise - but they compete nationally every year. And the academics are great. There are also others.

The Bootleg: Speaking of academics, do you mind sharing what your grades have been like so far, along with standardized test scores?
Dan Grunfeld: I got a 30 on the ACT, and a 1280 on the SAT. I take a lot of honors and AP courses, but my GPA is in the top 5% of my class.

The Bootleg: Stanford is a unique situation, in that they require an application to be accepted before they can offer, as you know. Have you started that process?
Dan Grunfeld: I talked to Coach Montgomery this morning about that, and I think I'm going to go ahead and explore that procedure. See what happens. Nothing's definite, but...

The Bootleg: Has the staff given you any indication of how they view you?
Dan Grunfeld: Yeah, I talked to Coach Montgomery this morning, and he said they felt very strongly about me. They really want me over there. I feel very strongly about them, too. I need to sit down and see what's happening. There are other schools, and it's not definite, but I think it's a good match.

The Bootleg: Do you have a timeframe for when you might decide?
Dan Grunfeld: Not really. Though with that situation, especially if it happened to work out like that, it's kind of hard because there's a lot that goes into the decision. But I would like to get it done as soon as possible. I'd like to concentrate on my senior season - have fun and play basketball.

The Bootleg: If you were given a Stanford offer, would you pull the trigger?
Dan Grunfeld: I don't know (grins). Right now I'm out here to play hard and win games. After that's over, I think this thing will take care of itself.

The Bootleg: You've mentioned Wisconsin. Do you have any family ties with the school?
Dan Grunfeld: A lot, actually. My mom went there. My aunt went there. My grandparents went there. We didn't move to Wisconsin until after my sophomore year, but I was familiar with the state because my grandparents had lived there, and my mom grew up there. My mom's side all went to Wisconsin, but they're not pushing me too hard. My dad's school, Tennessee, has also offered me a scholarship. So I have offers from both of my parents' alma maters. Pretty interesting.

The Bootleg: Are there any other factors you are looking at in making your decision?
Dan Grunfeld: I just think a place I'll be happy at. My grandma lives out in California near Stanford, and I have family in Wisconsin. My family is very important to me, so I'd like to be close to them. That's not a definite thing, but I like to have my family around me.

The Bootleg: Is there a style of play you are looking for in a program?
Dan Grunfeld: Not really. I've played in a bunch of different styles, where I've had to do different things on the court. So I know where I go, I'll be ready to play that style of basketball.

The Bootleg: Is there any atmosphere or environment of a university that you are looking for?
Dan Grunfeld: Not really. I want a good mix. Not just hard-core studying all day, but also having some fun.

The Bootleg: Are you looking for an urban environment, or something a little away from that?
Dan Grunfeld: I wouldn't mind staying outside the city. I grew up in New Jersey, so I was in New York City all the time. That gets tiring after a little while, you know, you get tired of that real quick. But that's not likely to be a deciding factor.

Dan is a player who reminds me a little of Casey Jacobsen, and a little of Ryan Mendez. Any linear combination of those two players is sure to please Cardinalmaniacs™ - that much I know. He move exceptionally well without the ball, and has a sweet stroke. His tournament-high 45-point performance in the early going at the Adidas Big Time has been quoted of late in Boot-circles as often as Murph's famed Rhode Island call. Dan has a subtle diversity to his game, doing a lot of things well, though not necessarily flashy or eye-catching. He is clearly a very intelligent and cerebral player, with an advanced understanding of the game at his age. The obvious question is how he would defend some of the guards and wings in the Pac-10 he might face, given his relative handicap in footspeed. The other question, which is less known, is how well he would get his shot off against better defenders. Still, the positives clearly outweigh the challenges with Dan Grunfeld, and that is why Stanford is serious about him.

Dan has sent his application to Stanford now, and is awaiting the decision from Old Union. With strong grades in a challenging set of classes, plus a 30 ACT, Dan should be one of the less stressful app's to go through Stanford Admissions this class. There are a lot of reasons to believe that Stanford will follow that admissions decision with an official offer, and there is every bit as much reason to believe that Dan will accept. Few things are set in stone in the recruiting world, and the dynamics of other players in the class have yet to play out, but this looks good.

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