Dan Grunfeld: This season was great for my team. We were 19-2 overall and ranked 2nd or 3rd in the state for pretty much the whole season, behind #1 Milwaukee Vincent who was like 7th in the country. To be honest, my team overachieved all year. We had a lot of close games that we pulled out, so it was not a total shocker when we got upset in the playoffs, even though it was pretty devastating. The one regular season game we lost was at the buzzer, which sucked... but we won so many tight games. The most memorable was our 3rd game of the year; we were ranked 5th in the state and Milwaukee Rufus King was ranked 3rd. We beat them 75-73 at our place and it was absolutely packed and crazy. I had 27 points and 10 boards - we played a hell of a game.
The Bootleg: How was your individual season, including stats and achievements? Any individual highlights to share? Big games or big
Dan Grunfeld: My individual season was very good, although I expected every bit of it out of myself and probably more. I averaged 23.9 points and about 7.5 rebounds per game. I don't think anyone else in the area scored more than me, and it's hard to score here because everyone slows the ball down, typical Wisconsin style. I played mostly the 2 and 3, but I also played a good deal of point and I posted up a lot. I have a point guard's mentality, as far as passing the ball, so that's a position I've been playing more and more. As for honors, I was unanimous 1st team all state for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association and unanimous 1st team for the Associated Press. I was also unanimous conference player of the year, 1st team all area, and the CNI Suburban Milwaukee Player of the Year. Devin Harris from Wisconsin and Scott Merritt from Marquette won that award the last two years. There were a lot of big moments and big games. It seems as if I led us back from halftime deficits almost every game; we always seemed to struggle in the first half, especially against conference teams. One game I had 25 points in a row between the 2nd and 4th quarters to come from nine back and win a conference game against a rival. The next game against a bigger rival I scored 17 in the 3rd quarter to help come back from a seven point deficit. I also hit a 3 one game with like a minute left to give us our wining lead in a conference game. Overall though, the best moment was the big win against (Rufus) King because we played so well as a team and were so united. I love stuff like that; that's stuff you really remember. I'm all about the teammates and winning it together
The Bootleg: Did you have any battles against other notable players
heading off to D-I schools? How'd you fare?
Dan Grunfeld: As for notable battles against D-I players, my biggest battle was actually the last game of my junior season when we played Milwaukee Vincent, the eventual state champions. They had Greg Brown & Maurice Wade (U Wisconsin) who were both top100 finalists for the McDonald's game. Also Deonte Tatum, who is at Indian Hills JC. I had 28 points but we lost by like 5 - we almost had them. This year during the season, we didn't match up against one big name player but rather teams filled with a lot of solid lower level guys with a D-I mixed in here and there. In the summer though, we all play against each other. I just had a tournament this weekend: I had 25 and 30 in the last two games vs. teams with D-I players, but our team lost some squeakers (with more than questionable officiating).
The Bootleg: What was your role this senior season, both from a
standpoint of skills and leadership?
Dan Grunfeld: As a senior I was definitely the leader on and off the court. Not because I was a senior but more because that is my mentality. I love that role; I think because I am so passionate about basketball. I lead more by example because people see me working and they see how I improve all the time. I really love being with my teammates and bonding with my teammates. When that happens, which it didn't always this year, it makes the whole experience fun and rewarding. Playing your heart out as a team is the greatest.
The Bootleg: What were your biggest areas of development on the floor
this season, and how well did you meet your goals?
Dan Grunfeld: I think I developed a lot over the course of the year. I have always been a player who improves a lot during the off-season, but I think this year more than any I learned a ton during the season. Elevating my game to the next level and really being a dominant-type player brought on new challenges and responsibilities. I think more than anything, I learned to really focus and have my mind set on my goals. I set high goals only because I believe I can achieve them through hard work and desire. I just wanted to play up to my capabilities, and because of my work ethic and focus and love for basketball, I was confident that my abilities would take me somewhere. As for on the court, my post up game really improved over the season. Being a 6'6" guard I learned to take advantage of that not only by shooting over people but also by getting big inside and using my body to my advantage. I will continue to work on my strength and I think I can be very effective at that down the road. I also improved my skills as far as playing point and bringing the ball up, which I did a lot against pressure. This is something I also feel I can improve upon and be effective at down the road.
The Bootleg: What areas do you specifically find lacking in your game?
Dan Grunfeld: In my game, I think that I can improve every single aspect. There is not one glaring area that is really lacking. That is one of the positives of my game: my versatility. I can play multiple positions, seeing as how I can handle and rebound and defend. This year I sometimes guarded the other team's point, sometimes their center. I think that areas of my shooting and ballhandling could be improved to help me as a player. I am also concentrating on strength and quickness stuff. Even though I am more athletic than people think, that is clearly an area that can always be improved with work, and that can significantly improve my game. The big thing this year though was developing more mental toughness and focus, and a greater sense of determination not only for now but also for the future.
The Bootleg: When opponents scouted you and the Nicolet team, what was
the blueprint to stop you specifically? How were you able to react and
adapt to those strategies?
Dan Grunfeld: Well, again I think that it was hard for teams to draw up a blueprint to stop me specifically. Being able to shoot, slash, and go inside presented some problems for teams this year, but some teams put on box-and-1's, which at times were tough, and also some weird zone defenses that kind of matched a man up in every area. That is what they played the last game and that confused us a bit. Don't get me wrong, plenty of teams played very good D w