Tuesdays with the Team II: Brown/Finger

With Senior Day just four days away, today's press conference took on a different feel. It was less about the week-in, week-out rigors of Pac-10 basketball, and more about what Stanford's meant to the seniors and where they're going with their lives. In Part II, Kenny Brown and Taj Finger open up…

Kenny Brown:

I ask about his plans for next year:

I'm going to dental school. Baylor, in Dallas. I found out probably around early December, took some time to think about it and then I had to make a decision by January and I decided to go there. I got in there and Columbia.

I ask why dentistry:

I've kind of wanted to be in the health field, but then I did some shadowing of doctors at the children's hospital, followed doctors around and figured out that's not the lifestyle I wanted. I shadowed dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists and really liked it and decided to go down that career path.

On whether he's ever lost a tooth playing basketball:

Brown: "Peter and Fred got their teeth knocked out by Brook and Coach Robinson [respectively.]"

Peter Prowitt: "My two front teeth. I looked like I was from Virginia at that point. The most recent spring. Guarding those guys in practice, it's been a fulltime job. … I did try wearing a mouthpiece, but it sounded like English was my third or fourth language."]

Fred Washington: "You can still tell which ones are fake, if you look close enough."

Peter Prowitt challenging Taj Finger's "I like my wins like I like my women, pretty. But I'll take an ugly one or two," for quote of the year. We should have a vote.

Back to Kenny Brown. On whether the Lopez twins have changed since freshman year:

More on the court than off the court. I think they're just more mature on the court, they've been through more, they know how to handle double teams a little better, how to pass a little better. They love their music, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, they like that. They like to watch Family Guy, they like normal stuff. They like comic books, so pretty much they do their own thing, but I guess maybe you might not expect it from them.

Let's hope opposing student sections don't have Scout subscriptions…

On his injury history

I've only had an ankle sprain at one point, but it wasn't too debilitating.

On his journey to Stanford:

Senior year of high school, I kind of sent some stuff out. I was kind of a late bloomer. I didn't get much response except for Stanford. I spoke with Russell Turner. He helped me out and left, and so I was like ‘Alright, here we go.'

I initiated it, they didn't initiate for me. I was trying to be proactive with it and then I came out for Admit Weekend -- that was my visit. I played with the team and got good feedback from them and got invited as soon as school started, invited to morning lifts and just worked my way onto team. Coach Johnson needed some time to make sure, I guess, make sure he would do same thing [and let me walk on].

On walking on for all four years:

Coach Johnson offered me a scholarship for next year, but because my plans changed for dental school, I had to turn it down and make room for Jeremy, Miles and Jarrett. At first when he offered, he said, ‘It's been a long time coming, you deserve it, but you do have it for next year and I just want to let you know.' I was like, ‘I really appreciate it,' but at that time, I'd already applied. I guess I had a good opportunity so I could come back or leave.

On whether he's received financial aid:

No, my parents just pay. I've been so grateful. My dad's in IT for Northrop Grummon, an aerospace company, and my mom used to do same thing and now is just at home. It's pretty tough. $42,000 a year. It's been a rough couple of years and I'm actually graduating early so they can take a little break at the end. My brother now is at UNC-Chapel Hill and they have to pay for him. It's a little more reasonable and he can move to an apartment and get in-state tuition.

On when he'll graduate:

As soon as the season's over. If I have to register for classes for Tournament purposes I'll do that.

I ask and he said he was a Human Biology major. It's a little fuzzier than Biology, but no athlete path here – it's the most popular major on campus. The core, typically taken sophomore year, can be brutal, as Tim Morris found out the hard way. I switched to pre-med about a year ago and since have seen Brown sitting through some of the same prerequisites, really, really tough courses, the toughest courses of my life. And he was up at 6 a.m. for lifts. I think I have a new favorite player.

On whether he was lucky to go to Stanford:

I mean, I was surprised I got a response from them during a 30-win season. I guess I'm lucky enough for Coach Turner and Montgomery to consider having me walk onto the team knowing they had people coming back and did so well, and I came in worked hard and I got in a lot of stuff out of it. As far as basketball-wise, being around great players like Chris, Matt, Dan, Josh, even the guys now and who will come. Academically, I can't even put into words how much I've benefitted from Stanford. It probably got me into dental school, because someone out of a school this caliber, it can get you a lot of places.

On what he remembers from the Arizona game:

The beginning was pretty terrible because everyone was throwing up with the food poisoning, so I was in the training room and asked Doctor McAdams to help with the IVs because I was pre-med at the time. So I was joking around before game and had no idea what was going to come. Fortunately, I was able to help, because we had a lot of players down, a lot of key players down. It was pretty amazing for me, especially to then have Lute Olson congratulate me after the game really meant a lot. I had a great experience and then that season got a lot better as I got more playing time.

I know he's been the archrival the last ten years, but I hear Olson has always been a classy guy to the program.

Taj Finger:

On SportsCenter's treatment of his dunk [Live broadcast of the dunk here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=JL1ocxf8cgk ]:

You know, whatever. [Smiles.] I thought the dunk was decent. I didn't get enough extension with my arm because I wasn't expecting to dunk it, but I was high enough, so I decided to.

On his future plans:

I'm going to try to play overseas somewhere. I'm not exactly sure where yet, I'm just going to keep training hard after the season and then hopefully make a little money.

On his injuries:

I've had chronic back problems and Achilles tendonitis, but this year I've been pretty much healthy all year. Last year is when I kind of had it bad all year, my back, my Achilles, really just that. The back feels good. I'm just doing a ton of core work and just stretching all the time before and after practice and doing work with Tomoo and just making sure it does good.

On whether he's lost any teeth:

I'm lucky. I have not. Unlike Peter Prowitt.

On what he'll be thinking about Saturday:

Beating WSU. I probably won't even think about it until the game's over. You get caught up in all that stuff, you're not going to play as well. My mom and my dad are coming down.

On the Pac-10 championship:

I definitely think that's on everyone's mind. We're working toward that goal one game at a time. These four games coming up are against the best teams in the Pac-10, so we've got a long ways to go. We really take it one game at a time. I usually don't know when we're playing, what time or where.

On the NCAAs:

Some guys will check Bracketology or whatever they're saying. Not me. Not really. I don't look at it until the time comes. Were more focused on the Pac-10 championship, more focused on games coming up. You look too far ahead that's never good. I think it's a lot from Trent and just the guys on the team, what we're focused on right now. It definitely comes a lot from the inside. Stay focused on the task at hand.

On his highlight at Stanford:

Probably when Chris Hernandez hit those three free throws against Washington, that was pretty incredible. And then my freshman year, when we beat Arizona. That was my first real big win because we started slow and they were No. 6 or No. 7 in the country. Dan Grunfeld scored like 29 points.

We were going for Taj's personal highlight at Stanford, but goes to show you he really is a team-first guy. Who else would answer like that?

On his relationship with Coach Johnson:

It's been great. Me and Coach J, really great, really since my freshman year. We kind of have a similar personality. He kind of gets me and I get him. We just get along real well and have a really good relationship. He's definitely wound tight, way tighter than I am, but with our intensity and passion for the game, we're similar in that respect.

The other players are much more measured talking about Johnson. "Different styles" or "interesting" they'll say, as Fred did earlier. But while they respect him, Taj loves him – his enthusiasm for Coach J is obvious.

On the best leaders he's had:

I'd say definitely Chris Hernandez and also Rob. All the seniors were great. Nick, Matt, Dan, but Chris just went about his business, always put the team first, yelled at people when he had to, when had to take a backseat, did that too. If I'm ever thought about like Chris Hernandez, that would be cool.


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