"In The Paint" w/ F/C Josh Owens (#24)

The Bootleg's Kevin Danna had a chance to chat with junior Josh Owens. With big-time dunks, nasty blocks, and occasionally monster stat lines, Owens has given fans a lot to be excited about for the upcoming campaign. We learn about Owens' study plans, his budding hobby as a musical composer, what he did to stay game-ready during the summer, and his high expectations for the 2009-2010 season.

"In The Paint" w/ F/C Josh Owens (#24)

The Bootleg: You came 3,000 miles from home, Josh. What attracted you to Stanford initially?

Josh Owens: Besides the athletics and the academics, it was just the people.  I felt really comfortable with the guys on the team and everything, so that was a big part of it.

TB: In your 2007 recruiting "class", you were actually the only player Stanford signed.  How was it being the lone freshman on the Cardinal hoops team?

JO: It was frustrating at some points, but I learned how to make good friends with all the other guys and reach out to other classes on the team.  While it kind of was frustrating at the beginning, it was really nice towards the end.

TB: How has your experience been at Stanford and what stands out most both academically and socially?

JO: Academically, what stands out the most… right now, I don't know if there's any single thing that stands out academically.  I've been working really hard to finish up my Economics courses so I'm just now starting to experiment with some other classes.   All the classes I've had have been great, so there's not really one thing that stands out.

TB: I know you mentioned that you're an Econ major and that sophomore year can be a grind with that major, taking Econ 50, 51, 52, and 102A and 102B.  How many more classes do you have before you finish the major.

JO: I think either five or six.

TB: Are you going to try to knock those out your junior year or is it going to take part of your senior year?

JO: I'll definitely knock a majority of it out this year.  If I take summer school again, hopefully I'll be finishing up the major and have it done by the fall of senior year.

TB: Off the court you like to produce music, specifically hip-hop instrumentals.    How long have you been making beats, and to whom would you compare yourself as a producer?

JO: I first started back in my sophomore year of high school. I have a good friend who is a more serious producer than I am.  He is the one who introduced me to producing software and late nights in our dorm we'd just stay up and start making music.  I don't know that I could compare myself to one person.  It's a very unique sound, I would say.

TB: Let's get on to some on-the-court stuff.  You've had many electric dunks at Stanford.  Is there any one that stands out the most in your mind?

JO: Probably the one that stands out was last year playing at home against Washington.  We were coming down the stretch trying to make a run to win the game, but we didn't end up winning.  I think it was like in the last minute or two minutes and ended up being assisted by Landry [small forward Landry Fields].  That really stood out for me.   

TB: When were you first able to throw one down?

JO: Eighth grade, I think.

TB: Let's move on to 2009-2010 Stanford Basketball.  What are the primary keys to success for this year's team?

JO: Everybody being ready to contribute and a lot of guys playing with confidence.  We have a really young team and lost a lot of seniors.  So different guys need to be ready to step up and play with some confidence.

TB: What will be important and necessary in order to build teamwork and togetherness?

JO: Just guys being ready to bring it every day and understanding what we are trying to accomplish.  I think we had a decent idea of that last year, but being our first year under a new coach in the program....  Now that we have that out of the way, hopefully this year we will take that next step.

TB: Talk about the importance of defense.  I know Coach Dawkins stresses defense any chance he can, so talk about how important it's going to be to your success this year as a team.

JO: Defense is everything.  We're a smaller team and we have a much different style than we did two years ago so with the versatility that we have at a lot of the positions, defense is going to be big…  It's probably the most critical part for our team.

TB: Talk about playing at Maples and protecting your home court.

JO: There's a lot of legacy going on in Maples so it's always a big game, and we have a great crowd for most of the games.  We have a real loyal fan base so we like to go out and put on a good show  - not only for the them but for us to win at home and that's what we're protecting.

TB: I know you guys were busy this summer with workouts and class. Talk about the investment you and the team made this summer in an effort to become better.

JO: Everybody except one guy was here this summer, taking classes and working out.  We had 7:00am conditioning and in the afternoon we were all together on the courts doing pick-up, skill development, and all that.  Again, going back to how we have such a young team, we lost a few seniors this past year so it was big for a lot of people to be here together and get some time on the court with each other.  But also just having the chance to play together, so it was especially important for this season coming up.

TB: Now, I know that on Fridays you had "Strong Man" competitions.  I believe you won that, right?

JO: (Laughs).  Yeah, I did.

TB: Talk a little bit about what the competitions were all about and what you guys had to do.

JO: It was exactly what you said it was.  It's Strong Man - what you see on ESPN- World's Strongest Man Competition- that's the type of stuff we were doing.  We were pushing trucks across parking lots, little tractor beams up hills, flipping tires, running with weights here and there; it was a totally different method of Strength and Conditioning Training that you wouldn't necessarily expect to see for a college basketball team.

TB: What one facet of your game did you work on the most to improve for the upcoming season during the summer?

JO: The main things I worked on were mid-range shooting and shot mechanics, in addition to my strength training.  But those were probably the biggest on-court things I was working on.

TB: What do you see as your role with the team this year?

JO: Seeing as I'm expected to have a bigger role now that we have had some seniors that left and now I'm an upperclassmen, but it's all about whatever the team needs.  I only can do so much, so whatever the team needs, I'm going to do.

TB: I know you talked a little bit about being an upperclassmen and now the younger guys are going to be looking up to you.  What do you think it's going to take for you to be a team leader?

JO: Just leading by example, really.  Whether it be in practice doing drills, or pick-up, or scrimmages, just leading by example and setting the tone for the new guys coming in and for the younger returning players.

TB: Talk about your relationship with Coach Dawkins and how he and the coaching staff have influenced your basketball development.

JO: Coach Dawkins is a great guy - we talk a lot every day at the beginning of the season, at the end of the season, and during the season.  He has helped me out when I've struggled in different areas of my game, especially during the last season.  I've also been in close-contact with Coach Davey, who has been a really hands-on worker with me during individual workouts, just helping me with things in my game I need to develop and it has been great. He has been very helpful.

TB: Last question: 2009-2010 Stanford Basketball - How would you describe our style of play and what do you like or dislike about it.

JO: I would describe it as "in-your-face", aggressive, up-and-down play.  I like it because it gives everybody an opportunity to run the floor and a lot of different players to get touches and contribute in a variety of ways, so I'm very excited for the upcoming season.

TB: That's it Josh.  Thanks so much. We are looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

JO: Alright, Kevo.

About the Author: Kevin Danna, Stanford '09, started out as a student manager-in-training for the Men's Basketball Team on October 14, 2005, and has lived and breathed Stanford Basketball ever since. From doing laundry to filming practice to working summer camps, he has been involved with many facets of the Men's Basketball program.  Upon retirement from his manager position on March 25, 2009 at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, Kevin took an undeservedly prolonged break from any kind of work and eventually got his degree from The Farm in Spanish.  Shaking off the cobwebs of five months of laziness, Kevin has started working as a play-by-play and color broadcaster for gostanford.com, calling home contests (in English) for several Stanford sports.  He also hosts a sports talk show on 90.1 FM KZSU from 9-10pm every Tuesday entitled "The Sports Zoo", as well as a music show called "408's Finest" immediately following sports talk from 10pm-Midnight.  An alumnus of San Jose's Bellarmine Prep, Kevin proudly admits that he currently lives at home in San Jose with his parents and cat.


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