"Center Court" with PF Andy Brown (#11)

Completing his resolute run through the 2009-10 Men's Hoops roster, our man Kevin Danna knocks out yet another in his series of player interviews. This piece with 6'8" frosh forward Andy Brown was completed in November, but we've saved it for a rainy day since Brown is spending this season recovering from a knee injury. Read on to see how the future Cardinal standout is adjusting to campus life!

"Center Court" with PF Andy Brown (#11)

The Bootleg: What professional sports teams do you follow?  I'm assuming you're a big fan of "The Lake Show"; do you pretty much stick with the SoCal teams?

Andy Brown: Oh yeah, the Lakers are my favorite team.  The Anaheim Angels I would say too, because obviously I live like five minutes away.  No football teams really, but those are the main two.  I also like the Ducks (NHL, not Oregon!) as well.

TB: How has the adjustment from high school to Stanford been for you academically?  Do you find yourself having to work a lot harder in classes?

AB: Yeah, it's pretty tough. It's a lot different than high school because the classes are much harder, but it's not too difficult.

TB: I know you're definitely dealing with IHUM (Introduction to the Humanities) and perhaps PWR (Program in Writing and Rhetoric) right now, but are there any particular subjects that have piqued your interest and made you say, "Hmm, I might want to pursue this as a major?"

AB: Yeah, I am taking both IHUM and PWR right now, and I took a writing class during the summer too, so I have had to take three writing classes right off the bat.  As far as a major, I'm thinking about Communications.  I'm taking a Communications class right now, and I really like it a lot.

TB: Have you found any exceptional eateries in your short time on campus that have been go-to spots for you?

AB: (Thinking).  The Treehouse has always been pretty good.  I have Subway a lot because it's quick and easy, so those are the two main places.

TB: When in your basketball career did you realize "Hey, I'm pretty good at this game - I can go far with this?"

AB: I started playing sports when I was three-years-old.  I started off with soccer and baseball and I played those for a while and then I picked up basketball in third grade.  And then I stopped soccer in fifth grade and stopped baseball in about eighth grade.  I started realizing when I was in sixth or seventh grade that I could do something with it and then I just started working hard at that, and it has taken me places.

TB: Your high school team was LOADED - in addition to you, your team had the Wear twins, who are now freshmen at UNC.  As a result, Mater Dei won two California state championships.  Talk about your experiences playing in and winning the state tournament, both as a sophomore and junior.

AB: It was awesome - freshman year we got there too, but we lost to Palo Alto High School, which kind of sucks now because I have to look over at that school every day.  But it was an awesome experience. I think being there freshman year really helped us sophomore and junior year because it gave us a lot of confidence and a lot of smarts, I'd say, by beating teams in close games and getting a lot of experience. So, it was really good.

TB: As the first signee of the "Johnny Dawkins Era" at Stanford, walk us through your recruitment process and how you decided on coming to The Farm.

AB: I wasn't recruited by the old coaching staff here, which is kind of interesting because Coach Dawkins didn't get there until my junior year so they were kind of late in the recruiting process.  But one of the guys on my high school team went to Duke so Coach Dawkins went to a lot of my practices when I was a freshman and sophomore and he got to see me there.  Coach said that he liked what he saw from my freshman and sophomore year and right when he got to Stanford he called me right away and said they were really interested in me.  So I was able to build a good relationship with him.  And then I had to turn to the application process, and I had to wait to hear back from the school, but as soon as they told me I got in, I knew I was coming for sure.

TB: What was the extent of the interaction between you and Gabe Harris, the other 2009 commit, before you guys came to Palo Alto?

AB: So, I committed at the end of October and then signed in November, and Gabe didn't commit until the other signing period, which is at the end of the school year.  We really didn't talk before we came to Stanford; we met the first time on the very first day of summer school.  We were lifting together in the weight room and I met him there, and it was really cool.  We're really good friends here, and we roomed together during summer courses as well, so we built a good relationship quickly.

TB: Unfortunately, you got banged up in a practice earlier this season and will be out for the season with an ACL tear.  Since you had to deal with this same injury a year ago, did you know right away when you got injured this time that it was the same thing?

AB: Yes, I knew right away.  I went down and I said to myself "Ah, I did it again!"  I was kind of stunned because you put hard work into therapy for eight months every day and then you are ready to get back into practice and it gets shattered right away.  It was tough, but this time, I am going to have 11 ½ months to rehab instead of eight so hopefully that will be better and I will be able to finish out my career with no further injuries, hopefully.

TB: How will last year be able to help you in dealing with the knee injury this time around?

AB: Well, the first thing is that I've been to therapy the last five days and I know how to do all the stuff they are telling me to do, so they don't really have to explain much to me or tell me what to do so it is kind of nice having that experience of previous therapy at least.  And just going through the process and knowing what I can do and knowing what I can't do.  It's going to be a lot better this time because I'll be lifting five days a week and have therapy five times a week as well, whereas last time I just had therapy three days a week and that's all I did.  So I'll be staying on top of things because I'll be here.  I think it'll be a really good way to transform my upper body for now - I won't be able to add weights to the leg stuff for another four or five months.  But I'm looking forward to continue rehabbing and getting healthy. It should be good.

TB: From what little I did get to see of you, I could tell that you can basically "do it all" on the floor- from shooting to ball-handling and so on.  What part or parts of your game have you always had, and what are some facets that you have just recently developed?

AB: Well, "height" was always on my side, which is God-given.  Growing up, my shot was ok.  It wasn't awesome, but it got a lot better once I hit seventh or eighth grade.  In my freshman year of high school, I had a low release- point on my shot, and my coaches made me shoot from above my head.  I shot horribly my freshman year as a result, and it took me about a year and a half to get my shot down.   But once I did get it down, it was automatic, which is a really good thing for my height especially because it's difficult for bigger guys to come out.  The ball- handling stuff, you just have to kind of work on your own, so I've been doing a lot of that.  Everything else, though, I would say is God-given. 

TB: For those that haven't seen you play, to whom would you compare your game?

AB: I see myself as a "Luke Walton" kind of guy. You don't have to do all the scoring, you don't have to do all the rebounding; you just do all the little things to help your team win the game.

TB: What will be the scope of your involvement with the team this year?  I assume you'll be spending a lot of time working with Tomoo (Men's Basketball Trainer Tomoo Yamada) and Keith (Men's Basketball's Intercollegiate Athletic Development Specialist Keith D'Amelio), but what about outside of that?

AB: Well I'm in crutches and a brace right now, so it's kind of hard to do too much.  Every time we have practice, I have therapy, so it's hard to get to practice, but I get there as soon as I'm finished with therapy.  I won't be travelling with the team until Pac-10 play begins just because the beginning months of therapy are the most important.  But after that, it will be a time where I'll be able to get a head start on how everything goes on in the program.

TB: When you do come back from injury, what parts of your game will you be looking to work on the most?

AB: Well, right now I think "strength" is the most important thing.  Strength will be something that I have to develop while rehabbing from my injury.  I have to keep shooting, and because I can't do any contract drills for 11 months. I'm going to be working a lot more on my ball-handling than I did the last time I was injured.  I'm just looking to come back stronger for next year. 

TB: Last question- you said you were a big Laker fan, so do you think they will repeat as NBA Champions?

AB: I hope so; I've been watching the Celtics, so I'm getting a little nervous because they're pretty good this year.  But once we get Pau (Gasol) back, I think we'll start rolling again.

TB: Hey, thanks so much for your time Andy, and hope to see you on the court soon.

AB: Not a problem!

About the Author: Kevin "Kevo" 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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