8 youthful questions for Robbie Cowgill

ON THE COURT OR OFF, Robbie Cowgill is hard to miss. He stands 6-foot-10, weighs just 216 pounds and has a hairstyle that looks like a cross between Daniel Boone's cap and Warren Beatty's character in Shampoo. He listens to classical music and says he's not a huge studier, yet is in the honors program at WSU and last season was named first-team Pac-10 All-Academic.

On the hardwood, he moves like a guard but is forced to go up against guys in the post who outweigh him by 30 pounds or more. In fact, Tony Bennett and his staff had the junior from Austin, Texas, drinking 6,000-calories worth of protein shakes every day last summer in a mostly failed effort to bulk him up.

His metabolism, apparently, is as quick as his wit –- after the Cougs' big win over Washington two weeks ago he quipped to reporters that he was proud of holding touted 7-foot center Spencer Hawes to zero points and rebounds. Hawes, of course, sat out the game with a bum ankle.

The File On
Austin, Texas



6-10, 216 pounds

18 points vs. Oregon State (last week); and 13 rebounds vs. USC last season.

Started 19 games for the Cougs as a true freshman in 2004-05 and earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention honors. As a sophomore last season, he did it all for the Cougars, leading the team in rebounding and blocked shots, while finishing second in scoring and third in steals.

Has started all 21 games for the Cougars this season, averaging 5.5 rebounds and 9.2 points per outing. He also has 19 blocks and 17 steals.

Named all-district each of his three varsity seasons at Westwood High in Austin. As a senior, was named first team all-region, second- team All-State and first-team All-State Academic. Averaging 20 points and 13 rebounds per game as a senior.

Management and Operations

No matter how you describe the Cougar forward/center, though, one thing is certain: He's been all over the court in WSU's blazing 17-4 start this season. He rebounds, blocks shots, scores, steals and plays tough D.

He recently took time to answer a few questions from me -- a 13-year-old Cougar fan -- as part of a weekly column aimed at asking WSU players the questions adults don't seem to think of asking.

CF.C: If you were a GM in the NBA, which center would you pick to build your team around -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain or Shaquille O'Neal?

Cowgill: I would have to say Kareem. At first I wanted to say Wilt but he is kinda lazy and he kinda has an attitude. Als, with Shaq, I am partial to skinny guys like me so I would have to go with Kareem.

CF.C: What is the most difficult class you have taken at WSU?

Cowgill: It would have to be finance ... Part of it was that I had to miss a lot of class because of basketball and the concepts were kind of confusing because I would be gone. But the whole dealing-with-money stuff didn't really interest me, so I wasn't really excited about learning it.

CF.C: What is the most memorable family vacation you ever went on?

Cowgill: It would probably be a skiing trip we took to Lake Tahoe. Anything with my (older) brother (Graeme) is an absolute blast. We raced a bunch, wiped out a lot, ran into a lot of people, and got a lot of fun stories from it … We would go skiing maybe once a year or every two years; when you're this tall, you fall pretty hard.

CF.C: As a kid, what category would you have put yourself in: Jocks, Nerds, or Too cool for school?

Cowgill: I'm definitely not cool. I'm gonna say I'm a little bit of a nerd, because I was in the band and they give me a lot of grief about that. Also, I kinda like nerdy things -- I'm not a huge studier but I like things like classical music that the guys give me a hard time about. So I'll say a nerd -- I have a little nerd in me.

CF.C: What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

Cowgill: As a young kid, maybe 4 or 5, I loved Flipper but we didn't have a TV, so we would go over to our neighbor's house. My favorite TV show now ... have you ever seen the show ‘Rob and Big'? I like that one.

CF.C: What is the best book you have ever read?

Cowgill: I'm going to say Skinny Bones by Barbra Parks. It is very funny and I remember always, whenever I was short of pages (in my reading club), I would always read that because it was funny and I liked it so much.

CF.C: What is the best, and worst, part about living in Texas?

Cowgill: The best part about living in Texas … I'm going to say the hospitality. The worst part would probably be the really, really hot summers.

CF.C: Do you have any pre-game rituals or specific routines you go through before you play a game?

Cowgill: Before every game, I pray to get my mind right and doing that helps me glorify God which is really important to me, and it helps me deal with the pressure. Also, before every home game I go and give this older woman, who is an usher at all the games, a hug, and it has worked so far.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 13, is an eighth grader in Chelan, Wash., where he's a starting guard on his basketball team. His addiction to crimson and gray started four years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden has named his dog Butch, and currently is working to turn his little brother and mom into avid Coug fans.

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