Editor’s note: You can catch the first part of Paul’s interview with Jon here, where they talk about his experience in France and what led up to it. Now, they are focused on how he’s kept up with the basketball program.
Paul Somerstein: Were you able to follow UW at all this past year?
Jon Brockman: I wasn’t able to watch a lot of games. I followed on Twitter. Seemed like a disappointing year – I felt for those guys, I was on two teams that had similar seasons.
PS: What do you think about the fans who are calling for Coach Romar’s head? Saying he can’t take us any further?
JB: Ridiculous. Absurd. Crazy. I realize they want to win, but in terms of quality of person and quality of coach and knowledge of the game, Coach Romar is at the very top. Even the basketball stuff aside, just him as a person, the way he treats his players and interacts with the fans – he’ll do anything for anyone. The way he represents UW is unreal. Also, I’ve learned more from him than anybody on the basketball court. Every player I’ve played with or talked to from UW has said the same thing. He has a special way of interacting with players and getting to know them as people and motivating them. I’m biased of course, but he’s the best man for the job.
PS: I’m with you, of course. I remember the guys who came before him – Bender, Lynn Nance. People forget where this program was before he got here.
JB: That’s the other thing – the pride he has for UW. I know he’s turned down offers, countless offers. The NBA, and I can’t even be sure what college teams have asked. I’d have to imagine UCLA called him a few times. He changed the entire perspective of the program. It’s good people are expecting success on a yearly basis, but they need to remember that he got them to this point.
PS: Ok – best moment at UW.
JB: Man…The UConn Sweet 16 game, even though we lost. The environment was nuts. Even the Purdue game my senior year was crazy. But I think the most special moment was when we beat WSU at home to clinch the regular season title. We struggled with them in my four years, so to be able to beat them in front of our fans in our building on my Senior Day to win a conference title outright – that was pretty special.
PS: Biggest disappointment or regret.
JB: My sophomore and junior years were tough. We felt a lot of pressure, similar to the last two UW teams – not making the tournament. The teams before us, they had Brandon (Roy) and Jamaal (Williams) and Mike (Jensen) and Bobby (Jones) and they had so much success, and we felt the pressure to continue it. We didn’t perform the way those teams did.
PS: Why did those teams struggle? Specifically, your sophomore year you had the best recruiting class in UW history with Spencer Hawes and Quincy Pondexter.
JB: I think it was the youth. We had good guys, good leadership, but we were young. I think we bought into our own hype too much. We started the season ranked No. 10, and I think we thought it was pretty cool. We didn’t realize how special the group before us was, and how hard it is to have and maintain success.
PS: What would you tell the current group at UW? In all of your experience and wisdom, what would you want them to understand?
JB: I’d tell them what I think they get told every day: it goes by so fast. For me it was, “Holy cow, I’m a senior and I’ve only been to one tournament and I barely remember it.” When you’re a freshman, you barely know what’s going on. Then all of the sudden you’re a senior and it’s almost over. Every possession, every game – treat them all like it’s your last. Play as hard as you can. I remember Coach told me my freshman year, “When it’s said and done, college basketball will be the most fun you’ve ever had; these are the memories you make.” He was right. It’s a special time. You’re never in an environment like that again. Don’t enjoy it TOO much, but have fun and work your tail off.
PS: Ok, one last question. Probably the most serious one I’ll ask you. Do you want to play on my Spring Rec League team when you get home? I think we could use you.
JB: (Laughs) Um, I think I’ll have to pass.
PS: Thanks Jon, I appreciate your time. Good luck the rest of the year.