Known as "Air Georgia" to Michigan basketball fans, sophomore Brent Petway has established himself this season as not only a high octane dunker, but a defensive presence -- leading the team with 34 blocks and averaging 6.4 rebounds per game. Petway's explosiveness and energy off the bench servers as the Wolverine's game changer on both ends of the floor, and give fans something to look forward to in the upcoming seasons.
As a freshman, Petway earned U-M's 2004 Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award recording 28 blocks and 128 points for the Wolverines. 32 of Petway's 55 field goals came on dunks in the 2003-04 season.
While at Union Griffin High School, Petway came in third in voting for Georgia's Mr. Basketball and the 2003 4A All-State First Team. As a senior (2003), he averaged 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 7.8 blocks, while leading Griffin its first class 4A state title since 1993.
With the Wolverines entering the heart of their Big Ten schedule, Petway took a moment to talk about dunking, shot blocking, and his rising rap career.
On what it feels like to dunk
"It feels great to dunk. It gives the whole team a burst of energy and it gets the crowd really excited. I enjoy it, because it brings the fans into the game and gets the juices flowing."
On the first time he dunked
"It was during the eighth grade. I had never dunked before, but then I started running track and really training my legs to be explosive. I came in after practice one day and just tried to dunk to see if I could, and then it just took off after that."
On blocking shots
"It has just naturally became part of my game. When you're in the flow of the game, flying around, and the shot goes up -- I just attack it. I used to work on it, but its more reaction than anything."
"Dunking for me is really spontaneous. I just go up and do it, but when you start throwing in windmills and reverse dunks, you have to sit down and plan what you're going to do, or you'll get up there and not know what to do."
On rap song
"Over the summer I heard one of the football player's rap songs for the football team and I thought that the basketball team should have one. I wrote it, recorded it, and everyone really liked it. I played it for Coach Amaker and he liked it, and had no problem with us playing it during warm-ups."
On future songs
"I'll probably do a new basketball song every year to update the player's names, and who we're playing for the upcoming season."
On whether any teammate can beat him in a rap battle
On the connection between rap/basketball
"I think that it's just coincident. A lot of rappers grow up playing basketball and a lot of basketball players grow up listening to rap. I don't really think there is a connection between rap and basketball -- it's just a coincidence."
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Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423