As Michigan's two-time winner of the Steve Grote Hustle Award, junior Graham Brown is certainly used to giving it his all on the court. Brown has consistently done the little things to make the U-M successful in his three seasons in Ann Arbor. Diving for loose balls, setting hard screens, taking the charge and aggressive rebounding has endeared Brown to U-M's student crowd "The Maize Rage", earning the nickname "Moose."
To go along with his career performance at Penn State, this season Brown has continued to perform well and improve upon his career numbers. He played a career-best 38 minutes against Iowa (March 5), recorded a career high 11 rebounds at Indiana (Jan. 19) and continues to improve his free throw percentage shooting a career-best 66.7 percent (24-for-36).
As the Wolverines prepare for Big Ten Tournament action against Northwestern, Brown sat down to talk about the Wildcats, his role as a captain during the 2004-05 season and the nickname "Hambone" given to him by his father, Rich Brown.
On playing with Lester Abram for AAU's the Family
"It was a great experience for me. I knew before I got on that AAU team that he was coming to Michigan already, and I knew that I wanted to come here, so it was a great experience. Knowing that he was going to be on the same team that I was in college and playing together throughout the summer was a great learning experience. By the time we got to Michigan we knew each other's game and knew what to expect out of one another, so it worked out better than anyone could have expected."
On greatest basketball memory
"When we won the NIT championship. It's by far the greatest achievement I've had throughout my whole life. It's something that I'll speak about for a long time, until something better comes along like winning a NCAA Championship. It's just a great accomplishment our team shared together, and it's something that will be with us for while."
On biggest influence in life
"The biggest influence in my life would be my family, not only my parents, but also my brothers and my sister. Both of my brothers were always in basketball and I started playing basketball and other sports with them early in my life. Both of them came to Michigan and I always have looked up to them, so then I wanted to come to Michigan. My family has definitely been the biggest influence in my life."
On his nickname "Hambone"
"I really have no idea where it came about. I think it's because Graham ends in 'ham'. My dad just made nicknames for everyone in my family growing up, so it's just always been around. Maybe it was because I ate a lot when I was little. I've just always been called that my whole life."
On the season's ups and downs and his role as a captain
"You just got to make sure everyone stays with it. Things will go astray at anytime during the year but you just have to keep working at it and put in the time and effort to keep the ship back on track. You keep putting in the effort to win some games and throughout this whole year we've been out here at practice working hard; that is one of the key things you can ask of anybody. We were out there doing the best we could and there were times where we weren't winning games, but we were giving our best effort. That was one of the key things that I made sure everyone did, keep fighting and giving effort. You've got to make sure they have the attitude to keep working and things will hopefully end up going your way."
On his scrappy play
"That's basically my game. My game is not that spectacular. I'm not one of our key scorers on the team. For me to excel on the court, I have to work on the little things. I've always been taught that the little things are what wins you basketball games and it's something that I'm always working on trying to improve. You've just got to work on those little things and they might not come as easy as everyone expects, so you just got to keep on working day-to-day to get better."
On his aggressive play after a second hernia surgery
"I've been through it before, this being my second surgery, so if I hadn't gone through it before I would have been a little more hesitant. I was fine after the first surgery, so it's just one of those things that after you've had it done once before, you feel more comfortable with the situation. You know your abilities in what you can and cannot do. After my second surgery, I felt that I was back and could play my game."
On playing Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament
"It's a good feeling, knowing we've prepared for them before and have already played a couple games against them; we've seen what they have. Obviously, they can come out and attack by hitting the three and that is what they base their offense on. It's something they do very well. We've seen what they do well and what they lack, which is not very much. We've been through this before with them and I have good feeling going into this game with them. Hopefully, if we play as well as we're able to, we can go out and get a victory."
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Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423