Most freshmen begin college worried about finding their classes, doing well on exams and making friends with new roommates. Other freshman, however, are worried about making the University Michigan basketball team. That is the case of Michigan's new freshman walk-on, Alex Brzozowicz. The 6-3, 185 pound freshman joins John Andrews, Ashtyn Bell, Hayes Grooms and Dani Wohl as one of five non-scholarship walk-ons for the 2004-05 Michigan men's basketball team.
Brzozowicz, from Oak Park, Illinois, played high school at St. Ignatius College Prep. He finished his prep career averaging 18 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals for the Wolfpack. While at St. Ignatius, Brzozowicz was named to numerous all tournament teams including the Jack Tosh Christmas Tournament and the Daily South Town Tournament.
Laid back and relaxed, the comical Alex Brzozowicz sat down to discuss making the team, his favorite course, and the importance of his sister, Ashley, in his life.
On his first couple months of school
"Classes are going alright. It's a huge transition between the small classes of high school -- with teachers telling you exactly what you need to know -- and the big lecture environment where you have to figure out what specifically you need to know all on your own."
On his favorite class
"I'm taking American Culture 231. The class is about the visual imagery of culture and we get to look at the visual arts and materials of American culture and use those to expand our knowledge of society. It's interesting, because you don't get stuck reading a lot of text books, instead you get to actually look at artifacts and pieces of work from the time period you are studying."
On something you he misses from home
"I miss being at home with my family and my bed. I would love to wake up and say, 'Hey Mom! What's going on' But instead I wake up and say, 'Hey! It's Ronald Coleman!' I don't think you can really substitute Mom for Ron."
On the biggest influence/role model in his life
"My sister was my role model. She is three years older than I am and she was the perfect student-athlete. She went to the same high school I went to, but she came out as second in her class. She then graduated from Yale, where she was ranked second in nationals for rowing. She's currently at a law firm in New York, so there is no better example for me to follow than her."
On his decision to come to Michigan
"I talked to Loyola University Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan along with a couple other Division III programs, but I just wasn't interested. I would have rather came to Michigan and get a great education, instead of playing a lot of minutes on a Division III program. I'm not going to go to the pros, so Michigan provides me with an education that I can use in the future."
On the physical strain of making the team as a walk-on
"I worked as hard as I possibly could. When I showed up at school the coaches had me lifting and conditioning with the team and I would go as hard as could. During the first couple of days I couldn't even make it through conditioning. The trainer had to take me out and let me know that I wasn't going to be able to make it."
On getting better outside of practice
"I pushed myself as hard as I could outside of practice. I'd run from West Quad, to the hospital, and then to Crisler Arena where I'd do stairs. So by the time we'd actually have conditioning practice again, I was already in better shape than I was before."
On a specific mentor or player who he looks up to
"I look up to Graham (Brown) and Lester (Abram). Lester is very quite, but he leads by example with an amazing work ethic. Graham is one of the most vocal players I've played with and also one of the most unselfish players. Against Michigan Tech he took a charge against a 5-10 kid and I've never seen anybody put their body on the line like that."
On the differences between a high school and college level
"The difference is huge. In high school every team had one or two good players, where as here everyone is a great player and can kill you at anytime. The tempo is also different. In high school everyone moves incredibly slow, almost at a walking pace. In college, if you get caught walking for half a step you will get burned."
On things he needs to get better on as the season goes on
"I just need to calm down. I've played basketball forever and I just need to settle down to regain my shot. I need to remember that I am at Michigan and I am playing basketball, and not get so anxious. The coaches sometimes just ask me a question and I just freak out. I just need to sit down, chill out, and get my bearings back."
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Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423