Before the men’s basketball team takes on Columbia in New York City this weekend, junior forward Brian Kreefer launched half-court shots at Newman Arena with Sun assistant sports editor Lance Williams.
1. Because I’m so excited about the team this year, I wanted to start out a little serious this week before we move into some more interesting stuff. The team is 9-5 right now, you guys won the Ivy opener against Columbia last weekend and in my opinion are stocked with talent. What is your prediction for the rematch with Columbia this weekend?
I know we’re going to win for sure, but I’m not positive by how much. Hopefully it will be the same or a little more.
Yeah that would be nice.
Will you guys win the Ivy League?
We definitely can. We have all the stuff put in place to win the Ivy League but I just don’t know about that. It depends how some road games go and how good the officiating is.
Do you want to go ahead and say yes?
Umm, why not?
Just give me a definitive answer, I’m not going to let you say that you’d like to.
Well I’m not going to say no, so yes.
There you go, good answer. Will you go undefeated in the Ivy League?
That’s a tough one. Even Penn the past few years hasn’t gone undefeated when they were winning it so there is always a game that is close …
[Interrupts] So no? or yes?
I can’t say no, that’s the thing.
[Laughing] I like it. What do you want to tell all those fools at ESPN Bracketology who picked Brown to win it?
I don’t really know what they were thinking on that one at all. We had a few rough games earlier in the season so they just jumped ship on us. But hopefully we can take care of Brown later this year.
I mean, Red is blatantly better than Brown, by the way. As the Lynah Faithful say, Brown is the color of s—.
2. You have a girlfriend who does not go to Cornell, right?
Yes, she goes to Miami University.
So how do you communicate with her?
Mainly by phone.
Do you have any other forms of communication?
[Smirking] Email, Facebook …
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Yeah I know where you’re going with this. I don’t like to say it because it sounds a lot creepier whenever it actually comes out of my mouth but, you know, she has a web cam and I have a web cam, so we also communicate through those.
Video communications if you will. How often would you say you guys “communicate” through those?
Once or twice a week. It’s always good to see her face, you know?
Yeah, absolutely. But my question is do you ever get to see more than her face?
No, I do not, she is pretty stubborn about that.
[Laughing] Really? I don’t believe you. You never take it to the next level?
I never take it to the next level.
You are lying through your teeth right now.
No way, no way, I have never taken it to the next level.
O.K., I’m not going to push you because I know she’s probably going to read this and I don’t want to get you in trouble …
But for the record, I’m going to assume that you have engaged in cybersex many times.
That is completely fabricated right there.
3. Anyways, what happened recently when the heat went out in your apartment?
Right away the instinct kicked in …
What instinct is that?
My primal instinct, I was just trying to survive, to stay warm.
[Laughing] What are you, a homeless man? You’re at Cornell in your nice little house, I wouldn’t go that far.
I know but the heat was out and it dropped down to about 50 degrees in my room. I had sweatshirts and gloves on, two pairs of socks, but they just weren’t doing it for me.
So what happened?
I went on a little scavenger hunt looking for some wood. I eventually came across one loose block and a bunch of Jenga pieces. So I got a pan out of the kitchen and had a little in-house campfire in my room.
You actually started a fire, purposefully, in your room?
Yes I did.
How did you get the flame going to begin with?
I put a little paper in the pan and got the blocks to light. The Jenga pieces actually lit rather easily.
[Laughing] Do you realize how ridiculous you sound right now?
[Ignoring] After I ran out of Jenga pieces it got kind of ugly because I had to rely on cardboard mainly, and then it started to really smoke up my room.
That can’t be good man.
Yeah I have to apologize to the people sitting next to me in class the last few days because my clothes were probably a little smoky.
Do you regret that decision in hindsight?
I have no regrets. It actually worked.
[Laughing] And somehow the fire department didn’t come?
The smoke detector is actually in [junior guard] Adam Gore’s room, so I was safe.
4. You live in East Liverpool, Ohio, where the hell is that?
Well it’s close to a few places. It is two hours south of Cleveland and 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh.
Do you think that qualifies you as a hick?
Not at all. There are some hick areas around me, but I’m not a hick at all. I’ve heard that I have a southern accent, but I don’t believe it.
Well you do.
I just feel that the hicks are more in West Virginia, not Ohio.
I agree with you there. I was also looking at your stats from high school and they were pretty gaudy. You were first-team all-state as a senior, averaged 27 points and 13 rebounds a game, led your team to a 20-3 record, and are still the school’s all-time leading scorer. Were those your glory days?
So far, those are my glory days, but I would like to think that I have better times to come. When I think about it, it is still pretty crazy though, I’m like, “Damn, I actually did that.”
Were you not the big man on campus, both literally and figuratively?
I have to say that I was. It was a great time for me. I really have no complaints from high school.
Has it been downhill since then?
It has been up and down. But I’m still playing Division I so it is mainly up.
5. Do you have any nicknames on the team?
Yeah they call me Kreef.
Some people also call me Killa.
Where did that come from?
[Senior] Khaliq Gant gave that one to me but I’m not really sure where it came from.
Are you a “Killa” on the court?
I try, but I don’t know what you’ve been hearing about me.
Lots of stuff, man.
I guess it just begins with a ‘K’ and so does my last name …
Any other ones you can think of?
OK, how about “Killa Kitty Kreef?”
Where did that nonsense come from?
A girl on the volleyball team actually gave me that one.
[Smiling] That sounds like a story.
No, not like that …
Were you with your girlfriend at the time she gave you this nickname?
Yes, but it was completely innocent.
Let the readers decide that.
[Laughing] No, but apparently I reminded her of some big furry monster named “Kitty” in the movie Monsters, Inc.
I’ve never seen it.
Yeah, I saw it twice.
[Laughing] Is there any more to that story?
No, not at all.
Now I heard that it involves purring like a cat.
I don’t know where you got that from but I’m pretty sure that is made up.
I mean I don’t remember ever purring … Yes that’s made up.
[Laughing] I don’t even know what to say. But that’s a good move by you to completely deny it. For the record, you never purr like a cat in any situation, sexual or otherwise?
OK, once again I’m just going to back off. What about the nickname “the Garbage Man?”
That one was given to me by [head] coach Donahue, because evidently he thinks some of the shots I make are trash or garbage. Whatever you want to call it, I get the ugly baskets. One time in practice he told a player that “I know you think that’s not going in, but that’s dog shit. That’s what Kreefer does, he makes dog shit.”
6. Tell me about your relationship with [junior] Conor Mullen.
You know, he’s a good friend. We have a lot of classes together …
But that’s where it ends?
That’s where it ends.
Some people have alleged that you might be a little too close to him. What would you say to them?
You know what, I’ve heard that many times …
Maybe there’s a reason you’ve heard it many times.
We just hit it off; we just connect. There’s nothing wrong with two dudes connecting.
We hear that all the time and I just want to say that there is nothing to that for anyone who is actually curious.
Now of course I believe you, but I just want to throw a few questions out there to be sure. Have you ever laid in bed together watching TV? Possibly more than once?
I mean, yeah.
OK, that’s all I need. Do you share your iPod headphones on bus trips?
Doesn’t each player get two seats to himself on all bus trips?
No, not all bus trips.
But the majority?
[Interrupts] You know what, I know where you’re going with this.
You see right through me.
We do not pair up when there are empty seats to be had.
I see, but when you can’t get your own two seats, why don’t you just use your own iPods and your own headphones?
It is just laziness on my part. I don’t always get my iPod out and he offers for me to listen to some music and I want to listen to some music.
That’s very sweet.
Yeah he’s a nice guy.
And finally, I want to say that you guys have been to quite a few of our parties and you do often roll through together. Would you say that is true as well?
We do roll through together but we never make it home together.
[Laughing] That was a good answer, very nice.
7. Speaking of iPods, what is on your iPod?
A lot of good music, a lot of popular …
What does that mean?
I mean, hip-hop …
You consider hip-hop as dance music?
Not like techno just good beats to dance to.
So rap music?
“Gangster hood rap” is what I heard from a number of sources.
[Laughing] I always get picked on for that, but I just have a tendency to listen to that kind of music. I don’t know what the big deal is. It is uplifting, there is nothing better than a good beat.
There are some pretty “crunk” songs, if you want to call it that, on my iPod.
I will. Do you have any soft stuff?
I’ve got some Jay Holiday on there, some old school R&B.
Do you ever sneak a little John Mayer or James Blunt in there to strengthen your relationship with Conor? You know, get the dual setup, and throw in a nice love song just to relax you before a big game?
Not John Mayer, but maybe something else.
8. Would you consider yourself the team clown?
I would not like to use that word, I think it is negative, but I do think that I am one of the funnier people on the team. I don’t try to go out of my way to be funny, I just try to catch some people off guard. We have some characters on the team but I don’t think any of them are as funny as me.
Who are your favorite targets?
Definitely [juniors] Jeff Foote and Jason Battle.
I’m not going to put too much out there but their tendencies often make the locker room awkward. And we like to call them soft and weak. Just the basic stuff because, you know, they are.
[Laughing] Don’t you think Foote is a little bit too easy?
Both of them are easy targets. I really like the bully role in that case because I know whatever I say, it is just not coming back to me. They take it well and their comebacks are always really weak. I know I can go there and I’m always coming out on top.
You’re basically saying that it is an offensive mismatch.
You need to be fed the ball inside all day long against them.
I’m calling for it.
Who would win in a fight, you or Foote?
Me, for sure.
But he has that 8-foot reach.
No, I would just shoot in on him and once I get him on the ground, it is done. His arms would be flailing, legs all over the place.
9. Back to basketball and real topics. I was at Duke and thought it was amazing. What was it like to play in that type of environment?
Oh man, it was crazy. You hear a lot about their fans being intimidating but they don’t really cut you down as much as cheer for Duke. So that kind of energy makes anyone who comes in there ready to play. We weren’t really tight so we did pretty well; it was a lot of fun.
I agree, I had a great time. I also noticed, since the Cameron Crazies were right behind me, that they are just a bunch of geeks. All of them were literally nerds.
Oh yeah, exactly. Whatever they said to me, I was just like are you serious? So we didn’t worry about them too much.
How did it feel to score the first points for Cornell?
After I made the shot, I was like, holy s—, that just went in. I was so focused on playing “D” and stuff that I wasn’t really expecting to do that. But someone had to do it. I would like to pat myself on the back for that one. [Laughing] No, I’m just kidding.
No, that’s true man. You’ll always have to that story to tell your grandkids, I scored at Cameron Indoor Arena.
10. Last question is always the same. Who is the hottest women’s team at Cornell?
I would probably have to say the cheerleaders.
Wow, do you consider them a team?
[Five-second pause] No, but they do. And their whole squad is at every one of our games.
They cheer like hell for you guys.
I see them the most out of any other team so …
So the cheerleading squad? That is a good answer, I’ve never heard that before.
I know, I read 10 Questions all the time and they get no love.
You’re right, it’s unbelievable.
Well now I have to ask this question, who is hotter, our cheerleaders or the Duke cheerleaders?
Duke wasn’t quite as nice as I would like to think but they, uhhh, they were pretty good.
OK, so what does that mean, you’re going with Duke?
I don’t know.
[Laughing] You’re probably in trouble either way.
No, I’m going with Cornell cheerleaders.
I would also like to take this time right now to address whoever stole a coat this Saturday at Dinos. If they would like to return it, I would appreciate it.
Let’s get into some specifics, what color is it?
It’s a black coat and I left it hanging up on the hanger in Dinos. I mean, I went over and was really sad when I saw that my coat wasn’t there anymore. I just want to put this out there, if they return it, there will be no hard feelings. I understand, I just want my coat back because I’m really cold.
Way to get the word out Kreef.
10 Questions with Lance Williams will appear every Thursday unless Kreefer burns Lance’s house down. You can reach Lance at firstname.lastname@example.org