Following in the footsteps of former 10 Questions columnist Paul Testa ’07, who forgot to turn on the tape recorder during the beginning of his first interview, Sun Assistant Managing Editor Jasmine Marcus lost her interview when Word crashed on her computer. Luckily, sophomore point guard Chris Wroblewski lived up to his “Midwestern Nice” reputation and agreed to be interviewed all over again. This time, Jasmine used a tape recorder.
1. OK, let’s start with recent events. You’ve started in all three games so far. How does that feel? Since I know it was up in the air at one point.
It’s definitely exciting, and I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous at first. But I’ve been through this for a year, so I’m a little more confident now. And three games in [editor’s note: The team is now 5-2], I think I’ve improved each game. I’m getting more comfortable with it. It’s definitely fun.
So what’s the difference between coming off the bench and preparing to start the game?
Um, I don’t know if there is much difference. I think before the season when it was up in the air, and I didn’t know, and we were playing the pre-season, I had to go into each game thinking I was going to start because you need to bring that kind of mindset to the game so that when you do go in, you’re can be ready to do whatever’s necessary. So, I think I’m really in the same kind of mindset: just play as hard as I can and as smart as I can.
You had a really great game against Seton Hall. I looked up some of your stats, you got 22 points, and you made all nine of your free throws.
Yeah, that’s an improvement from last year when I shot like 60 percent.
During our last interview, we talked about how no player ever makes all of their free throws, but in that game you did.
Thank you, yeah it was one of my better games, but still it wasn’t enough. It was a disappointing loss… We definitely could’ve used [senior guard Louis Dale] out there more … But yeah, I just think my teammates set me up really well to be in the right place at the right time.
That’s funny because I was just watching a video of [senior forward] Ryan Wittman where he said that the reason he shoots so well is also because you guys set him up.
Yeah, I think one of the greatest assets to our team is that we’re all very unselfish. And so I think, all the guys, from top to bottom, are just looking to pass first before setting up themselves. And we all make each other better.
Your coach was quoted saying that one of the reasons you perform so well is that other teams tend to ignore you and focus on Wittman and Dale.
Yeah, I’m definitely, like, the sleeper, or whatever you want to call it, but for opposing teams, they’re just wanting to stop Wittman because he’s so deadly in so many ways, and Louis, you know, is explosive, and then you’ve got [senior center] Jeff Foote down low, so definitely a lot of their attention is focused on them, and I go unnoticed, which I have no problem with.
It’s one of the only times when it’s good to be ignored.
Yeah, I guess. I go a little under the radar and I get a few more open looks than they do.
Do you think that now that he’s said that, it’s going to make people notice you?
[Laughs] I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t, but I don’t know. Maybe they might identify me as a shooter, but game in and game out, they’re going to focus all their attention on Wittman, Dale and Foote, I think for the whole season, and so I think guys like me and [senior guard Geoff] Reeves and [junior forward Adam] Wire can definitely step up and have some open looks, and we should take advantage of that.
Now, I’m from New Jersey, so I have to ask: After Seton Hall, what do you think of people from New Jersey?
Um, you know what, that was a very disappointing loss for us, and we felt that we know we’re a better team than what we played, and we felt like we let one slip away. But you’ve got to tip your hat to them — they played a great game.
2. Wow, that was so nice of you. Now, looking ahead to Syracuse, [editor’s note: The Red lost, 88-73. Wroblewski finished with 20 points, best on the team] I want to hear a prediction.
Well, I’m very impressed. I don’t know if you know but they beat Cal, and they just beat North Carolina, and that’s pretty impressive. It’s going to be a great test for us. I think we’re a much different team than Cal and North Carolina, we’ve got better shooters.
And you definitively have more experience. I know a lot of North Carolina’s good players just graduated.
Yeah, and we’ve been in the Carrier Dome, and it was a very tight, very competitive game last year, and that should help us, and I think we can do things to their zone that other teams couldn’t, so it should be a good game.
What’s it like playing there, in a real stadium?
Bigger! But to be honest, the Carrier Dome last year, I think had like 18,000 people or something, and it was a great atmosphere, but it’s so big because it’s a football stadium, so I don’t think it’s as loud as would’ve been if it was at a tighter arena, whereas Newman last Friday night was so loud, it was great to see everyone come out and support us. But you know, the Carrier Dome is awesome to play in. It’s just really big.
It’s awesome, but isn’t it also a little disheartening since everyone’s cheering against you?
[Sheepishly, because he’s trying to be positive] Yeah.
Tell me a little about the music you play during games. Who picks it out?
That would mostly be Foote and [senior forward Alex Tyler]. There are definitely some questionable songs on the latest CD, but Miley — that was a great addition — “Party in the USA.”
That was in the mix?
[Laughs] Yeah, to psych out the opposing team.
It’s so weird how everybody loves that song.
Yeah, there’s just something about it. That’s actually my alarm. I wake up to it.
3. Now, I know the UMass coach called you guys a Sweet Sixteen team…
… what do you think about that?
Wow, I think we have a legitimate shot, and we feel like we’re a Sweet Sixteen team as well, and we just know that we have a lot of improvement to go. Seton Hall was a great test for us, and playing these very athletic, upper-echelon teams early in the season’s going to pay great dividends for us in the future, and I think if we work hard enough, and play as well as we can, then we can give it a legitimate shot.
Cool. Of the most recent basketball polls I looked at this morning, one gave Cornell one votes, and the other gave us two vote, and Seton Hall still has no votes.
Really? Well, that’s too bad for Seton Hall.
And [New York Times sports writer] Pete Thamel was twittering before the Seton Hall game that Cornell should be in the Top-25.
[Laughing] That’s funny.
Yeah, but the team’s definitely getting a lot of good buzz.
Yeah, it’s fun, and it’s great to see that people are paying more attention to us, and giving us the credit that we think we deserve. But we definitely still have to focus inwards, and we have to know that the buzz and everything is great, but it doesn’t matter if we don’t put it all on the floor and play well.
4. So I want to test this theory I have on you that proves that Cornell was the best college team in the country last year.
This sounds interesting.
So Cornell beat Harvard.
Harvard beat Boston College. BC beat UNC. And UNC won the tournament.
Yeah, well that’s the transitive property, yeah!
But no one ever really agrees with me on that. What do you think?
Um, you know what? I have to agree with you. [Laughter] … No, I’m kidding. Each game is an independent case from all the rest, but I’m certainly fine with that logic.
It would be much different if we actually played them, but you never know what could happen.
Well, you’re going to play Kansas soon [Jan 6. in Lawrence, Kan.], and they’re currently ranked No. 1, so I guess we’ll see how that works out.
5. OK, keeping with the basketball questions: What has been your best basketball moment?
My best basketball moment was at home when we beat Penn and the fans rushed the court, and we won the Ivy League, and it was the realization that we were going to March Madness. I was sitting on Selection Sunday with the team watching as the brackets fill out, and we were one of them, and I used to watch it as a kid, and I idolized those players, and it was the coolest thing ever. And now, we were all a part of it, and I was proud. It was an amazing feeling. But winning Ivies too, knowing that everything we worked for that whole year actually paid off was a great feeling. And then actually playing in the tournament, obviously. That was just a different atmosphere than any other game I’ve played in. And I would definitely like to have that feeling again.
Nice. I know this year, the way the tournament works out, the first two rounds are at the beginning of Spring Break, so you guys could actually get to go on Spring Break. Any plans?
Well, hopefully we don’t get Spring Break off because hopefully we’ll be practicing that week for the next weekend.
For the third round?
So nobody’s making any Spring Break plans?
OK. Speaking of Spring Break, I noticed an interesting picture tagged of you on Facebook.
Oh. Wow. Spring Break.
Do you know which one I’m talking about?
No. Enlighten me, please.
Um, it’s you and a bunch of your friends mooning the camera on the beach somewhere.
[Laughs] We were just friends having fun.
And you’re allowed as an athlete to have pictures up like that?
Probably not. I should probably take that one down, I just forgot about it because that was before Cornell and everything.
So it’s a good thing I’m interviewing you and had to stalk you for this.
Yeah, I definitely need to go through my pictures and edit that one out. That’s funny though.
6. So last time we talked about how you live in a house with most of the basketball players, so I have to ask: Who is the messiest?
Right off the top of my head, it’s got to be Wire. Definitely. Collectively, I would say the house is really messy. But if it wasn’t for [Tyler], and I guess I’m pretty neat too, but Wire definitely contributes the most garbage to the house. I think it’s a by-product of him eating like 10 meals throughout the day, so he just has so much more trash than everyone else. Yeah, it’s crazy.
Some of your roommates were telling me to make fun of you for being short, and they were calling you a little boy.
They call me a little boy a lot, and I think it’s just because relative to all of them, yeah, I’m tiny. But when we get out into the real world, I’m going to be the average one.
What happens when you see regular people who are even shorter than you? Like, if they’re calling you little, aren’t I a midget?
[Laughter] I guess, with that logic. But it really started last year. It was our second game. We played at St. John’s, and I was bringing the ball up the court, and one of their players yelled really loudly at the guy guarding me, you know to pressure me or something, “Go get him! He’s a little boy!” And then after the game, all the guys were just teasing me about it. So it really stuck, I guess.
I saw some Halloween pictures of you, and I know we talked last time about Super Smash Brothers, so were you Ness on Halloween?
Yeah, that’s good. I was Ness.
Is that because he’s a little boy?
I think that had something to do with it. But he’s also a fun character to play. And then we went to the Salvation Army, and I found a little baseball bat, so it was perfect. And then Adam Wire was Donkey Kong, so we had some Super Smash Brothers going on. It was fun.
Who among you are the best and worst Super Smash players?
Hands down, best player … [points to self]. I’m the best player. Worst player: Adam Wire. [Laughs]. I’m picking on Wire a lot.
Well, he’s one of your teammates who gave me some dirt on you, so it’s OK.
Well, he definitely has a lot of passion. He wants to be really good — he loves the game. And I love it about him, but …
Not so much?
Well our team’s really good at Smash, so someone has to be the worst. Except note that senior Mark Coury is the cheapest Smash Brother player.
He uses all the items.
Well that’s what some of your teammates said about you. That you like to use the hammer.
That was a separate case.
Hey, if I can get to the hammer before someone else does, I use it too.
I just came in the room and played — I didn’t choose any of the items — and the hammer was there, so I took it before someone else did.
Yeah, someone has to take it.
Yeah, I don’t know, but he got really worked up, and actually threw the controller at me. It was bad. But Coury just uses all the items, and he’ll like stay on a separate side of the map …
That’s always my strategy!
… and then he’ll be Pikachu, so he’ll just throw those lightning bolts at you. It’s so annoying.
7. I also have to mention again that you were accused of stealing One Tree Hill DVDs from [Alex Hill’s] little sister.
Well, that is false. 100 percent false. I’ve been borrowing them. Alex had seasons 1-4, and I’d always make fun of him for watching it, and then he made me watch an episode, and basketball is intertwined with the whole high school drama thing. It was good, I don’t know if you’ve ever watched it.
I haven’t, actually.
I tell you, it’s part basketball, part O.C., and I got addicted. I’m about midway through season 6 right now. I’m catching up. Me and Hill still like watching.
Do you relate to all the basketball drama?
Not really. The kid on the show is a stud and is going to Duke to play, so it’s a little out of my league I guess.
You mean you weren’t a basketball stud in high school?
Well, I mean …[blushes, laughs] … not at that level.
And, I have to ask: Have you managed to watch any more chick flicks now that the season’s started again?
[Laughter] Yeah, actually I have. I watched The Proposal the other night. It was good. ... It was funny; it was entertaining definitely.
8. OK, now the big thing all your teammates told me to ask you about is: Why do you spend so much time alone in your room with the door locked?
[Laughter] Ahh, that was one time when I wasn’t feeling well, so I was in my room watching movies.
[Interrupting] Chick flicks?
No, I think that time I watched GI Joe and Transformers II. So I was in my room the whole day and I wasn’t feeling well, and they had no courtesy, no sympathy. I wasn’t feeling well and that’s what they do, they rag on me for being antisocial and being in my room.
Well now you’ve gotten back at some of them, so it’s all good. Which of your teammates would you say is the toughest?
Adam Wire or Alex Tyler
Wow, you finally said something good about Wire.
Yeah, I’ll give credit where it’s due. I’ll give him that. He does a lot of dirty work for us.
Oh really. What does that mean?
[Laughter] No, on the basketball court. Steals and offensive rebounds.
9. So I’ve decided that since my name is Jasmine, I’ve got to ask all the players I interview which Disney character they’d most like to be.
I’m going to go with Hercules. It gives me the chance to be the big and strong one out of the bunch.
Yeah, it gives me the perspective of the other side. That’d be fun.
10. And final question: Which other team would you most like to hang out with?
Can cheerleading be a team?
OK, it’s got to be the cheerleaders because they cheer for us the entire year. Especially against Seton Hall, it was such a home court advantage.
Do you guys hang out with them a lot?
There’s not like team functions where we’re all together, but I’m friends with a couple, and some of the other guys on the team know a few of them. So I think we’re definitely friends with them.
So when there’re huddles during time-outs, you guys are watching the cheerleaders, and listening to Miley Cyrus, and maybe not listening to [head coach Steve Donahue] so much?
[Laughter] Uhhhh, well I can only speak on my behalf, but most of us, no, all of us are listening. The game and our season are just so important, and we know the importance of each moment, so when the coach is talking we give him our undivided attention.
So how do you know how good the cheerleaders are then?
Uhh, warm-ups and going on and off the court through the tunnel.
OK, sure. [Laughter].