Conducting her first-ever 10 Questions interview, Sun Sports Editor-turned-?? Alex Kuczynski-Brown sat down in the nosebleed bleachers of Newman Arena with sophomore forward Dwight Tarwater. They discussed his musical endeavors, Tim Tebow, being “Daphne” (of Scooby Doo fame) and how he’s attempting to model his life after University of Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers.
1. Just going off of some preliminary research, athletics seem to run really deep in your family. Your brother [Davis Tarwater] swam at Michigan and is a five-time member of the U.S. national team. Your uncle [Richmond Flowers] played in the NFL, you have cousins who signed NFL free agent contracts … how is it that you came to play basketball?
Well to start out with, I’m a lot taller than everybody in my family and nobody’s really sure where the height came from, but it’s also kind of hard to live up to all those standards because I have cousins who have been succeeding; my brother, obviously, it’s almost like I’m living in his shadow, almost … but it’s awesome — I’ve been very gifted with my family and it’s just been a blessing.
When did you start playing basketball, and how did that come about?
It’s kind of something I picked up on when I was really young. I probably started playing when I was 5 or 6, and again I was taller than everybody in my class and stuff, so it was one of those things where I played ever since then. I also played pretty much every other sport. I played football, I played soccer and baseball, and basketball was by far my best so I just stuck with that.
You were recruited by Steve Donahue. How did you react when you heard the news that he was leaving Cornell to go to BC?
I actually wasn’t too surprised, with all the success they had had that year and in the past. I got to talk to Coach Courtney and he said we were gonna be alright, and I liked him ever since I talked to him on the phone the first time. I’m still happy with the decision I made, and I never had any doubts.
So fast-forward to now, what was it like starting the first [three] games of this season after sitting out pretty much all of last season with illness?
It’s a great experience. We’ve got some injured guys right now so there’s kind of an opportunity in disguise for me to step up and get some experience. It was rough year last year with mono and everything. This year’s been 10 times better and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve had the first few games here.
One of your teammates, who may or may not be [senior] Chris Wroblewski, said you’re going to have a big year in terms of basketball. How would you respond to that?
That means a lot coming from Chris, who started on a Sweet 16 team. I feel like he knows what he’s talking about, so that means a lot to me … I’m really thankful to have a teammate and a friend like Chris, cause he’s such a great guy and such a great leader.
2. You’re from Knoxville, so I can understand you being a Volunteers supporter. But what specifically is it about the University of Tennessee and Da’Rick Rogers in particular that so appeals to you?
[laughing] Me and another teammate, [junior] Peter McMillan, feel that Da’Rick Rogers is the best college football player in the country right now. Sometimes we try to model our lives after him. It’s tough, because Da’Rick, you know, he’s a very famous person. … Me and Pete actually have a dynasty going on in NCAA Football the game, and he actually won the Heisman both as wide receiver and as a safety because we moved him to defense. He’s definitely our favorite player.
How do you attempt to model your lives after him?
That’s sort of a thing that Peter’s picked up on more than I. He did a lot of research on him and he knows a lot more than I do, so you’d probably have to ask him about how we’re going to model our lives after him.
I was actually looking him up on Facebook. He has over 4,000 friends.
Yeah, we also follow him on Twitter too, and we’ve tweeted at him multiple times and we’ve sent him messages on Facebook. We have yet to get a response from him, but we’re hoping one day he’ll shoot us back a message.
Well, hopefully he’ll see this interview. Speaking of Twitter, apparently your Twitter ratio is very important to you. What do you consider to be the ideal ratio?
I just feel if you’re an important person then you should have more followers than people you’re following, but that’s actually something that’s really not important to me. I may have said that before, but I was obviously joking … but yeah, I feel like Twitter is very important in everyday life.
I actually did some research in preparation for this interview. As of [Monday] you were 318 followers to 130 people you follow.
That’s a good ratio.
3. I’m told you’re a big Glee fan, and personally I’ve never understood the appeal, so maybe you could shed some light on what makes this show so popular among our generation?
Believe it or not, we actually have a few guys on the team who watch it too. [Sophomore] Jake Matthews, Chris Wroblewski and last year’s Aaron Osgood ’11 were avid Glee lovers. And as for the show, it’s great music with people who sing who have great voices, and it doesn’t hurt to have some very attractive women in the show too. So I feel like Glee is just the total package. It takes me back to my high school days every now and then, and kind of how I didn’t live out my dream to be a singer and an actor.
So, do you dispute the assertion that your favorite Pandora station is either Disney songs or Glee Cast?
That’d be true.
You mentioned high school … does your interest in Glee perhaps have anything to do with your high school days, and a music group by the name of “Kountry Fried Thugzz”?
[laughing] Actually, the music you hear on Glee really doesn’t compare to the Kountry Fried Thugzz as much. We actually had some really good songs — most of the guys on the team don’t agree with me — but we were a rap group. … Another guy who went to my high school and actually goes to Cornell named Miles Biggs ’13 … he was in the group as well. We’re actually trying to make a comeback and maybe make a couple more songs.
What gave you the idea to start this rap group?
It’s just the kind of thing that formed together. I was actually on the computer, in high school — I was supposed to be working on a project and I got on GarageBand and I made a beat, and it really wasn’t that good at all. Then one of my other friends came in and started rapping over it, and that’s kind of how it got started.
Is it true that you can still find your music on Myspace?
You can. It’s myspace.com/KountryFriedThugzz.
This seems like a far cry from rap, but I’ve been told to ask you about Kenny Rogers, specifically his song “The Gambler.”
[laughing] “The Gambler” is definitely, I’d say, a team song. It’s a song we always listen to. We listened to it on the bus one time, we listen to it in the locker room. We’re getting [junior] Errick [Peck] to put it on our warmup list. It’s just a great song that I feel like covers all the ideals of everyday life, and it just paints the perfect picture of my life and everybody else on the team.
4. My sources say that you, Jake and [sophomore] Dom [Scelfo] are quite the trio, and have your own language that Ski referred to as “sarcastic opposite.” Care to elaborate on this?
Ski refers to it as “opposite-land” I guess — “opposite-world,” maybe. Honestly I could not tell you how it came about. I guess we kind of say things that we mean but then we say … it’s actually really, really confusing; I don’t know how to explain it. Like if I was gonna say “I really enjoy this interview” right now I would say in opposite-land “I don’t like this interview at all, and I’m really tired of it.” But Ski never really tends to understand what we mean, and it really frustrates him, which is mostly why we do it.
5. Apparently the three of you watched all eight seasons of 24 on Netflix in the span of a couple weeks, and are now onto LOST. A little late to the party aren’t we? But in any event, what do those shows mean to you?
24 is in my opinion the best show ever. I actually had watched the first couple seasons of LOST when they came out — like a normal person would — and we saw it on Netflix and I convinced my roommates that we had to watch, and they love it. We started on it and we’re now halfway through season 2, which is big because we just started about two weeks ago, so we’ve been on a roll.
Regarding 24, what is it about the tragic demise of Edgar Stiles that made you so emotional? I don’t watch the show, so you’ll have to enlighten me about his situation.
Edgar Stiles is basically your everyday American hero. He worked in the counter-terrorist unit on 24, and he was such a nice guy. He had great intentions, and he came up big and saved the world a couple times, and they had to kill him off somehow and when he died it was very emotional to me. It kind of brought some tears to my eyes and it was rough. It took me a while to get over it.
6. So I know for Halloween last year you guys dressed up as the Scooby Doo Mystery Gang. My only question there is: how in the world did you end up being Daphne?
It’s kind of hard for me to admit this, but that was the only person left in the Mystery Gang. Ski was Fred, and [Adam] Wire ’11 was Scooby Doo, obviously, and Aro was Shaggy, and [senior] Max [Groebe] was Velma, obviously. And they didn’t have a Daphne, so I actually volunteered to be the Daphne. And it kind of went from there. I got made fun of a lot that night on Halloween. I actually got pushed by one of the football players because I was dressed as a girl, and he didn’t really like that I don’t think.
I feel like I did hear part of this story. But apparently there was a situation with Velma, and a fight over Fred? Anything you can tell me about that?
Max portrayed Velma as [being] in love with Daphne, you know, the very beautiful woman. And you know Daphne in the show is always Fred’s girl, so every time I’d be over by Fred, Velma would get really angry and he would get really upset and he started talking a bunch of nonsense.
7. What are your thoughts on the meme that is “Tebowing”?
Tebowing is awesome. Tebow is probably my favorite player in the NFL behind Peyton Manning (obviously, Tennessee guy). I just think Tebow is awesome. He’s got great values, he’s a great player. Along the lines of Tebow, Max is the worst Fantasy Football owner ever for accepting [our] trade — I gave him Tebow for three awesome players. He’s just foolish for doing that.
The whole thing about a meme, though, is that once someone actually acknowledges the meme — like when Tebow actually made a point to mention “Tebowing” in an interview — that kills it. Do you agree or do you think the tradition will live on?
I think the tradition will live on. And I don’t like the fact that people make fun of Tebow for doing that just cause he’s such a competitor and stuff, so I might take a stand on that.
8. Describe how you came to know “Kesha” freshman year.
Kesha is an awesome musical artist and I love her and I love listening to her, “TiK ToK” and everything. She’s definitely one of my favorite musical artists.
[laughing] And what would you do if you ever crossed paths with her today … at Cornell?
I don’t know, if we had her for Slope Day, I don’t know what I would do with myself. I might have to run up on stage and give her a hug or something and invite her back to the basketball house after. I don’t know if she’d accept.
Does she pose any threat or competition to Natalie Gulbis?
Natalie Gulbis is one of my favorite golfers behind Bubba Watson, and I think she’s amazing also. She’s beautiful, she’s athletic and she’s awesome. But I would like Kesha better than Natalie Gulbis.
Do you play golf, or are you just a casual fan?
I occasionally play golf. Me and Jake and Pete and Dom and Ski play every now and then, and Dom is by far the worst. He’s definitely all for the power game and I don’t think he’s ever hit a fairway in golf ever. I feel like me, Pete, Jake and Ski are pretty good.
Have you seen Charles Barkley golf?
I’ve seen Charles Barkley golf. Their swings are equally ugly, I think. I think Charles Barkley is more accurate, definitely, than Dom. I would have to go with Charles Barkley on it.
Do you believe that all brands of golf ball are created equal, or that there are some that are inherently superior to others, i.e. the Pro V1 golf balls?
I do believe that the Pro V1s actually make my golf game. Me and Peter actually do purchase a sleeve of Pro V1s just to play when we get around the green for the touch, you know, on the green. But we would never, ever try to drive with Pro V1 because there’s a big chance we would lose it, and we can’t deal with losing such heavenly balls as Pro V1s.
9. Why are you so excited for Christmas? It’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Does it have something to do with a certain Mariah Carey song that you seem to really enjoy along with the rest of the world?
That’s flat-out the best Christmas song ever made. I do do a dance to it and it just gets me in the mood of Christmas. You know, right after Thanksgiving I’m going to start blaring it — I might even start blaring it before Thanksgiving just because I’m so excited. Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday, and Mariah Carey just comes with it.
10. Last I heard, there was some uncertainty surrounding whether or not Tropical Tuesday would continue after Max and Ski graduate, and I just want to know what you have to say about that?
They do this every year. Aro and Wire said that they were the last of a dying breed, and that the fun would never continue, and now Max and Ski have to be just like them, cause they’re wannabes and everything … but Tropical Tuesday is always going to live on in the basketball house. It’s a tradition that’s never going to die. As long as me, Jake and Dom are around things are going to live on.
Alex Kuczynski-Brown can be reached at [email protected]. She’s hoping Dwight will do his “All I Want for Christmas Is You” dance for her in exchange for helping him with his Twitter ratio (remember to follow @DTarwater33!)
Original Author: Alex Kuczynski-Brown