Aug. 25, 2005
Kansas sophomore Rodrick Stewart recently participated on a six-game tour of Slovenia and Austria with the men's basketball Sport Tours International All-Stars. The 6-4 guard was the team's second leading scorer averaging 13.5 points in six games. Stewart ended the second game of the tour in the first half when he broke a backboard while dunking. Here are 10 questions for Stewart about the trip and more.
1. What was the favorite part of your recent basketball all-star trip?
"My favorite part was outside (of playing) basketball. It was making new friends and hanging out with the guys. It was great having the experience of playing against older guys. Not playing for a whole year, I became rusty. The trip allowed the rusty part of my game to get polished."
2. You were the second-leading scorer on the all-star team. Basketball-wise, what did you learn most from the trip?
"In a game situation, I learned how to be patient. It was key to play against the older guys, the game is more mental than actually playing itself. I learned how to slow down on offense and pace myself. I learned on how to be a better player as a whole."
3. The tour visited Slovenia and Austria. Did you get to tour these countries very much? If so, what were some highlights?
"We really didn't go out that much because our bodies were on U.S. time. We did some sightseeing. There were a lot of mountains. It was beautiful. It was real green. It was sunny early on and raining the last two days. We did tour two castles and learned about the history of where we were visiting. It was nice."
4. What foods did you try on your trip? What were your favorite foods and what won't you try again?
"My favorite food over there was spaghetti. We ate a lot of spaghetti. I did try new stuff. I tried octopus and squid and I hated that. I'll never try that again. It was hard to get used to the foods over there because they live a different lifestyle."
5. You broke a backboard to end the second game of your all-star trip. Can you describe the play and what went through your mind before and after the dunk?
"We scored on a layup and I started running down the court. My man was running right behind me. I saw that one of my opponents was going to pass the ball to my man so I turned around and stole the ball. I just went up with two hands and tried the dunk the ball as hard as I could. When I dunked it I just started running down court and looked because everybody was cheering. That is when I realized I broke the backboard. When they stopped the game I was getting high fives all around. It was crazy. I have never had something like that happen to me. It was so unexpected."
6. Kansas has 10 freshmen and sophomores on the roster, how different will this young team look from last year's veteran team?
"In a way it's going to be better because the team is going to be more athletic. We're quicker so there will be a lot of run and gun and fast breaks. We're not very experienced but everybody is willing to step up and play a role. We have great chemistry. We realize it's not going to be one man to get the job done. Every player is equal."
7. How hard is it going to be to sit out the first semester?
"Actually it will be kind of easy because I get to see all the mistakes everyone else is making in the games. I will be able to learn all the plays from watching and being in practice. In a way, I think sitting out will help."
8. Now that you have been here for more than one semester, what's the biggest difference between Kansas and USC?
"I just love everything about Kansas. Everything from the fans to the community, everybody is so nice with their hospitality. The family here is real family. I have never seen any place louder than Allen Fieldhouse."
9. Besides your obvious dunking ability, what should the Kansas basketball fans expect when they see Rodrick Stewart next season?
"I am going to try and be a leader. I'm going to do whatever it takes to win. I'm the guy that is going to get on the ground and get dirty. I am just going to go out and play my hardest and do whatever the coaches want me to do to make the team better."
10. Who is better, you or your twin brother Lodrick who plays at USC?
"My brother and me are two different types of players. I'm a two-foot jumper and he's a one-foot jumper. He's more of a perimeter player and I'm more of a slasher. There are some things he does better than me - he's a perimeter player. My perimeter game is getting better because that is what I work on a lot. We actually compliment each other with our styles."
KU sophomore guard Rodrick Stewart broke a backboard while touring Slovenia and Austria earlier this month.