Brent Petway was a star with the Michigan Wolverines and he can flat of sky. It was a great thrill as a fan of the Michigan Wolverines to get a chance to talk basketball and dunking with him. The Dino Blogger can only dream of what it is like to dunk a basketball. This guy does it very well. He also is trying make his way to the NBA with D-League Idaho Stampede. He is in his second year in Idaho and he talks with us about a number of things from dunking, his thoughts on how his old school is doing and thoughts on newest team mate Nathan Jawai. One of the things we talk about is a YouTube Video in which he throws down a challenge to "Superman" Dwight Howard. Check it out.
So what ever happened with that challenge? Did Dwight ever answer it?
Brent Petway-" Nah he never did. But I think next year we are going to actually be able to do that, the winner of the D-League contest against the winner of the NBA contest I think, I am not sure. But next year it might actually materialize."
If it did that could mean that Brent could end of facing Lebron James. James of course made it known that he plans on entering the contest next year in Dallas in front of what could be over 100,000 people according to what Mark Cuban the Mavs owner is said to be hoping for. I asked Brent about the chance of a James vs Petway dunk off.
Brent Petway-" Yeah, that would be really fun. Any of those guys really. It would be a good little show off."
Brent was in the Finals and lost in this year's D-League dunk off. He was the defending champion of the event. He had a chance to check out the NBA version and I asked him for his thoughts on that.
Brent Petway-" It was actually pretty good. We had are D-League dunk contest the night before and that was great. I watched the NBA one and Dwight came with some stuff and Nate Robinson I liked the nice little kryptonite thing he had. It was a nice little contest they had. It was fun to see Nate get up and jumper over Dwight that was a good little dunk right there."
I had my 2 cents on the dunk contest this year and I was not as big a fan of it. However Brent knowing what it takes to do all those things likely has a much different prospective. Speaking of which I asked him about who some of his idols were as far as dunking goes. Growing up in Georgia he was a big fan as a kid of the "Human Hi-Light Reel" Dominique Wilkins and remembers his battles with Michael Jordan. Brent earned his own nick name of "Air Georgia" and he was also a fan of "Air Canada" Vince Carter as one of the guys he liked to watch. He credits Carter with putting the dunk contest back on the map. Which as much as Raptors fans may hate Vince now is 100% correct. Vince Carter really brought life back to the dunk contest after it had been gone for a few years and gave it a new life for guys like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and guys like Brent.
I mentioned that Brent is a former member of the Michigan Wolverines here is a little visual reminder of him and his skills as a dunker back then.
Michigan is a huge sports school and part of the Big Ten of course. They have the crazy fans and basketball has always been a big deal at the U of M going back to Glen Rice and a National Title to the Fab Five era. So I wondered what the differences were from life as a Wolverine to life as a member of the Stampede. Here is what Brent had to say about that.
Brent Petway-" The Major difference is probably the fans definitely, because in college the fans are much more hardcore when it comes the fans. Alumni and students when you walk around the campus everyone pretty much knows you. As opposed to in the D-League people might not even know who you are unless you have a Stampede shirt on or something. Unless they were season ticket holders or something like that."
So which is better being known or having ability to go around with out getting noticed?
Brent Petway- "I don't know it goes both ways. When your known you have to sign a whole bunch of autographs and stuff when I was in the city when I was at Michigan. So sometimes when you are out you just want have fun and chill. Then there are other time when you are doing community relations and things where you are expecting to do those things. So it can go both ways."
One of the things that we in Canada do not have is the pride people have for the schools they attend. A lot of times here in Canada many of us will graduate from a college or university and may never set foot on campus again or follow the sports teams and programs. In United States it is a totally different story. If you are a Wolverine, Longhorn, Tarheel or whoever it is a lifetime thing. So I was pretty sure Brent would still be keeping tabs on the U of M. I asked him if had been following the Wolverines this year and what his thoughts were on how the program was doing and where it was heading.
Brent Petway-" It has been fun to watch. I have been keeping up with them as much as I can. On Sportscenter, catching there games when they come on and I still have a couple people in Detroit that I talk to now and then that are keeping me updated. They are fun to watch and they were ranked for a bit. Now they are on the bubble and hopefully they can get off that bubble and get in."
Toronto has a player on that U of M squad Jevohn Sheppard, and I asked Brent about how he got along with him?
Brent Petaway-" Yeah, Jevohn is a good guy I was there with him for 2 years. He has a little sky to his game as well, he can get up a little bit. He is a good guy to be around and he is having a good year as well"
Brent I am sure was happy to learn that the Wolverines were winners today on the road at Minnesota.Holding on for a hard fought come from behind victory 67-64. Still a week till we find out if it is the Tournament or the NIT for the Wolverines but this are going the right way. So, I think Brent would be cool with me saying Go Blue.
We have spent a lot of time talking about dunking which Brent is one of the best you will find at any level of basketball. However what else is he working on to take his game to that next level to get to the NBA?
Brent Petway- " I have just been working on what I can to get up there where big Nate(Jawai) is. Trying to be not just a dunker and I am trying to work on my outside game. There is a lot of stuff I am working on. Hoping that I get up there(To NBA ) and be one of those rotation players hopefully."
I asked Brent what his thoughts were about his new team mate from Australia in Nathan Jawai.
Brent Petway-" He is a good player. He came down here and he wanted play right away. He is a joy to be around and he always has a smile on his face. He loves to play the game, he likes to pass the ball, so he is always tell us to cut when he gets the ball. So I think he is going to be a great fit"
One of the things in the various things we having being doing about the D-League that I personally come back to is the challenge it must be for everyone to adapt to the ever changing rosters. There is constant player movement. I asked Brent about the challenge of that as a player.
Brent Petway-" Yeah it is really tough. Cause you have guys from the NBA coming down here. You'll have teammates leave and go overseas. So it is real tough just trying to keep the team chemistry. That is a big thing for the program to have a chemistry with your teammates. But it is just being a professional and you have to keep playing ball and let the chips fall where the may."
The Stampede are currently in a dog fight leading their Division and have Utah who they will play again on Monday and Bakersfield close to them in the standings. I asked Brent for his thoughts on what lies ahead for the Stampede?
Brent Petway-" It has been going well. I think we have like 14 games to go. We got a team right on our heels in Utah. They are playing good ball and we have them a couple more times. So hopefully we can keep doing what we have been doing and stay in first place and have some momentum heading into the playoffs."
Brent was really great to talk with. He also said that Pops Mensah-Bonsu is a good player and should help up here in Toronto. He is a guy who Bent said is very athletic. He knows a bit about him even back from his college days at George Washington. Brent had a friend from back home in Georgia who was his teammate on that squad at GW. Pops was pretty nice in his debut last night against the Heat. As for Brent he continues to work hard with the Stampede and is hopefully of making it to the NBA. He is also hopefully of doing what former Raptor Jamario Moon did and get a chance to shine on All Star Saturday night. He said to me he thinks if he ever gets that chance he will definitely try to turn some heads. Here is more evidence to why he could be right.
All the best to Brent with the rest of his season. Here is hoping he can make his way to the NBA. It was a great deal of fun to have him as a guest and I would welcome him back any time.