After a litany of harassing phone calls, threatening emails, compromising pictures, and threats of being forced to play for Ben Braun again, we finally managed to convince Rod Benson to answer some of the questions that all of you posed here.
Check out Rod's answers after the jump. Many, many, many thanks to Rod for his help with this, he is a great face for not only sports blogging, but also Cal basketball. GO BEARS!Tell us for real: What type of coach was Ben Braun? What was it like playing for him? Were you surprised when he was fired?
People can say what they will about Ben Braun, but when I was there he gave me a shot to lead the team in scoring and in rebounding. A lot of guys that I have met since school are jealous of that fact. When he was fired I was surprised. He was there for over a decade, he was given tenure for a reason and to see him go was a big surprise.
Have you met Monty? Opinions?
I have indeed met Monty. He's a real straight shooter. If there was a difference between him and Ben, it's that Ben enjoys the small talk and Monty just says how it is.
Who did you bust more in practice? Leon Powe or Ryan Anderson?
I never actually practiced against Ryan since he was too young, but in the summers trust that I do my damage against both of them. Fact of the matter is that they are both great players and it's a battle either way. I respect their games and they respect mine.
Ryan Anderson - also too young to be in this picture.
What do you miss most about Berkeley?
Who doesn't miss college girls? Haha but seriously I used to love sitting in front of Boalt and reading the words on the side of the building, or going to the top of the Campanile in the summers and taking in the bay. Those peaceful times were some of the best.
What initially made you want to come to Cal?
I came to Cal first and foremost because of the academic prowess of the school. After that, they just recruited the hell out of me. Took me to all the best places in the bay, and showed me a great time.
It's been written that your frank thoughts online might make it harder for you to get selected by a NBA team because they're afraid of what you might say about them. Do you feel that perception is true? If being a NBA player meant you'd have to quit the blogging game, would you do it?
I think that it's not exactly my writing that gets me in trouble but maybe my voice. I've come to realize that people expect me to be sort of a clown or a crazy person because they base their perception of me on some of the wildest stories. Actually I'm just a normal guy who is good at recounting funny stories. I'm not a walking freak show. I've always said that if a team asked me to quit, I would.
What do you have to work on the most in your game to really get to that next level?
People have always told me to get bigger and then I would have a better shot at the L. I've always tried but only recently been successful. I'm now 230 lbs without shoes which is high for me so I feel good about my potential to gain more and to play bigger - not too big though.
How much do the fans at the NBDL level embrace their team? You play in really small markets, but are they really intense or is it just a very casual environment?
It really depends on the city, but David Stern's business plan to put teams in small markets is a good one because the fan turnout is higher. The media exposure is higher. The people care more. When I won a D-League championship in Dakota, it felt like winning a Pac-10 title. The fans were nuts and they loved us.
Who is the most famous person you've met since going pro?
I've met or high fived almost every big star in the NBA. Haha just go to Vegas and you can meet anybody you want. Sugar Shane Mosley invited me and my boys to party with him one night. It's on TMRB.com.
I'm sure many people on the street think you play basketball since you're so tall. Do they recognize you as Rod Benson or another NBA player?
In California, some people know me as Rod Benson, in the rest of the world people are more curious. I tell them I don't play or I tell them I'm Plaxico Burress. Both work for me.
I can see the resemblance...I guess.
What's the creepiest thing a fan has said to you?
A fan invited my teammate and me to a hot tub at 1 AM. The fan was male.
What do you think about Lawrence Frank? Good coach? How do you feel coaches compare across leagues - do NBA coaches tend to be better than any other coaches you've worked with?
Lawrence Frank is like Joe Pasternack with a few more years of experience. NBA coaches are more comprehensive in general, but they each have a distinctive system and method of implementing said system. That's what separates them from one another.
Can I have your New Jersey Nets sweats?
Haha I have like 20 pairs. You have to get them from my mom though.
Complete this sentence: I want to punch _______ in the face.
I want to punch any of the Jonas Brothers in the face. That's only because people like them and I have no clue why. Seriously.