Questions from a 5th grader

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Throughout the 2007-08 season, a member of the Milwaukee Bucks will participate in a new Bucks.com online reality series entitled "Five Questions From A Fifth Grader." Students from Mrs. Christine Kruschel's fifth-grade class at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Muskego, Wis., will submit their questions to Bucks.com's Truman Reed, who will select the winning entries and use them to interview a member of the Bucks. Other schools will join in as the season goes on.

Michael Redd | Yi Jianlian | Andrew Bogut | Jake Voskuhl | Charlie Bell | Royal Ivey | Desmond Mason | Mo Williams

8th edition: Bucks guard Mo Williams
Posted on June 4, 2008 at 2:55 p.m.

From Andie Pfeffer:

Q: "What do your tattoos say, or what are they about?"

A: "Most of them have my kids' names. Darius is the oldest - he's 9. Maurice is 3, Michael is 2, and the fourth one is not born yet. I have the Planters Peanut logo, since "Peanut" was my childhood nickname."

(Editor's note: Mo forgot about one more - "NBA," for Never Broke Again).

From Ryan Mitchell:

Q: "What was the best game you had in college?"

A: "It was in my freshman year in the NCAA Tournament. I had 33 points."

From Hannah Hutchinson & Victoria Bonack:

Q: "Who is your favorite guest on the Mo Show and why?"

A: "Charlie Bell, I would say. Looking at it, I'd say it seems he has the most fun."

From Jaklyn Taubert:

Q: "Who was the best teacher you ever had, and tell me about him or her."

A: "Well, I'd say my childhood basketball coaches. Their names were Fred Williams and James Wright. They took me up under their wings and taught me the basics of the game."

From Matt Wranovsky:

Q: "When you were in fifth grade, did you think you'd be in the NBA one day? And if not, when did you start believing it could happen?"

A: "Well, I never thought it until I got to high school and started playing with the other guys. I started realizing that I could play with them."


7th edition: Bucks forward Desmond Mason
Posted on April 29, 2008 at 9:52 a.m.

From Victoria Bonack:

Q: "Did you have a job before you played for the Bucks? If so, please tell me about it."

A: "Yeah, I had a job. I worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken when I was young. It was an experience. You find out all about the fast-food industry. There was a lot that went on with it. It wasn't the most popular job I've ever had.

"One thing I remember most was when I actually dropped a basket of chicken. We had to cross over to carry the chicken from the fryer, into the grease. I slipped and almost fell, and I dropped all the chicken. The manager got mad at me. I was the most graceful one in the group."

From Joseph Neuberger:

Q: "What was it like to be in the NBA Dunk Contest?" (Mason won the event in 2001 in Washington, D.C.).

A: "It was exciting. I was a rookie, so it was the first time I'd been to All-Star Weekend. I had friends and family there with me, and it was really exciting. There was a lot of pressure, but I made my dunks. That's the most important thing you've got to do - make your dunks."

From Teagan Poole:

Q: "What do you like to do most in your free time?"

A: "Paint. I was a studio art major at Oklahoma State University, and painting is what I love to do in my free time. I probably started picking it up in about eighth grade. I started taking some classes and kind of went on from there."

From Jaklyn Taubert:

Q: "What pieces of your artwork are you most proud of?"

A: "I did a drawing of Al Pacino when I was in college. (NBA Commissioner) David Stern actually bought it and hung it in the NBA office in New York. That was one I was really proud of. I worked off a photo. It was a charcoal drawing."

From Andrew Fink:

Q: "How and when did you get the nickname `The Cowboy?'"

A: "I got the nickname in Seattle. Kevin Calabro, the announcer there, started calling me `The Cowboy.' It stems from having played for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, and he just picked up on that. It's been good to me."


6th edition: Bucks guard Royal Ivey
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 2:09 p.m.

From Zachary Shannon & Sean Lewis:

Q: "Why would you wear No. 24 if you didn't wear No. 12?"

A: "Well, somebody had No. 24 when I got here. No. 12 was my high school number, so I took that one. I wore 24 in college."

From Ryan Mitchell & Andrew Fink:

Q: "What was the best thing that happened to you when you played basketball in grade school?"

A: "I'll never forget when I made that first basket. There's nothing like looking up and seeing that ball go through the net. I'll never forget those times. I was probably in second or third grade - maybe 8 years old."

From Hannah Hutchinson & Sarah Thoreson:

Q: "What was it like playing at Texas?"

A: "It was a great experience for me. I was in Longhorn country, with good weather, great atmosphere, a lot of things to do, and I got a chance to meet a lot of nice people. I wouldn't trade my experiences there for anything. When I came in there, Rick Barnes was in his second year as coach, and he wanted to change the aura of basketball at Texas. It has always been a football school. We did that. It's not only a football school now; it's a basketball school."

From Brianna Frey:

Q: "My favorite sport is soccer. What is yours?"

A: "My favorite sport is basketball. But I like other sports. I like track and field. I ran track in high school and was a long jumper. I played a lot of sports. I liked baseball, too."

From Kyle Gaspervich & Joseph Neuberger:

Q: "What was your favorite team to play when you were in college, and why?"

A: "Oklahoma. That's a great rivalry. We had some great shootouts with them, playing against guys like Hollis Price, and Ebi Ere."


5th edition: Bucks guard Charlie Bell
Posted on March 7, 2008 at 1:48 p.m.

From Andrew Fink:

Q: "How did your Michigan State teams do against the University of Wisconsin?"

A: "Usually we beat them, just about every time. They might have beaten us once or twice. But they were tough. Those were always tough games.

"When we played them in the Final Four, what I remember most is running through a lot of screens. They played defense for 35 seconds, and they used the whole shot clock and made you defend. That was a nightmare."

From Emma Fritsch:

Q: "If you could have anything in the whole world, what would it be and why?"

A: "That's a tough one. I'd say health and happiness for my family, and that our family members who have passed away could be here."

From Ryan Mitchell:

Q: "If you didn't wear No. 42, why would you wear No. 14?"

A: "Well, I wore 42 in high school. When I went to college, another player already had 42, so I had to switch. They tried to give me No. 23, because I liked Michael Jordan, but I didn't want it. So since Mateen Cleaves wore No. 12 and Antonio Smith wore No. 13, I went with 14, since the three of us were the Flintstones (former high school stars in Flint, Mich.)."

From Hannah Hutchinson:

Q: "What did you enjoy most and least about living in Europe when you played there?"

A: "I think the thing I enjoyed the most was probably the lifestyle - it was laid-back and more family-oriented, I think, than the United States is.

"The one thing I didn't like was probably being away from home, and being away from family. My wife and kids were there with me the whole time, but we missed the grandparents, parents, brothers and so forth. It would probably be tougher now than it was then, with the kids being in school when they weren't back then. It was hard on my wife because I'd be traveling and she'd be with the kids 24-7."

From Teagan Poole:

Q: "My mom and dad help my faith grow the most?.Who helps to make your faith grow?"

A: "Probably the same - my mom and dad. They were always by my side my whole life, and whenever I had a problem, I knew I could go to them and they'd let me know where to go with it."


4th edition: Bucks center Jake Voskuhl
Posted on January 31, 2008 at 3:47 p.m.

From Andie Pfeffer:

Q: "What is your favorite 'Veggie Tales' song, and why?"

A: "I love that one. It's the one where they do a spin-off on the Backstreet Boys. There's a gourd singing, 'I need to tell you somethin', I ain't got no belly button!' That's it. Veggie Tales is funny. It's so creative. It's obviously for kids, but it's creative enough where it captures the adults' attention also. The stories are good, and they do a good job of bringing them to life. My family and I really enjoy them."

From Julia Beyer:

Q: "What is your favorite Bible story, and why?"

A: "That's a tough one. Just pulling one out, I'd say David and Goliath. Because he comes in as a young man, and when he shows up there, he's actually just dropping off food for his brothers. He's not going for a fight. Then all of a sudden he comes up, and Goliath would go up there every day and say, 'Challenge me' -- sort of trash-talking the Israelites. All of the Israelites were scared. David saw all of this and thought, 'Who does this guy think he is? We're the army of God!' So he goes up and says, 'I'll take this guy on.' No one else would do it. King Saul finds out and loads him up with all this armor, and says, 'All right, go fight him.' And David is like, 'I can't fight the guy dressed like this.' He was only a boy, about 13 years old, and that armor was too heavy for him. So he takes it all off and takes up those smooth stones, and goes and does his job."

From Jessica Drews:

Q: "What are your favorite childhood memories from your hometown?"

A: "I'd have to say Christmas and New Year's at my house. We always had a lot of people over. It was like a big open house, with a lot of different people around. We'd wake up in the morning and people would be coming in and out all day. It was always a fun day. I grew up in a small town. I'm originally from Tulsa, Okla., but we moved to a small town called Katy, Texas, when I was in seventh grade. Roger Clemens is from Katy -- he's been in the news a little bit lately. It was a suburb of Houston. When we first moved there, there was a big gap between Katy and Houston. Today, there's no gap; it's like one big city."

From Brandon Bourdo:

Q: "What Texas customs did you grow up with?"

A: "Each year on Homecoming in Katy, the guys would get the girls what's called a mum. It was a like a big flower with all this stuff -- ribbons and other stuff -- hanging from it. The bigger it was, the cooler it was. The girls would have them on their shirts, and the guys would wear them on their arms. You'd see these huge, massive things. I'd never heard of those before we moved there."

From Christopher DeLay:

Q: "I like 'The Office,' too. What was your favorite episode from season three? Mine was the one where Dwight pepper sprays Roy."

A: "For those who don't watch the show, the two mean characters -- and I think, funniest characters -- are Jim and Dwight. And anytime they're interactive between each other, it's really funny. Anytime Jim and Dwight are involved in something, it's going to be funny."


3rd edition: Bucks center Andrew Bogut
Posted on January 14, 2008 at 10:42 a.m.

From Amber Heidenreich & Joseph Neuberger:

Q: "How are the sports in Australia different from the ones played in the United States, and which ones did you play besides basketball?"

A: "In Austalia, we have Australian Rules Football, which is different than rugby. I played it a little bit. There's rugby league, rugby union, cricket, and tennis as well. I played them all in the schoolyard; not necessarily organized."

"Australian Rules Football is crazy. It's played on a round field, and there's no line of scrimmage, like there is in football. You can run wherever you want, like basketball. There are 18 guys on each team. You can basically hit guys anywhere you want; you just can't push them in the back and you can't go for the head. It gets pretty physical."

From Emma Fritsch:

Q: "What city were you born in, and what is it like there?"

A: "Melbourne, Australia. It's a very multicultural city. Just in my high school, I think we had about 100 different nationalities. You learned about different cultures around the world. And just about anything you want to eat, you can get in Melbourne."

From Hannah Hutchinson:

Q: "Did you have a job before becoming a professional basketball player? If so, what did you do, and which job do you enjoy more?"

A: "I worked at a local sports bar and grill during college. It was kind of tough, because we had a week of two-a-days and I couldn't afford to pay the rent in my apartment in my sophomore year. On Friday and Saturday nights, after the first week of training camp, I worked from 5 to 10. I didn't look forward to weekends. I did that for about a month and a half or two months, so I could pay my rent. I definitely enjoy playing for the Bucks more than that."

From Jaklyn Taubert:

Q: "How and when did you become a Christian, and how strong is Christianity in Australia and Croatia?"

A: "I was baptized in a Catholic church. Catholicism, which is obviously a form of Christianity, is pretty big in Australia. There are born-again Christians, Assembly of God Christians and Catholics, too. It's probably the main religion in Australia at the moment, but there's obviously an infrastructure there of people from other parts of the world. We have Muslim, Judaism, just about everything. Croatia is a very strong Catholic country. If you go into Bosnia, you'll find more Muslims."

From Andrew Fink:

Q: "Do you think you're a better player than you were last season? Why or why not?"

A: "I think I'm getting there. Some games have been up and down. But I'm trying to provide consistency for the team and play my role, which is to rebound and play defense. In some games, I've had more blocks; in others, I may have zero blocks. Some guys, you just want to keep away from the basket, as opposed to facing guys who are attacking. You've just got to pick your poison. Sometimes the situation may call for blocking a shot, sometimes it may be taking a charge, sometimes it may be just holding your ground."


2nd edition: Bucks forward Yi Jianlian
Posted on December 20, 2007 at 10:56 a.m.

From Nicki Kain:

Q: "What are the most important holidays you celebrate with your family?"

A: "In China, the Chinese New Year celebration is huge. Kind of like American's celebrate Christmas. Generations of a family all get together and eat and have a good time."

From Hannah Hutchinson:

Q: "What is the best thing you have done or seen in the United States? Please explain your answer."

A: "I loved seeing the snow that came suddenly following the game we played against the L.A. Lakers on November 21. It was beautiful and was something fun to play around in."

From Teagan Poole:

Q: "Tell me about your hometown. Where do you like living better, here or there, and why?"

A: "My hometown is Shenzhen in Guangdong province, which is in southern China. It's not a big city by Chinese standards, but it's very prosperous, lively and exciting. I really cherish the memories of the time I spent growing up there. I really am enjoying my life here though - all the fresh, new experiences and environment around me, as well as the new people I'm meeting every day."

From Joseph Neuberger:

Q: "Dear Yi, When you were living in China, did you ever go on the Great Wall of China? If you did, what was it like?"

A: "Yes, I did when I was young. It's really hard to put into words what the experience was like. All I can say is that you have to go there yourself to really understand how great it is."

From Sarah Thoreson:

Q: "I've never been to China. If I visit there someday, what are some things or places I should be sure to see?"

A: "China is a big place, and there are too many places to list, I feel. In my mind, you should go to Beijing and see all it has to offer -- the Great Wall, Forbidden City and much more. Also, you should go to China's ancient capital, Xi'an, and check out the Terra Cotta Warriors, an underground army of terra cotta Chinese soldiers."


Premiere edition: Bucks guard Michael Redd
Posted on December 6, 2007 at 9:43 a.m.

From Joseph Neuberger:

Q: "What do you remember about playing against the University of Wisconsin while you were playing for Ohio State?"

A: "Win, win, win. We always beat Wisconsin. They were tough battles, though. Mike Kelley and those guys, they were tough. Those were Dick Bennett's teams. They'd fight. But we won them all."

Note to Joseph: Michael's memory failed him just a bit, but remember, he's not a young Buck anymore; teammate David Noel has likened their relationship to that of a father and his son! One of Redd's best games against Wisconsin came during his freshman season. He scored 23 points, but the Badgers defeated his Buckeyes, 64-59, in Columbus. Here's how Michael did against Wisconsin: Freshman year, 23 points in 64-59 UW win, 16 points in 61-56 Ohio State win; sophomore year, 30 points in 78-74 Ohio State overtime win, 14 points in 63-54 Ohio State win; junior year, 14 points in 53-51 Ohio State win, 14 points in 51-48 Ohio State win. (Michael entered the NBA Draft following his junior season and was drafted in the second round, 43rd overall, by the Milwaukee Bucks).

From Julia Beyer:

Q: "For Thanksgiving, my family switches grandparents' houses every year and then we have a big feast. What do you do for Thanksgiving?"

A: "I celebrate with my family ... and eat lots of turkey! I'm grateful for so many things -- for my wife, for my son, for my health and my strength. My experience with Team USA this year was terrific, too. Most of all, though, I'm grateful for Jesus Christ. That will be the case every single year."

From Christopher DeLay:

Q: "How did you hurt your tendon last year, and what did you do to rehabilitate it?"

A: "I was trying to take off for a dunk and I took off awkwardly. I felt a strain. It was a freak thing that happened. I did the rehab and worked hard at it during the offseason. I had never been out for that long, so missing those games was difficult. We were winning at the time, and I was sad to be on the sideline. We had a chance to do some good things; that just didn't work out. But this is a new year."

From Hannah Hutchinson:

Q: "What is your favorite Bible passage and why?"

A: "Romans 8:28: We know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to his purpose.

"That says it all. That's my favorite one. Those are words I live by."

From Andie Pfeffer:

Q: "What's the best thing about being a professional basketball player?"

A: "There are so many answers to that one. The travel is one of them. The travel is phenomenal -- getting to see so many places that you may not have seen if you weren't playing pro basketball.

"Then there's the opportunity to compete at the highest level of basketball in the world. Not too many people can say that. There are only 400 NBA players in the world, out of millions and billions of people. That's definitely an honor."

"And witnessing .... giving God all the glory and all the credit. That's so important to me, because I know where I come from. I just keep him first, and he won't fail me."