Przybilla has logged four blocks three times this season. Glenn James
NBAE/Getty Images
Forget the notion of a sophomore slump. The Bucks are currently experiencing a sophomore surge from their second-year center, Joel Przybilla. The 7-1 Minnesota product came to Milwaukee in a draft day trade after being selected at No. 9 by Houston in 2000. The Rockets traded him for Jason Collier and a future No. 1 pick.

Przybilla saw action in 33 games as a rookie but also made 13 starts. The Bucks went 7-6 in the games that he started. He grabbed nine rebounds against the Hornets on Feb. 17, 2001 and played 24 minutes in the season finale against Miami on April 17, 2001.

This year, Przybilla has become a fixture in the jump circle, starting 29 of the Bucks' 33 games to date. He put up modest numbers in the beginning of the season, but recently has come on strong with a double-double and multiple double-digit scoring and rebounding performances. Przybilla had 12 points and 13 rebounds in a win over the Pistons on Jan. 21 and finished with 14 rebounds 12 of them defensive against the Sonics on Jan. 24.

Przybilla spent two years at Minnesota and left as second on the Golden Gophers' all-time single season list with 84 blocks. He finished his sophomore season first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, second in blocks and third in rebounding. In high school, Przybilla was a two time winner of the Associated Press Player of the Year award for Minnesota.

He wears uniform No. 6 as a tribute to Celtics legend Bill Russell and Przybilla talked about his own young NBA history in responses to a selection of fan e-mail.


How similar (or different) is Coach Karl to previous coaches in high school or college?
Gene
Linton, Ind.

Przybilla: He's a lot different. He's got a side to him where he can joke around a lot. The past coaches I've had, they've always been serious. He's got a side to him where he can joke around and have a good time before the game, but when that ball tips up, he is as serious as he can be. He's a competitor. He wants to win every ballgame he wants to win everything, to tell you the truth. If it's playing pool, whatever it is, playing video games, you can see him wanting to win every time.


When you are not practicing or playing in games, what do you do in Milwaukee and do you hang out with any of the guys on the team?
Jeff
Chilton, Wisc.

Przybilla: I got engaged so I'm with my fiancee a lot. We kick back and relax. I'm on the road a lot so the time I do have free time, I spend with her. I like to relax. We're so busy that your down time is when you want to relax. For me, Milwaukee's a perfect fit because I'm from a small town. I like that small city atmosphere.

I hang out with my teammates occasionally, once in a while, but we all do our own thing. We're together so much that when we get that free time we all go our own way.


Joel, how have you been able to cope with the ridiculous number of bad calls you get? Secondly, why don't you talk more trash after you block people? For instance, I remember the Utah game earlier this season and you swatted Karl Malone on a dunk attempt cleanly. You were however called for the foul. Still why don't you get on people after you dominate them on the defensive end more often?
Dave
Milwaukee

Przybilla: I'm still learning the game and the refs are still learning my game. This is more like my rookie year because this is my first year getting a lot of minutes. The refs are just getting used to me. It's getting better. I can tell already. Every time I get out there, I'm learning more and more. I've just got to be patient and it will come.

No, I've never been like that (talking trash). I'm kind of like the quite assassin. I'm more of a quiet type of guy. I just let my game do the speaking.


What did you have to do, to get yourself in the starting lineup and get more playing time than at the beginning of the season???
Ryan
Brookfield, Wisc.

Przybilla: Just like everything, I've just got to be patient. You know last year was more of a learning process and this year is a learning process as well. (Karl) sees when guys work hard and I've just been developing every aspect of my game. You know, I've just got to be patient.


I understand that you spent many days at a playground basketball court in your hometown when you where growing up. Can you explain what role playing everyday at the Parwest Courts played in your development as a basketball player?
Joe
Minneapolis

Przybilla: I used to play every day as a kid. It just works on all aspects of your game. You go up there and it's just a part of the game. You learn different things by playing teamwork, different things like that and it carries to off the court. You get a lot of friendships by playing on those courts.


I have been following your career since you began at Minnesota, and I have been watching you put up good numbers when George Karl gives you playing time. What are the biggest differences between NCAA and NBA?
Steve
Vancouver, Manitoba

Przybilla: In the pros, every day you're playing against the best players in the world and you've got to bring it every day. You have to bring 110 percent every night.


With the recent additions of Glenn Robinson and Anthony Mason, I have to ask, how long will it be before Bucks fans see Joel Przybilla in a headband?
Joel
West Bend, Wisc.

Przybilla: Nooooo, I'm not going to do that. My fiancee even mentioned it to me and I'm like, I wouldn't look too good with a headband. I'm going to stay away from that. That's their thing, not mine. She kind of laughed and was like, "I'd like to see you do it one game." But I'm not going to do it.


What is it like playing with the "big three" every night?
Ed
Philadelphia

Przybilla: It's an honor. With not only those three but everyone on this team. I mean everyone on this team works hard and we want to win that championship. It's a great honor to be part of this team, a winning team with a lot of veterans who want to get to that championship.


What's up JP? So, I always wanted to know what tattoos you have, and what the significance they have to you. Also, when did you get them? Good luck, keep rebounding and rejecting shots!!!
Jeff
Chicago

Przybilla: This one right here (right bicep) is a basketball player and it says "Not in my house." It's a basketball thing. Here (left bicep) it's got two hands praying. Here on my chest (left side) it's an angel and on the other side I have my fiancee's name and a heart with roses. It doesn't hurt too badly to get them, not as bad as you think it would. Different people have different levels of pain.