Basketball: 20 Questions with Brandon Smith

Today, a chat with . . . 

Position: Point guard
Height: 5-11
Hometown: San Ramon

If you could play 1-on-1 with any player in basketball history, who would you choose? I would have loved to play against Michael Jordan in his prime, just to pick up on his moves or be around him. He was an awesome competitor. I consider him the best basketball player ever.

Hypothetically, I have $10 to bet on who wins. Tell me why I should consider you: I think I might get him speed-wise. I think my hesitation or my spin move, I might be able to get to the basket.

What’s your basketball career highlight so far? It’s kind of a tie between two things. When we won the state championship (at De La Salle) in high school was a big deal. To be able to win that and be on the team as a freshman and contribute to that team, that’s a highlight. And when we went to the NCAA tournament and got that first win against Louisville.

Who’s the best dunker on the Cal team? I would have to go with Richard Solomon. The stuff he does, he makes it look very easy.

What’s the most consecutive free throws you’ve ever made? One time in practice my junior year in high school, I believe I made 40 in a row.

Give me one word that describes coach Mike Montgomery: Competitive.

When you’re not playing, do you watch college basketball or the NBA? I prefer to watch the NBA. The moves that they do, the level of athleticism, how quick the game is — just all of that.

When you were younger, other than basketball, what was your favorite sport to play? Football. We’d play every day in elementary school.

How good were you? I was pretty good. I was usually the running back. I was pretty little back then — I’m still pretty little –but I was always the fastest.

Aside from you, who is the best athlete in your family? Probably my sister Brittany. Right now she’s at DVC, just focusing on school. Naturally, she’s more athletic than me. I have a better work ethic. Mano-a-mano, if you just took our athletic ability, she’s got me.

What was the most valuable thing you gained from your experience in the De La Salle program? I would say the biggest thing is that everything matter. Coach (Frank) Allocco is always teaching us that this is more than just a game, it’s about life skills. There are so many lessons I’ve learned that I can carry on, When you practice, you practice perfect.

Before basketball, what did you first want to be when you grew up? The first thing I wanted to be and I’d still like to be today is a preacher. My dad’s an evangelist. He goes around and speaks to churches around the world. He just got back from Australia. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

Greatest vacation you’ve ever taken?  Where did you go?  Who was along? I was in eighth grade and all of my family and my aunt and uncle and all my cousins went to Disneyworld in Florida. We rented out a house and stayed about a week. It was just fun because all the family hasn’t gotten a chance to be back together again.

What’s your favorite place to eat on or near campus? Brazil Cafe. They have this steak with a garlic cilantro sauce that goes on it. It’s really good.

Favorite Cal class? Education 75. It’s about sports and societies. Derek Van Rheenen (director of Cal’s Athletic Study Center) was the teacher — he played soccer here. It was cool because I had never seen sports from that angle before. He was talking about how ideologies and belief systems are incorporated in sports.

What Cal athlete you’ve met who is not on the basketball team has impressed you? I’m going to say my roommate Spencer Hagan. He plays on the football team. He’s just a man of faith, a man of character. He’s the real deal outside the sport he plays. It’s always awesome to see athletes who walk with humility and are down-to-earth.

The best movie you’ve ever seen? Braveheart

Your favorite TV show? V. Second season just started and I’m into it.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or both? I’m on both. I just got back on Facebook after taking a couple months off. It’s kind of cool because (Tuesday was) my birthday and I woke up and had about 150 notifications where people said Happy Birthday on Facebook. It made me special.

What was the last book you read that wasn’t assigned? I read my bible every day. Excluding the bible, I read this autobiography of this (19th century) preacher, D.L. Moody. I read about his life and what he went through and where he ended. It’s a pretty inspiring story. He’s from Chicago. It’s cool because in August I get to go to Chicago and hopefully visit his gravesite.

Jeff Faraudo