Basketball: 20 Questions with Bak Bak

Today we visit with . . .

Position: Forward
Height: 6-9
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

If you could play 1-on-1 with any player in basketball history, who would you choose? Kevin Garnett. He’s my favorite player right now.

Hypothetically, I have $10 to bet on who wins. Tell me why I should consider you: The only way for me to score is probably not on the block but maybe outside because I may be a little quicker than him.

What’s your basketball career highlight so far? Probably when I was in high school (at Sun Valley High outside Los Angeles). It was a playoff game and I had a lot of points. For some reason it didn’t feel like a really good game, but at the end of it I felt like I had a lot of fun. I had like 31 points and 16 rebounds and we won.

Who’s the best dunker on the Cal team? Robert Thurman. He can jump and he’s tall. He can do any kind of dunks.

Give me one word that describes coach Mike Montgomery: Competitive. During the practice or during the games, he really hates to lose. It really makes him mad or, I don’t know, sad.

When you’re not playing, do you prefer to watch college basketball or the NBA? It depends what teams are playing. In the NBA, I watch the Lakers, Celtics, Miami Heat. But I would prefer to watch college because it might be teams we’re going to meet.

When you were younger, other than basketball, what was your favorite sport to play? Soccer.

How good were you? I was really good. I played left wing. I played soccer through my sophomore year in high school. I was the tallest guy and that’s one reason I stopped playing. I was around 6-6, 6-7.

Aside from you, who is the best athlete in your family? I have two cousins in Kenya who play soccer. They’re probably going to go to Europe for soccer. They just called me a couple days ago and said they are trying out in Madrid and Manchester City. It’s not like the Manchester United team, it’s like the second division.

Before basketball, what did you first want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. That’s all my family ever dreamed of. When I used to go to middle school, my mom would always say, `You need to be a doctor, you need to be a doctor.’ Until I graduated from high school here in America, she still told me that. When I came to to Cal she said you need to study to be a doctor. I told here I’m not really good with science and she was like, `OK, yo need to be a lawyer.’

Tell me something about your hometown of Nairobi that only a local would know: When you go to Nairobi, you’ve got to make sure you have your wallet and phone in a good spot. Those are two things that will go immediately. Once you step in the airport, make sure you check your stuff.

Greatest vacation you’ve ever taken?  Where did you go?  Who was along? I had a friend and I went to Europe with his family. They were missionaries and when they came to Africa, they stayed with us. I went to London and to Venice in Italy. It was all right. My favorite city was Amsterdam. It was so relaxing. The trip was about a month. I was 12.

What’s your favorite place to eat on or near campus? Chipotle or Gypsy’s, which makes Italian food.

Favorite Cal class? My favorite class I’ve taken so far is African American Studies 139E with professor Quame (Patton). I took that class last spring. It’s about yourself and your journey from when you were born to now. Basically you see yourself compared to other people. It was really a good class.

What Cal athlete you’ve met who is not on the men’s basketball team has impressed you? Michael Kendricks on the football team. He’s one of the guys I get along with well.

The best movie you’ve ever seen? I have a lot of favorite movies, but I would say Step Brothers. It’s kind of a dumb movie, but it’s very funny.

The worst? One of the Halloween movies. It’s not scary, it’s just a really stupid movie. The whole team went to it. It was Jerome (Randle’s) idea.

Your favorite TV show? The Game.

Your favorite website? ESPN.com.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or both? I have Facebook. I have Twitter, but I don’t really use it.

Jeff Faraudo