Basketball: 20 Questions with Justin Cobbs

Today, we meet . . .

Position: Point guard
Height: 6-2
Hometown: Los Angeles

How have you handled your red-shirt year after transferring from Minneosta? I’m starting to get impatient now. Only (a few) games left. I’m getting ready to better myself for next year. I just do what I can in practice, trying to make other people better and emulate the other team.”

What sort of impression do you think you’ve made on your coaches and teammates? I think a fairly good impression. They see what I can do. And I know what I have to do in the offseason so next year I can have an impact on the team. Just working on trying not to make a (big) play everytime. Just make the easy pass. And working on being a consistent shooter.

What do you envision your role being: Just a playmaker, getting other people involved to score. Playing defense. Just doing whatever I can to help my team. We’ve got a lot of weapons.

If you could play 1-on-1 with any player in basketball history, who would you choose? Probably Michael Jordan, because he’s one of my favorite players and one of the greatest to ever play basketball.

Hypothetically, I have $10 to bet on who wins. Tell me why I should consider you: I’d just try to beat him. He’s old now. In his prime it’d be tough. Yeah, I want to play him now. Back then I don’t know if that would have worked.

What’s your basketball career highlight so far? Probably in high school my senior year, we played in the playoffs against Inglewood. In the first half I had about 23 points and I didn’t play the whole second quarter because of foul trouble. I finished with 50. We lost on a buzzer-beater.

Who’s the best dunker on the Cal team? Me, yeah. You haven’t seen me jump. I can jump pretty well.

Give me one word that describes coach Mike Montgomery: Unpredictable. You can’t really tell what he’s thinking. He doesn’t really say too much. He’s really hard to read.

When you’re not playing, do you prefer to watch college basketball or the NBA? I watch college. The NBA is a different game — more spacing, a lot more one-on-one. We’re more team-oriented, not just get the ball to one guy and clear it out. I watch a lot of college and it’s more helping, more defense. The other games are exciting to watch, but I’m not there yet.

When you were younger, other than basketball, what was your favorite sport to play? I used to play football. I was recruited for football in the 10th grade. I played free safety and wide receiver. I stopped because my mom thought I was going to get hurt.

Aside from you, who is the best athlete in your family? Probably my brother Gregory. He was a big-time baseball player. He was a shortstop. He played for Arizona State, but he stopped after his freshman year because he had knee problems.

Before basketball, what did you first want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be like a Lil Romeo and sing on TV. I thought that was cool. Or be an actor. I just found basketball.

Greatest vacation you’ve ever taken?  Where did you go?  Who was along? It was with my family, we went on a Disneyland cruise. I was probably 10 or 11. I’d never been on a ship that long, and seeing `Titanic,’ I thought I was going to go down a couple times. I was nervous. But I got free ice cream. And they had about seven swimming pools. It was pretty fun.

What’s your favorite place to eat on or near campus? Me and Richard (Solomon) and Allen (Crabbe) go to Thai Basil a lot. Every night about 10 o’clock, that’s our last meal.

Favorite Cal class? Probably my media studies class. After basketball or whenever, I want to be an analyst or broadcaster, someone who stays around the sport. That’s something I’m really interested in.

What Cal athlete you’ve met who is not on the men’s basketball team has impressed you? Probably (women’s basketball player) DeNesha Stallworth. She’s a hard worker, but she’s kind of quiet. She’s always humble. She never says anything about being this or that, but she works hard behind the scenes.

The best movie you’ve ever seen? I just saw “Takers” with Chris Brown. I liked that movie a lot.

Your favorite TV show? The Game.

Your favorite website? Facebook or Twitter. I’ve got to watch what I say.

What was the last book you read that wasn’t assigned? I read John Wooden’s book last summer. It was given to us by (Minnesota) coach (Tubby) Smith. I read it on road trips. It was good. It talked about how he sent Bill Walton home one time because he didn’t shave. It was interesting that he didn’t care who you were. But (Walton) came back the next day without a beard.

Jeff Faraudo