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Basketball's Brett Finkelmeier takes on role of elder statesman

Oct. 7, 2009

Redshirt junior Brett Finkelmeier is the lone three-year player for the Indiana men's basketball program.

Finkelmeier boasts a 3.93 GPA and started the final two games of the 2008-09 season. The walk-on from Carmel, Ind., has scored 10 career points and averaged 7.5 minutes per game last season in 21 contests. In this interview with 24 Sports / 1 Team, he talks about his journey to be a part of the program, and how he hopes to go to dental school following his basketball career.

Brett Finkelmeier

Photo by Mike Dickbernd

Redshirt junior Brett Finkelmeier

Print-Quality Photo

SPORTS: On the change in the program from when he started (fall 2007) to now:
FINKELMEIER: "First, I could have never imagined me being here, the youngest guy my freshman year and now being the longest tenured player here. Things are a lot different, but I need to be a role model for the younger guys. Usually people just want to hear stories, and they think it is amazing some of the things that have gone on during my career."

SPORTS: On how he is trying to set an example for the younger guys:
FINKELMEIER: "Coach Crean expects everyone to be a role model, so everyone is a leader on the team. Some of the guys are vocal leaders, but I would not consider myself one of the more vocal people on the team. But one way I can show the new guys how hard to go is by trying to go hard every time in practice, and showing them the intensity required in the drills. I have been around and been through as many runs as anybody, so I know what it takes to compete at this level."

SPORTS: On how he became interested in playing basketball at Indiana:
FINKELMEIER: "I came to IU (in the fall of 2007), and my sister already went here. I really liked it and didn't really apply anywhere else. I got here and joined a fraternity and moved right in with them. Then I got a call from (then assistant) coach Jeff Meyer, who invited me to come to a tryout. It went well, I thought I might have been one of the better guys there, but I didn't hear too much after that. Then I got a call in the spring saying that they wanted me to come to workouts. It didn't work with my class schedule because I had chemistry labs. Finally, I got a call at the end of the year asking me to come during the summer. So for about two weeks, I drove down here from Carmel each day to do the workout routine. After the two weeks, the coaches asked to meet with me, and I went in and talked for about 30 minutes. We talked about my family and other general topics. They told me they would let me know within 24 hours. I got a call that night and was told, 'You're a Hoosier if you want to,' and I said 'yes' and joined the team. I moved down to Bloomington during that second summer session and have been here ever since."

SPORTS: On how important Adam Ahlfeld and Kyle Taber in helping you to adjust as being a walk-on on the team:
FINKELMEIER: "They were great role models. They always worked hard in practice, and they knew what it took. They always did anything they could to help me. At first coming in as a freshman, it was hard to have any confidence, because you have never been around a college practice. So I didn't know what it took to come in and compete day in and day out against guys like Eric Gordon and D.J. White -- it's a big change. But I knew I always had Kyle and Adam there by my side, sticking up for me in practice."

SPORTS: On his initial impression of the team this season:
FINKELMEIER: "We are a lot more experienced this year. I don't think anyone really knew how to compete heading into last season. Plus, we had a lot of freshmen coming in last year. But now, all of them have an idea of what it takes to compete in practice every day, and they can help get this year's freshmen used to it before official practice even starts. So that will give us a nice jump on where we were at the same point last year."

SPORTS: On how the freshmen this year are picking things up compared to last year:
FINKELMEIER: "They are picking it up good. I think they will have a jump, because we don't have to get the entire team used to practice, and it won't be a big surprise for everyone. They will just realize that it is a little bit longer, and they will have to get used to that, because it is a change. Right now we are limited in how much time we can be together, so I think that will be the biggest change from last year to this year. It's easy to keep your intensity for the first hour or so, but after that is when the focus starts to go away, and that is what I think we will be able to improve upon this year."

SPORTS: On his goals after he graduates from Indiana:
FINKELMEIER: "I want to go to dental school. I went through the process this summer of applying and taking the test. I went to a seminar last night with the director of admissions, and he said I have an interview in February, so that was nice. He just told me to keep my grades up and keep working towards dental school. Hopefully it will start in July if my interview goes well."