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Interview with Princeton Tigers Senior Team Captain TJ Bray
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
princetontigers.pngby Joe Click
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I had the chance to interview Princeton Tigers Captain TJ Bray. Bray is a 6'5'' senior point guard from New Berlin, WI. At Princeton during the 2012-2013 season, Bray was Second-team All-Ivy League, Ivy League Player of the Week on Jan. 14th. TJ started all 28 games, averaging more than 34 minutes per game. He scored a career-high 23 points on six 3-pointers against league rival Penn, had a career-best eight assists against Bucknell on Dec. 22nd, the most assists for any Tiger in nine years, TJ also tied a career high with eight rebounds against Rutgers on Nov. 16th. TJ averaged a career high 9.9 points per game. 

In high school TJ earned Wisconsin Mr. Basketball honors and was named the state and conference player of the year as a senior. As a junior, earned conference player of the year and first-team all-county honors. His first all-conference nod came as a sophomore, his senior year team finished 27-2 and was a state champion, was a two-time conference champion.

Interview with Princeton Senior Captain TJ Bray.....


Q.  When you were originally being recruited what were the factors that lead you to select Princeton?

A.  When I visited Princeton everything seemed to come together perfectly. The academics obviously speak for themselves, but everything else at Princeton was top notch as well. I immediately loved the campus, the coaching staff, and the style of play.


Q.  What other schools were you considering?

A.  Brown was recruiting me pretty hard, as well as Florida Gulf Coast, North Dakota, Dartmouth, and Lehigh.


Q.  Once you graduate, will you pursue playing professionally?

A.  After the season I plan to see where I would fall professionally and decide what I want to do then. Continuing to play is my first option though.


Q.  What is your major and what career do you want to pursue after your basketball career is over?

A.  I'm an economics major, so something in the finance world.


Q.  What are your expectations for the team this season?

A.  We're going to be built much differently this year than last year but I don't think there should be a drop off in our results. I think we have the players to be able to compete in the Ivy League and I know everyone has been in the gym this summer to make sure that happens.


Q.  What are your personal goals for this year?

A.  I'd like to build on the success I had last year. I started slow and was able to finish the season strong. Hopefully I can avoid the slow start this year and play a full season of good basketball.


Q.  Is there any one highlight or personal achievement in your career at Princeton that stands out the most?

A.  Winning the Ivy League my freshman year was an awesome experience. We beat Harvard on a last second shot in a one game playoff to go to the NCAA Tournament. We gave Kentucky a run for their money in the tournament but unfortunately didn't beat them. That all happened in the same week so it's sort of a blur but it was one of the best weeks of my life.


Q.  Is there a game on the schedule you are looking forward to most this season? (If so why?)

A.  Playing at Butler is something I'm really looking forward to. They've been so good for so long and playing in Hinkle Fieldhouse is an opportunity not many people get.


Q.  Can you run us through what a general practice is like at Princeton?

A.  Guys get on the court about a half hour before our scheduled start time for practice. We do a lot of individual skill work during that time and get loose for when practice actually starts. Once practice starts, we have a specific warm up that we do that lasts about a half hour. After that, we usually do a few basic defensive drills and then work on scout defense and offense for the rest of the practice.


Q.  What do you do outside of practice to improve your game?

A.  I usually get into the gym two or three times a week during the season to get some extra shots up. If I feel like there's something I need to work on I'll ask one of the coaches to put me through a more intense workout to fix whatever I've been struggling with.


Q.  What aspects of your game did you work to improve upon in the off-season?

A.  I've been working a lot on finishing through contact with my left hand. I feel like I've been a little soft when finishing to the left the last few years. I've also been working on extending my range and creating my own shot off the dribble.


Q.  What is the most heated rivalry in the Ivy League? (Why so?)

A.  I feel like right now it's Princeton/Harvard. We've been competing for the league championship the past three years. Historically though, the Princeton/ Penn rivalry is the best.


Q.  What school has the toughest defensive tactics against you?

A.  Both Cornell and Columbia face guarded me for most of our games last year. They both have quick athletic guards that do a good job of pressuring the ball and making life difficult.


Q.  Other than yourself who on your team do you see poised for a breakout year?

A.  I think both Denton Koon and Jimmy Sherburne are going to be big pieces for us this year. Denton had a great sophomore season and has been constantly adding things to his game this offseason. With Ian gone, Denton's role is going to increase but I think it's something he's definitely ready for. Jimmy is also ready to breakout this year. He was playing very well for us at the end of the 2011-2012 season but hurt his shoulder and had to take last year off of school for the surgery. I think he'll pick up right where he left off and do a lot for us this year.


Q.  Who in your life has had the most impact on your basketball career?

A.  My dad has been a huge supporter of me throughout my career. He coached me through 8th grade and taught me all the fundamentals. Since then, he's been my biggest fan, while also being sure to throw in a few pointers here and there.


That concludes my interview with TJ Bray a Senior Captain for the Princeton Tigers (Ivy League). 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 August 2013 )
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