Jan. 28, 2008
Four of the seniors on the WSU men's basketball squad - Jeremy Cross, Kyle Weaver, Robbie Cowgill and Derrick Low - took a few minutes to sit down and talk about where they've been as a team, where they are now and what their future plans are. The Cougars are currently 17-2 overall and 5-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference.
What is your earliest childhood memory of playing basketball?
Cross: I started playing when I was six. We were playing at an AAU tournament at Long Beach on outdoor courts, and we played with knee pads. I hit the game winning shot to win the championship.
Cowgill: When we moved to Texas from San Francisco, I was about to turn six. There was a hoop in our driveway, and we just started playing because it was there. My older brother and I loved sports and played everything. We'd play one-on-one and shoot for hours; of course we had to put a trampoline out there so we could dunk it, too.
Low: My dad and I would go and watch my older brother's high school practices, and I remember taking a basketball and dribbling it all around the court while they were practicing. There was a pull-up bar on the wall, and I would shoot through the bar and the wall and run and dunk it inside that bar. Whenever they had timeouts I would run onto the court and shoot. That's my best memory. Tagging along with my brother to all his practices and shooting and doing what they were doing.
What do you think were three of the biggest factors in turning this program around?
Weaver: Being together through the tough times made a difference. Plenty of guys could have taken different routes but staying together then makes us stronger now. The coaching and the people guiding us in the right direction, from Tony down to the managers, want us to be at our best and they push us all the time to be at that level. I think that's a big part of us being successful. The fans would be the third. Being there since the beginning and supporting us win, lose or draw - people were always in there. There may not have been as many people, but when we did well they were there and when we lost or didn't do as well they were still there. It's always great to have that support no matter what.
Cowgill: Perseverance and believing in it. If we didn't really believe this was the right way to play or the right principles to turn this program around, it couldn't have happened. It would have been very easy to give up, especially when we were losing all the time. I think this group's ability to persevere through that and believing that it was eventually going to happen were big factors.
Low: The Bennetts, of course. Obviously this would have never happened if it hadn't been for Coach Dick Bennett and Coach Tony Bennett. I don't know if there are three. I would say the Bennetts - they count for all three.
How do you handle the attention of the fans?
Cross: I try to be myself and stay humble. Our coach always preaches to stay humble and be friendly, and usually we try to do as much for the fans as we can since they are the ones who come out, support us and help us play well.
Weaver: I really don't mind it. The people here, they really care. It's not like these fans are just coming out of nowhere. Sometimes, other people think you're taking advantage of your status or situation, and that's something I would never do or even think about.
Cowgill: I think because of where we are it's not as crazy. It's not this big marketplace or city; it's still Pullman. Because it's such a small town and family environment - we see them all the time. Everyone is around each other so much; we're still students.
Low: Sometimes when we're just walking as a group, we'll pass some people and we can kind of hear what they're saying - "Oh that's so-and-so." And we turn around and they're looking at us. That's kind of funny, but it's all good.
What are your plans after you graduate?
Cross: I actually am starting a clothing line that we're trying to get out by next fall. Chris Henry (fellow basketball player), myself and two other business partners are involved. It's a website-based clothing line where you can go on and vote on university apparel and create and design your own clothing.
Weaver: The plan is to definitely get my degree, and if I have an opportunity to keep playing ball at any level, I will. I also have been thinking about going back home, but I'd be willing to go somewhere else around the country. I'd like to do something with kids, maybe something like a boys and girls club - a big brother type of thing - and start it from scratch.
Cowgill: Right now I'm 50-50 between playing ball, assuming I have an opportunity and stay healthy, or going into some type of Christian ministry. I'm kind of in the deciding process, but I think it will be one of those two.
Low: Hopefully I can still play basketball. I'll go home for awhile and enjoy time with my family and friends from back home, take in the sun and go to the beach a lot.
How do you want to be remembered at WSU?
Weaver: I don't know what I can do to make the people remember me, but just to be remembered - as long as there is some positive on and off the court - is a big thing for me. To take basketball in Pullman to where it is now and have people 10-20 years from now look back at that team that started it - the Weavers, the Cowgills, the Lows - just to have my name mentioned in that era would be really awesome.
Cowgill: I really want this group to be remembered as the group that turned the program around. I don't really care if they remember me individually on the court except as a guy that loved the game and played hard.
Low: One of the five players in the Bennetts' first recruiting class that helped turn this program around.