Former Oregon basketball player and current Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks played against the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night as the Oregon football team watched from the upper deck at the AT&T Center. Brooks finished with six points and one rebound and Houston won 111-98. After the game, the Emerald and other Oregon media members interviewed Brooks, who talked about Oregon athletics this season and his time as a Duck.
Have you been paying much attention to the Ducks lately?
Always. I always follow up on how they’re doing in football and basketball.
Have you watched the Oregon men’s basketball team much this season?
Sometimes. Most of the time we’re playing at the same time. One of my best friends (Brandon Lincoln) is a coach on the team, so he always keeps me informed of how they’re doing. They’re playing very well. … B.J. Young (Joseph Young) was a great pick-up. He’s leading the team and now they’ve got D.A. (Dominic Artis) back.
The 2007 men’s basketball team (Brooks’ senior season) was the last Oregon team to make an NCAA tournament run until last season. How impressed have you been with the Ducks’ improvement the last few years?
Coaching. He (Dana Altman) has always been able to coach and now he has better talent. He’s gotten the guys to buy into their system and they’re playing very well. Hopefully they can keep it up. I’m proud to say I’m a Duck.
Do you follow the Oregon football team at all? They were at the Spurs-Rockets game tonight, if you didn’t know.
“I didn’t know that. I probably would’ve played better if I knew they were here. But they’ve got a big game coming up against Texas. I think it might be a little lopsided, the crowd. What was it, the coach’s (Mack Brown) last game coaching? It’s going to be a big, big night, so hopefully they (the Ducks) can come in and steal their joy.
Does it feel different this year playing on a team with such a big spotlight on it?
This is our first game on Christmas and it’s awkward (laughs). A little bit awkward. But you live for experiences like this and we wouldn’t trade this for the world. Having Dwight (Howard) has definitely brought some popularity to this team. We were 18-10 before tonight and 18-10 is bad. If we had that last year, we’d be excited. We need to continue to continue to get better playing basketball.
What’s it like playing spotlight game on Christmas when you might prefer being with your family?
You’ve just got to block everything out. With this career, there are no weekends. Like I don’t even know what day it is. It’s just a constant, every day is the same. Your weekends are your off days.
Do you talk with Altman at all?
I talk to him when I go down. Normally I go there once a year for a week and workout, so I talk to him when I’m down there. Other than that, I talk to Brandon Lincoln, Josh (Jamieson), Stubbs (assistant coach Tony Stubbefield) calls me whenever. He’s always recruiting, always in Houston or Seattle (Brooks’ hometown), so I’ll take him out to dinner or whatever. I keep in contact with pretty much everybody.
Did he call you about Joseph Young or Damyean Dotson, those Houston guys?
He didn’t. Actually, my barber told me about Dotson before he signed. I didn’t know who he was. I was like, hopefully he’s good. You can only look at the rankings and he was like a three-star, so I gave him a hard time. But he’s really good.
What did you do today for Christmas besides game prep?
I slept all day. It’s Christmas. I wasn’t feeling too well, so I just relaxed and played the game. I’m ready to go home.
Do you look back on your Oregon career much?
It was up-and-down, career-wise. Freshman year was decent, sophomore year was great, junior year was horrible and senior year was amazing. We almost didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament my senior year, so to leave on that note, to leave the program in the right direction, I had a good time.
Do you still have your camps around Eugene?
I’m going to have a camp this year in Eugene. I don’t have the exact date. Last year we cancelled it but I’m going to have one this year.
Your Rockets’ teammate Chandler Parsons came up to Eugene for an Oregon football game over the summer. Did you tell him about that?
He called me. He said he was at Taylor’s (laughs). He said he had an amazing time. That’s my guy, Chandler. He had a good time. He said it’s not like Florida football but we’re actually winning now, unlike them.
Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415