NCAA Basketball Tournament: Q&A with North Dakota State senior Taylor Braun

Braun knows some people, including President Barak Obama, are picking the Bison to upend the Sooners on Thursday.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 19, 2014

Q: It's become pretty routine for a 12 (seed) to upset a 5. And you guys are in the 12-5 matchup. President Obama even is picking you guys to win this game. Does that put any more pressure on you guys?

A: “I don't think these more higher-profile people picking us to win changes our mindset. I definitely think that we're not going to catch Oklahoma off guard. I'm pretty sure we're going to get their best effort and best game. We have, both teams, earned the right to be in this position and both teams are preparing hard and it's going to be a very good, exciting game on Thursday. We're all looking forward to it.”

You're from Oregon, do you feel like you're back in your part of the country? I don't know enough about the politics of Washington and Oregon to know if you feel at home or not, but do you?

“I'm a good 400 miles from home. So there's some distance. But I'll have a good amount of family members making the trip because it's easier to get to Spokane than Fargo. So it's nice being back in the Northwest, but I'm still far from home. I have some classmates making the trip, a bunch of family, I'm thinking like around 30 people or so.”

You were pretty close to signing with a Division II school. What was the process in which you ended up in at North Dakota State?

“It was Western Oregon University and I was just looking, I was kind of just holding out, hoping something good came up and somebody would give me an opportunity. Schools kept saying I need to make a decision, these are D-II schools saying I needed to make a decision. And they started giving those scholarship offers away, because I was holding out for something better that I thought I was capable of. It was getting to be end of April of my senior year. So it was time for me to make a decision, because you got to get up there in the summer and start working. I was about a couple days away from signing with Western Oregon, then I got a phone call about North Dakota State. They just heard through the grapevine that I was a possible player that might be able to contribute. I sent them a game tape. The next week I went up there, finals week for them in beginning of May. It was very dead, not a lot of college atmosphere going around, but they offered me a scholarship. To be honest, I wasn't overly thrilled with just everything about it, but I know I wanted to be a Division I player and this was the opportunity I was given and I took it and it has been amazing. I wouldn't change it for anything.”

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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