2012 March Madness: B/R Exclusive Interview with Past NCAA Champion Miles Simon
With March Madness in full gear, I had the opportunity to speak with Miles Simon, a March Madness legend, who led the Arizona Wildcats to a national championship in 1997 while winning the tournament's Most Outstanding Player Award.
In Simon's first year as a Wildcat, he averaged 18.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.2 rebounds per game. During the tournament, Simon led all scorers with 132 points. Simon's stellar play was a big reason why Arizona was able to win their first and only national championship.
If anyone knows about March Madness, it's Miles.
What Is Your Favorite Part About March Madness and Do You Follow the NBA?
My favorite part about March Madness is the intensity of the games and the final minutes. The clutch play is very important to the game and it is very exciting to watch.
I love watching all the games and analyzing how each team plays. I spent all day yesterday watching every single game and I plan to continue doing that throughout the rest of the tournament.
I do follow the NBA, but not much. I was not able to follow much about the trade deadline action yesterday because I was glued into the college ball matches, but I follow the NBA.
What Do You Look for in a Team When Choosing a Champion?
When I am choosing a team I usually look for a team that has good guard play, especially from the point guard position
The team also needs to have that certain sense of toughness because during these games the successful teams are the ones that are usually tough both mentally and physically.
If a team is hot coming into the tournament, and I notice that they consistently play tough, that will usually be the team that I would choose to win it all or get very far.
How Did It Feel to Win the National Championship, Were You Ever Nervous?
I was never nervous. Once I got out on that court and starting shooting around prior to the game, I became numb to everything.
It was the greatest experience of my life. Bringing home a national championship for a Hall of Fame coach like Lute Olson is an unexplainable emotion, you just can't put an emotion on it.
We put in a lot of hard work, and once that ball went up in the air, all the nervousness was gone and I just focused on playing well for my team and making sure we were able to compete and win every game in the tournament.
Winning the Most Outstanding Player player award was a great honor and I worked really hard to get there, and once we won the championship it all paid off.
How Did It Feel to Play with Mike Bibby?
Mike Bibby was so great to play with.
He was the most unselfish guy you will ever meet. He was a great shooter. I always knew he was going to have a very long career based on the way he would play.
He is one of the best point guards I have ever played with, and maybe one of the best players I have ever played with.
It was an honor to play with Mike Bibby.
Tell Me More About " Allstate Team Mayhem"
Well, Allstate Team Mayhem is a group that includes myself, James Worthy, Dickie V and Joey Rodriguez. We are all very familiar with how crazy March Madness is.
There is a lot of craziness that happens during March Madness, the last-second shots, the intense game play, it is all very exciting.
"Allstate Team Mayhem" will be down in bracket town to hang out with the fans and just talk about hoop.
How Was Your Experience Playing in Turkey with Tuborg Pilesner?
Of course I enjoyed Turkey. It was beautiful and I enjoyed the country very much.
I did not live in Istanbul, but I was able to visit the city and I enjoyed being there when I visited.
The food and scenery were great, it was an overall great experience.
Who Was Your Favorite Rival to Play Against?
Who was my favorite team to play against? I have to say UCLA.
I always loved to play against them, the games were always competitive.
I am also from Southern California so it was really good to go home and play against them in my hometown. I would be playing in front of my family and friends, it was always special for me to play against the Bruins.
I loved to play against those guys.
After I thanked Miles for the interview, I told him how I want to be in his position right now as a TV analyst.
Miles currently works for ESPN as a color commentator and as an analyst.
I gained a lot of respect from Miles after the interview was over because he seemed so passionate about college basketball. He definitely knew what he was talking about when I asked him what he looks for when he is choosing a champion.
Miles was very modest about his championship victory. He gave a lot of credit to his coach Lute Olson and to his teammates.
I would like to thank Miles Simon for taking the time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with me. I would like to wish him the best of luck in his future and with his college basketball brackets.