UW's Penney gains a world of confidence
11:21 PM 10/02/02
Tom Oates Wisconsin State Journal columnist
indentWhether he was hanging with
Dirk Nowitzki or dining with Yao Ming, Kirk Penney heard his share of foreign
languages last month at the World Championships in
indentIt was a good old-fashioned English word, however, that Penney brought back to
indentNot that Penney, the
indent"If I can take anything from the summer," Penney said Wednesday, "I would hope that confidence is definitely one of those things."
indentConfidence is something Penney returns with in seemingly larger portions every fall. In 2000 he played for
indentBut this year was different because Penney and
indentAnd Penney, as
indent"Just with experience and growth and learning the game and (maturing) physically, you're going to get more confident and you're going to feel like you belong at that level," Penney said.
indent"When you're 19 years old and playing in the Olympics, it's an awesome experience and you're so glad to be there, but this is a whole 'nother deal now. Your role is just a lot different. Confidence is huge, it really is. My team had it. Every individual on that team had a lot of confidence in themselves and it rubbed off on everyone else. Obviously that's a big thing and it comes with experience."
indentPenney and Finley exchanged pleasantries briefly after the game, but otherwise didn't have much contact. The
indent"I think international basketball has definitely caught up (to the
indent"It could easily have gone either way in those two games especially. But I'm not going to for a second rip on the
indentOne reason for Team
indent"I think year by year you get better and better at coping with that," he said. "I did go home for a little bit (due to a death in the family) and that was great to get the mind ready for this upcoming year, just reflecting and focusing on what's at hand."
indentWhat's at hand for Penney is to improve on last season, when the Badgers shared the Big Ten title and he was named first-team all-conference. After going against bigger and stronger players all summer, Penney hopes the confidence he gained carries over to his senior year of college.
indent"When you have the opportunity to play against top NBA players and you come back and play college guys, there should be confidence," Penney said. "But that'll only take you so far because there are some absolutely unbelievable players in college. ... Still, it does instill some confidence and if it can rub off on the guys, that's a good thing."
indentIn any language.