Below is’s Luke Winn’s excellent Q&A with Ian Mooney, enjoy…

Ian Mooney shoots before a gameThe Blog’s two-season series of player-and-coach (but mostly player) Q&As has featured such luminaries as Roy Hibbert and Rick Majerus, but we’ve never before interviewed a walk-on. That changed today, as the subject is Texas senior forward [tag]Ian Mooney[/tag], who shares a name with the former host of WWF’s Wrestling Spotlight and, unlike most walk-ons, had three double-digit-minute games this season, averaging 0.3 points on the season. Mooney wears the No. 22 in honor of his late brother, Brendan, and transferred from St. Louis to Texas after one year as a walk-on with the Billikens. Longhorns point guard D.J. Augustin says Mooney “sets the best screens” on the team, and strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright warns onlookers not to dismiss Mooney as unathletic because of his stocky Irish frame. “He might look like he’s been drinking for three days, or that he just fell off the potato truck,” Wright says of Mooney, “but he can really jump. Seriously, he’ll throw down dunks.”

We caught up with Mooney in the Horns’ locker room before their Friday practice:

Luke Winn: You went from being a walk-on as a sophomore, to a scholarship guy last season [when a gap was left by Daniel Gibson leaving early], back to being a walk-on. That’s an interesting back-and-forth.

Ian Mooney: I just take what comes my way. I had a scholarship fall in my lap, and now I’m back to just doing what I do, walking on.

LW: Did you earn the full ride last year by harassing Kevin Durant in practice? [Coach Rick Barnes had said that Mooney guarded Durant “better than anyone.”]

IM: I think they kind of had some extra [scholarships] lying around last year, but I’m fine with the Durant angle.

LW: And you’ve already graduated?

IM: I graduated this past summer in corporate communications. It’s like communication studies in corporate situations — doing sales presentations, things like that. And I’m in grad school now, for advertising, which is pretty tough. That’s fine, though — I’d rather do advertising than be taking basket weaving or doing the Leinart plan.

LW: What’s the University of Texas equivalent of a ballroom-dancing class?

IM: I took a semester of piano once, and that was my fine-arts credit. I don’t know if that was as bad [as ballroom dancing], but our homework was singing in class and practicing our stuff.

LW: You’ve seen some serious time in a few games this year [against TCU and St. Mary’s in January]. How did that come about?

I think coach [Rick Barnes] just kind of got frustrated with some of the guys, and gave me a shot. We were playing against TCU and they had undersized big men, and our guys were having trouble with it. Coach gave me a shot, I did well, and found a couple more minutes the next game, which was cool.

[Note: In order to conduct this interview, Mooney took a break from playing a white-board game with teammates Matt Hill and Damion James that was essentially Pictionary for movie titles. Mooney is the one drawing in the photo below.]

Ian Mooney draws Honey I Shrunk the Kids

Where did you come up with that game? And which movies did you draw?

IM: I brought it over from high school [at St. Michael’s in Austin], but it just started today because we’ve been bored like crazy. We just needed to pass the time. I did Courage Under Fire — you see, the lion without the heart from Wizard of Oz, and then the fire? It’s supposed be be flip-flopped, but it’s there. Then I did Camelot, drawing camels in a parking lot. [He also did Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, with a pot of honey and some small stick figures, and Hill drew Next Friday by using a calendar.]

LW: I heard last week about the team’s obsession with Rock Band in your home locker room …

IM: We first got it started with Guitar Hero. One of the managers brought it in, and then we convinced him to get another guitar — and then we made him keep the guitars in the lounge, because we were playing it so much. Then Rock Band came along and the next thing you know, we had a band. D.J. is good at drums, because he played in middle school, and Clint [Chapman] is probably the best at guitar. Justin [Mason] is on the mic. He sings the classic rock. Very adequately.

(more …)

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