Former Temple point guard Rick Brunson earned his social work degree from Temple May 18. Brunson, who played under Hall of Fame coach John Chaney from 1991 to 1995, ranks 14th all-time at Temple in scoring with 1,493 points. A nine-year NBA veteran, Brunson has a new goal to attain:
Make the Philadelphia 76ers roster this season.
Before a preseason meeting with the Knicks last week, Brunson spoke with “The Temple News”:
The Temple News: You recently received your degree from Temple. You said you went back to school out of a promise to your mother. When did you make this promise and could you elaborate on it?
Rick Brunson: I made that promise, when I left school, to her and coach Chaney that I would go back and get it. It’s something I wanted to do. I kept putting it off and I just buckled down and did it.
TTN: What made you put it off so long?
RB: I was playing in the NBA. It was kind of hard to raise a family playing six, seven months out of the year and go to school at the same time. I was trying to get a job every year. I got to the point where I was comfortable and it was time for me to go back.
TTN: What did Chaney say to you when you finally got it?
RB: He was proud. He said ‘It’s about time,’ but he was definitely proud because [out of] me, Eddie [Jones] and Aaron [McKie], I was the last one to get it. He felt good about that.
TTN: To get that degree you had to spend some time at the Philadelphia Youth Study Center. What role did you fulfill there?
RB: I was a social worker. I had to go there and do some social work things, interview the kids when they came in and get processed and stuff. It was a great experience, humbling experience and I enjoyed a lot of it.
TTN: What did you learn from it?
RB: I learned that there’s more to the world than just NBA basketball. There’s kids out there that need role models. Especially in social work, being a male figure and being an athlete is big because social workers [are predominantly] women. I felt being African American was big in this community.
TTN: Is that something you look to get involved with after your playing days are done?
RB: I definitely want to get involved in teaching kids. Whether it’s coaching, whether it’s being a teacher or being a social worker. Something in that line of work.
TTN: You were a candidate for the men’s basketball coaching position. Are you still looking to become a coach?
RB: Oh, definitely, whether it’s assistant coach, strength coach, anything. I just want to be involved.
TTN: Are you looking at any particular level?
RB: No. No preference. Whatever comes along.
TTN: The future aside, right now you’re trying to make the Sixers. What do you feel your chances are?
RB: I’m not going to answer. I can’t answer
TTN: What’s it like being back in Philly?
RB: It’s lovely. It’s something I want to do and something I’m going to make sure happens.