Though most of the school got five-and-a-half weeks off for winter break, the men's basketball team took just four days off. The hard work paid off for forward Tucker Halpern '13. The rookie had two career-high nights, scoring 22 points against Wagner on Jan. 4 and another 26 points a week later against Quinnipiac. He was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Jan. 11 — and he has now been named the Herald Athlete of the Break.
Herald: Was it good for team bonding to have everyone at Brown over break?
Halpern: I'm really close with Andrew McCarthy ('13), one of the other freshmen. We had been playing together since before we came here, so we got to bond with the other two freshmen a lot more than we had. It was real good.
How did you know Andrew before?
We played AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball together growing up, and we went to somewhat rival schools in the same league.
Did one of you influence the other to come to Brown?
I was the first one to commit in the recruiting class, and I definitely did some good recruiting on him to get him to come here, too. I mean, coaches did, too. But they know I helped.
Where else were you considering?
I was getting a lot of different levels of recruitment — a lot of the other Ivy League schools, some Atlantic 10 schools like UMass, and some bigger schools like Georgetown and Michigan.
Why did you pick Brown instead of a big-time program like Georgetown or Michigan?
I wanted to get a chance to play right away and make an impact right away on the team, and that would be a lot tougher at a real high-major. I also — I'm from Boston — so being close to home is nice — but not too close. And I just like Brown a lot. I kind of decided at the end of my decision-making that I wanted to go to an Ivy League school for the education and diploma.
Is it weird to now be playing against the other schools that recruited you? Do you have an extra chip on your shoulder in those games?
Yeah, I think I have an extra chip on my shoulder, especially when we just played Yale. (There were) a lot of things interesting about that game because my brother goes there. He does the radio for their games. So he was doing the radio for the game, I was very close to their coaches in the recruiting process and my dad went there. For a while, I thought that it would probably be the place that I would end up, so it was interesting to play them. I think I actually played with too much emotion and nervousness because I was so anxious to play them, and I had two tough games.
Was your brother cheering for you or Yale?
He said he had to make it sound like he was cheering for Yale, but — especially after we had won the first game, he was hoping we would win the second, just because, I mean, it would be a great start to the season. He always wanted me to do well, but I think he was a little split on who he wanted to win. He's a pretty big fan of Yale.
Who wins when you and your brother play one-on-one?
Has it always been like that?
For a while. He'll still — well, not really anymore — but for a while, he would take one from me every now and then because he goes so hard when we play. I mean, he would just run harder than me just because he's the older brother.