OFF TOPIC with Minnesota basketball’s Travis Busch

Mark Heise

Minnesota basketball fans, this one is for you. Travis Busch, the inbounder from the buzzer-beating Blake Hoffarber shot against Indiana in the conference tournament that nearly won Hoffarber another ESPY. Along with entering Gopher history on one play, Busch has had a few other accomplishments, including being named Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball his senior year in high school. Busch started his college career at Cal Poly, starting one game before injuring his foot.

Busch also found a way to make this interview process interesting for me, taking a page from Rachel Hartmann’s book and asking ME questions.

One announcement before moving on with the Bio: this will be the only Off Topic this week, barring a miracle. The volleyball interview had to be postponed due to the player’s illness, so we will bring it to you next week. On to the bio.

Name: Travis Busch
Sport: Basketball
Year: Junior
Position: Forward
Height: 6’4"
Full Bio: Gophersports Bio

Mark Heise: Travis, you are a forward for the Gophers now, is that correct?

Travis Busch: That’s correct.

MH: Just to get started in the right direction before we stray off topic, how are you liking the position change?

TB: I love it. But I wouldn’t say it’s that much of a position change, I’ve always been kind of like a forward. I don’t see much of a difference between a forward and a guard, forwards post up a little more, but guards should be able to post up at times. I’ve had a lot of experience from high school, with turnaround jumpers and posting up, so I’m really comfortable, and I really like doing it. It’s fun.

MH: Clearly you’re a Vikings fan, and I wish I had a camera to show this, you have a Vikings shirt and Vikings shorts on…

TB: I also have Vikings socks but I didn’t put them on.

MH: Why not?

TB: I forgot, I was rushed.

MH: How long have you been such a big Vikings fan?

TB: Ever since I can remember, I don’t know when that was. I’ve watched them forever… I love them. My step-dad Bill would be a big inspiration in my Viking-ness, and my passion for purple. He’s my mentor.

MH: On a scale of 1-10, how loyal are you to the Vikings team?

TB: On a scale of 1-10, I’d have to be a 69 for Jared Allen (that’s his jersey number, for those who don’t know.) He’s a beast. You saw him on Sunday, right? He played with a third-degree separated shoulder…

MH: Didn’t he have a safety?

TB: Yeah, which was also a sack, he has 8 for the season so far… I’d say he might get around that 15.5 mark from last year with the Chiefs. He’s a great player. You’re a Packers fan, aren’t you?

MH: I am not a Packer fan, sorry.

TB: Are you a Vikings fan?

MH: Now that they got rid of (former quarterback) Daunte Culpepper, yes.

TB: So you’ve been on the bandwagon for a little while…

MH: I liked the Vikings until they drafted Culpepper, and then I was not happy.

TB: Why?

MH: You saw him play…

TB: You’re right… moving on… sore subject, I don’t want to talk about Daunte.

MH: Moving on is right. This is quickly developing into one of my favorite questions, although the answers haven’t been quite perfect thus far. When is the last time you had a juice box?

TB: Actually I just had one on Tuesday morning. That’s really random. I went home Monday night because we had Tuesday off, and I wanted to get away.  So I watched 4-5 of the old Bond movies, because they’re On Demand right now… I watched two Sean Connery ones and two Roger Moore, and a part of another one with Pierce Brosnan, I think it was Goldeneye, I’ve seen that one before so I only watched a little bit, but the old ones are great! So I was watching that and my mom brought down like 5 juice boxes at one point because she just keeps bringing food non-stop. So when I got home there was a big thing of homemade popcorn ready, with the actual corn stuff, not the bag stuff. And she made a wonderful dinner, and capped off the whole day and a half at home with… I think it was Juicy Juice.

MH: Biggest downfall to a juice box?

TB: The end. When you’re done drinking them you have to squeeze them, and then you hear that noise and you’re just trying to get that last sip. OR when you put the straw in and juice spills out.  OR when it was packed in your lunch when you were in elementary school, and the straw fell off the package and now you don’t have a straw.

MH: I came up with an idea I’d like to sell… Juice boxes for adults. 20 ounces of juice. Is that something you would invest in, or would you prefer the plastic bottles?

TB: I like the box, because it’s called a Juice Box. You know Capri Sun, you think of it as a juice box, but it’s not a box, it’s a pouch. I don’t like pouches I like juice boxes (please refer to Kelly Schmidt’s Off Topic, where she tried to call a Capri Sun a juice box). I’m a big fan of the juice box, so I’d definitely buy that if you sold it. What would you call it?

MH: I don’t know, I’d have to come up with a name. We’re going to play a little game. I’m going to name a freshman from your team, and you’re going to let me know which reality TV show they would or wouldn’t be good at.

TB: Let’s do it.

MH: Ok… Colton Iverson.

TB: He’d be the worst at American Idol. He can’t really sing. But Devoe (Joseph) would be good at it because he loves to sing. They’re opposites on that one.

MH: Ok, so put Devoe Joseph as…

TB: American Idol. He actually said he wanted to be on there, I remember hearing him say it. But he’s from Canada though, so I don’t know if he can be in American Idol.

MH: It would have to be Canadian Idol?

TB: Yeah. So he’s in Canadian Idol.

MH: Ralph Sampson III?

TB: What’s the dance one? He’d be good at So You Think You Can Dance. Ralph’s got moves.

MH:Paul Carter, sophomore, and a transfer to the team. Reality show?

TB: What would he be good at… I don’t know. He’d be bad at Survivor. He’s a really nice guy, and I don’t think he’d have it in him to back-stab people. So that’s a credit to him.

MH: Devron Bostick, technically a junior, but is also new to the team. Where do you see him?

TB: Devron… is there a guitar hero one? He’s not very good at guitar hero, but I’ve seen him play it…. I Love Money. It’s the one on VH1 with all the people from Rock of Love and shows like that, they try to win money.  So he’ll go on that one, because he’s “Money” with his jump shot. And he loves monies. Say “monies” when you type it too.

MH: Trust me, I will. If you were giving a tour of the University, with the polo T-shirt and everything…

TB: Walking backwards…

MH: Yup… what parts of the U would you feature, and what parts would you skip?

TB: I would feature… Dinkytown, just because there’s a lot of cool places to go, and a lot of good places to eat. I love to eat. I would also feature Williams Arena because it’s a historic landmark, and Mariucci, that area, and also TCF Bank Stadium… I would stay away from where all the classes are, because they’ll get enough of that later. Also, not really on campus but noteworthy is St. Anthony Main. Great place. It’s just a really cool place with lots of scenery, bridges, I was actually over there and you can see the waterfalls, and there’s a bunch of deer. Where can you see deer in the city? Only in Minneapolis.

MH: One of the questions from this year’s Off Topic actually stems from your online TV blog, The What Else? Show. It has nothing to do with basketball, nor is it affiliated with the Gophers in any way, but it’s kind of your own thing, and it’s certainly a new look at blogs. We’ve given other people a chance to consider how they would run their own show like yours. Our guest from last week, David Gierut, asked my to interview you this week, and ask you a little bit about the show. So what is this show? What is the essence of the show, what do viewers get a chance to see?

TB: I put my personality out there, that’s part of the essence of the show. Me and Zach (Eisendrath, the co-host) wanted to do something visual, and all you can really do is just write a blog or something like that. But we actually get to be behind a camera. It’s just a big show about nothing. We just talk about random stuff, whatever’s floating our boat that week, or stuff we don’t like… I’m very opinionated, and Zach is more of a moderator-type, so I think we work well because he can pull me back in if I get too crazy, and I can spice it up a little bit. We’re a good tandem. It’s nice to get your opinion out there, and just have fun. It’s mostly just to have fun. We both aspire to have careers in some kind of broadcasting capacity, and thought maybe we should have a little practice to get us ready for it.

MH: Sounds good. Another topic I’ve been on lately is elevators. Are you scared of elevators at all?

TB: Well going back to the James Bond thing, you’ve seen the one where James gets caught in the elevator, and they light the thing on fire… Christopher Walken lights the shaft on fire… and Bond just barely escapes, he goes through the top. So now every time I get in one, actually for a long time, when you get in there, you’ve got that pause when the door closes, I wonder was that my last door closing? You don’t know, it could be. Or you could get stuck. I’m very claustrophobic, and I hate being in confined spaces with a bunch of people. So my biggest nightmare is being caught in an elevator with a bunch of people I don’t know. I am scared. Yes. Good question.

MH: The flip side of that is when the doors close and you’re by yourself. And you’ve got all this space and a certain amount of time alone. What are some things you’ve done in that time?

TB: By myself? I’ve jumped up and down, pressed the alarm button…

MH: You’ve pressed the alarm button?

TB: Yeah. It doesn’t do anything, it just makes a noise. I’ve tried sticking my keys in the keyholes to see if they work. (pulls out his keys) you see these keys? They almost go in, but not quite. Um… I’ve picked up the telephone one time, made faces to the camera… basic stuff.

MH: So you’ve spent plenty of time in an elevator…

TB: Actually my cousin and I were on Spring Break down in Cancun with our families when we were 12 years old, and we were bored, so we just sat in the elevator and rode up and down it for five hours. Well probably like two or three. But we’d just talk to people as they came in… We were the elevator boys. The Otis brothers. You know all elevators are made by the Otis Elevator Company?

MH: I didn’t know that…

TB: Now you do. Look in the bottom, on the metal, it says Otis.

MH: Have you seen Monk?

TB: I hate Monk. I will never watch Monk. I’m sorry. I’ve seen commercials and I’ve heard things, and I won’t watch it.

MH: So you’ve never actually seen the show?

TB: No.

MH: What other things won’t you watch?

TB: Besides Monk? I’ll watch anything. Well wait, I won’t watch Ellen, The View, or Monk.

MH: Wow, good company for Monk there.

TB: I know, right? And maybe CSI. I don’t get it. It’s the same thing every time.

MH: You don’t get it? They solve crimes.

TB: I don’t want to solve crimes. People watch it and think ‘oh my gosh, I’m solving this crime before they do…’ they think they’re investigators, but it’s false hope. Fools gold. I don’t like that kind of stuff.

MH: You said earlier you liked food, favorite food?

TB: Chicken Wings, with any variety of sauces on there, mainly buffalo… my mom makes a killer homemade recipe… Homemade popcorn, um, what else? Chicken, did I say chicken? Steak, Ribeye here and there, crab legs, but they have to be caught by the Deadliest Catch’s boat. Time Bandit is the name of the ship, they catch the crabs, I eat the crab legs.

MH: Wow.

TB: I like Walleye too.

MH: Yeah, I heard you ate a big carp the other day.

TB: It wasn’t a carp! It was clearly a walleye. I could tell by the face and the tail and everything. It was a walleye. It had everything on it.

MH: Let’s tie things up here, we started talking basketball, let’s try to end with the same thing. Your team’s season is starting up here. tell me, why should people come catch a Minnesota basketball game this season?

TB:  Because it’s fun. It’s 100 bucks for student season tickets, with normal tickets costing 30 dollars a game. Three games and you’re already at 90 bucks. We have a lot more home games than that. We’re going to be good, and you get to watch Big Ten basketball at it’s finest. Not everyone gets to watch that. We’re a good product. We work hard. We play hard. You should enjoy the fruits of our labor. And you have to experience the Barn.  Do you want me to keep going?

MH: No, that should be good… last question, if you could nominate any athlete for the next Off Topic, who would it be and what would you like to hear them answer?

TB: Any athlete? Um…  I’d say Colton Iverson, and I’d say ask him about the Hersey Dunkers from Pizza Hut. He loves them.


Well no promises, but we’ll try to get Colton or David Gierut’s other pick, Nedward Tavale next week. That’s all from here, thanks Travis for the interview, it was a marathon. One last thing, since you were deprived of Ashley Suapaia’s Off Topic this week due to illness, I’ll see if we can fit in a third one for next week.

Don’t forget to comment and add your own questions, and with that, thanks for reading, we’ll see you next week.