Mar 20, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Rex Pflueger (middle) celebrates with his teammates as time expires after tipping in the winning basket against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Barclays Center. Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Get to Know Rex Pflueger

March 21, 2016

By Kathy Minko ’18

Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted early in the 2015-16 season even though a couple of answers early in the interview point a bit to what would happen in Brooklyn, New York during the second round of the NCAA Tournament a few short months later.

Q: You’ve had offers from many prestigious schools outside of the Midwest, such as California, Connecticut and Florida. What made you choose Notre Dame, and what do you think your role will be as a freshman this year?

A: I chose Notre Dame just like any other person chooses Notre Dame, for the athletic and academic purposes. They share my style of play by playing fast-paced. They let us play our game. And mostly, positioning wise, Jerian Grant–obviously an All-American, great player–but I consider myself to be a similar type of position player like that. So coming in as a freshman, I’m just here to do what coach wants me to do, but [my role] would be just to listen. My main goal is to come out, contribute my freshman year and just help our team.

Q: I saw a video on Bleacher Report where you performed a pretty cool dunk. Where do you think a lot of your momentum comes from in pressure-to-perform situations, and how do you plan on handling that pressure this year on a respected Division 1 program?

A: Basically, you just have to play the play like it is. It’s no different except for the time. You just have to go with it. You need to know the situation and what to do, whether you need the ball or you someone else is hot and you need to pass that person the ball. You have to always be mental. I think my game fits into this college style right away, but I mostly just have to work on my body, get stronger and adjust to the physicality of college.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made so far?

A: For basketball, which is a kind of a serious answer, I play too fast. I make silly turnovers, because I’m so excited to be here. Just as a freshman, I watch too much Netflix and don’t get enough sleep.

Q: Are there any strange rituals you perform before a game?

A: Not really, I’m just superstitious when it comes to knocking on wood. So, I knock on wood all the time. In my mind, if I think something is going to happen, I’ll be like, “Oh dang, I have to knock on wood.” If I can’t find any wood, I’ll try to substitute it with something pretty close.

Q: If you could switch places with any one of your teammates, who would it be and why?

A: Probably Demetrius [Jackson]. I just want to see how it is to have that build for a day. It’s pretty cool.

Q: If your life was a movie, who would play you?

A: Oh, I like this one. Hayden Christensen because we look very similar.

Q: What’s your favorite joke?

A: I like anti-jokes. They’re so stupid; they’re not even funny on paper. My favorite one is, “Why did the monkey fall off the tree? Gravity. Why did the second monkey fall off the tree? It was tied to the first monkey. Why did the third monkey fall off the tree? Peer pressure.”

Q: Who’s your spirit animal?

A: A lion because I’m a leo. I was born in August, and I think I’m ferocious.

Q: What question do you hate to answer?

A: Alright, this is going to sound bad, but it’s, “Why did you go to Notre Dame?” I’ve been asked it so many times, and it’s a stereotypical question. But it’s okay, I have fun answering it.

Q: What is your favorite word?

A: This is going to sound kind of cynical, but I just like my name, “Rex.” It could be a dog.

Q: And where did you get your name?

A: My mom’s maiden name is Greaterex. She’s from England. Also, it means “King”, so she thought that would be cool.

Q: What animal do you think Mike Brey is?

A: What’s a wise animal that likes to have fun? That’s an interesting question. A really wise, youthful sloth.

Q: Which Disney Princess are you most like?

A: Ah, Cinderella. She’s blonde.

Q: What about Sleeping Beauty?

A: She’s overrated. Plus, I’m the type of girl who likes to go dance.

Q: What about Elsa?

A: Oh, I might have to change [my first answer]. Yeah, because if I lost my slipper I’d go get it back, but if I dropped my Jordan, I’m not going to just leave it there. So, now I have to change it to Elsa. Let it go.