May 12, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Santa Clara freshmen guard Phillip Bach, a 6' 4, 196lb. walk-on, played in five games this past season. Bach is from Medina, Wash., and attended Bellevue High School prior to coming to the Mission Campus.
Bach has quite a sense of humor, a real love for his parents, family and his Bronco teammates and coaches. Read on to learn more about Phillip Bach, better known as Phillie Cheese.
SCU: So, you are from Seattle. People must assume you drink a lot of coffee?
PB: None. Absolutely none. My parents made it a thing not to get me hooked on the coffee rage and waste my allowance on all that growing up. My mom, Pauline Bach, drinks way too much coffee - maybe enough for the whole family. My dad, Robbie Bach, doesn't drink it. All he needs is four hours a sleep at night. He goes to bed at 12:30 - 1 am and gets up at 5 am to work out before he goes to work. Even on the weekends.
SCU: What's your nickname? Why?
PB: Phillie Cheese or Cheese. Everybody's called me that since I was nine or 10 including my cousins. It's sort of carried with me here to Santa Clara. I don't mind it because everybody has to have a nickname so you might as well have fun with it.
SCU: What sports did you play growing up?
PB: I loved to play everything growing up. Basketball, football, baseball, tennis, golf and the winter sports: skiing and snowboarding. Anything I could get my hands on. The only sport I didn't get too into was soccer because I wasn't very good at it.
SCU: What's your highest honor with one of those sports?
PB: It's funny. Every year our little league team was really good and every year I had a family reunion at the same time as the championship so I wasn't there so we ran out of pitchers. Every year we got to the title game, but didn't win because I couldn't make it and our pitching dried up. Besides that I won a basketball tournament my senior year of high school in Maui - we killed everybody by about 20. That's probably the best tournament I have been to with my high school.
SCU: It's Maui. Who would complain?
PB: Exactly. I hope someday we play in that tournament they have in Maui.
SCU: You are on walk-on here. How did you get to Santa Clara?
PB: I did all the visits like a regular student. Jim Marsh was my AAU coach. He knows Coach Keating and he talked to him about walking on. I came down here, met with him and he asked me to walk-on. I thought about walking on with San Diego or Portland, but Portland is another Seattle so I didn't want to be there. At San Diego all the parties were 10 minutes away - it was a different campus and different style.
SCU: And you feel like this was a good choice to come here?
PB: It was a great choice to come here because of the strong academics. It's an ideal location. Close to home, West coast and of course it's on average a good 30 degrees warmer here than Seattle.
SCU: What do you look forward to the most this spring?
PB: Getting stronger with our strength coach Joe Siara. The open gyms. Getting to show my abilities and continue to improve with the workouts with the coaches. And most of all to have fun, especially in the off-season, getting to have more fun and getting better on the court.
SCU: Do you miss the snow?
PB:: (laughs): Yeah, I do. It snowed a good foot of snow when I was home at Christmas and the first few days it was nice. Then after a few more days, maybe not. I got stuck in my own driveway at home trying to leave. I had to floor it out to make it up the driveway fine, but it was a struggle. But I'll pick the sun over the snow any day,
SCU: Did you watch the NCAA Tournament?
PB: Yep. The teams that surprised me: Michigan State and Villanova. Watching Villanova play Pitt was probably the craziest game I have ever seen with Reynolds hitting the finger roll at the end. My parents both went to North Carolina so I have naturally always been a big Tarheel fan. My whole family was excited. My Aunt Anne Peterson, works for the UNC Athletic Department and once they won she said "I know you are at Santa Clara, but I am still going to send you some gear". She sent me a couple t-shirts and a hat.
SCU: Did you pick the four teams that made the Final Four?
PB: I had Louisville, UNC, Pitt and UCONN - the four No. 1 seeds. I was shocked to see Michigan State and Villanova in there.
SCU: Did you learn anything watching the NCAA Tournament?
PB: North Carolina was pretty amazing. They didn't have Ty Lawson the first couple of games because of a toe injury and the team was able to still dig deep and have the passion and courage to hold on until he got back. They had all the momentum. Having the momentum on your side is crucial if you want to win the big title.
SCU: You are a good student. What is your major and what are your plans after graduation?
PB: Right now it's unclear. I am interested in Marketing and Finance with another major or minor in Communications. As far as my GPA I earned a 3.4 GPA with the summer and fall and a 3.83 GPA in the winter quarter.
SCU: Knowing what you have coming back on the team and what players the team has coming to Santa Clara next year, how excited are you for October 15 to get here?
PB: Extremely excited. We will be a much different team than we were last year. For all you fans out there, we should be much more fun to watch because we will be playing more fast-break. No disrespect to any of the previous players. We are going to be just as fun, if not more fun with the new caliber of players we are bringing in. We will play a much more up-tempo game.
I have played open gym with some of the new guys. Niyi and Robert and a couple of the other guys. Niyi is going to be our LeBron James - an athletic swing man that can get to the hoop and finish. Robert Smith is surprisingly quick and plays like a Ty Lawson or Chris Paul and is a very good passer. Those are the two guys I have seen play the most. It should show for a promising season next year.
SCU: What are you working on in individuals?
PB: My ball handling. Consistency as far as my jump shot and being a little more creative with my moves. I am working to get my confidence back up to where it needs to be.
SCU: Is it hard being a walk-on?
PB: It has its advantages and disadvantages. Obviously you may not be able to play as much as you want and it's especially frustrating when you see something you know you can do, but you are on the bench. But I am very happy to be on the team despite not being able to be on the court. I am positive and help the guys with things I see on the court. It's a completely different game when you aren't in there and you are able to provide them some perspective. Sometimes I just wish I could get out there and do it myself. But we are a good team now and we have a lot of fun.
SCU: Have you thought about next year at all yet? What game are you looking most forward to?
PB: I can't wait until October 15 - especially those brutal three hour practices in the beginning. It's been weird - you get so used to going to practice every day and then to not have it, is different. The games I am looking most forward to are Portland (friends with Luke Sikma of Portland) and Gonzaga in general. Hopefully next year we will get the best of them and we won't have our fans doing things they shouldn't.
SCU: Marc's dad and younger brother are on Twitter. Anyone from your family on Twitter or Facebook? Have you encouraged them to join the official fan page: Santa Clara University Athletic Broncos?
PB: They aren't on Twitter that I know of. My mom added me as a friend a couple months ago on Facebook and initially I ignored her. I finally realized how bad she would feel when she discovered I am still not her friend and I didn't want to get kicked out of the house, so I friended her back. When I update my status (like Phillip is ... struggling) - she'll say `struggling with what?' or `long night?' or `???????' on my page. I think it's funny. I have a good laugh every time she does it and then she says `I am just being your mom and doing my job'. She sounds like Coach Keating (laughs with smile).