When asked about his proclivity for pulling down rebounds, newly acquired Milwaukee Bucks forward Jeff Adrien barely had a chance to answer before Giannis Antetokounmpo leaped in from his adjoining locker and intercepted the question.

"He was born for that!" said the effervescent Antetokounmpo, who then proceeded to bop out of the locker room, leaving a smiling Adrien in his wake. The 28-year-old power forward couldn't help but agree with his teenage teammate.

"I was born for that," Adrien said. "That's never going to change. That's who I am; I'm sticking to it.

"I think it's a God-given gift. I'm really blessed for that."

Adrien has collected 10 or more rebounds in four of his first five games since coming to the Bucks in a trade from the Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 20. He may have been born for banging in the post and corralling rebounds, but it took him awhile to realize that fact. It also didn't make his road to the NBA any easier.

As a high school player at Brookline High School in Massachusetts, Adrien was bigger than most of his opponents, and both points and rebounds came with relative ease. Even while playing AAU during a post-graduate year at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H, Adrien didn't feel especially challenged, or refined as a rebounder.

To his surprise, the scouts said otherwise.

"UConn saw me on the AAU circuit, and on the player analysis it said, 'Excellent rebounder,'" Adrien said. "At the time I was like, 'I'm an excellent rebounder?'"

Adrien believes his on-court personality as bruiser and a battler began to take shape when he arrived at the University of Connecticut in 2005. During his four years at UConn, the Huskies ranked first in the nation in rebounds per game three times.

UConn's dominance didn't happen by accident.

"In college we always led the country in rebounding because we had guys that wanted to do it and wanted to play hard and be great," Adrien said.