Oct. 19, 2007
Freshman Darnell Gant adds to the list of highly touted recruits brought in by head coach Lorenzo Romar. Out of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Gant picked Washington over several other prominent colleges. Now in his fourth week of school, Gant and his fellow freshmen have just started official practices with an exhibition game approaching against Seattle Pacific on Nov. 5. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Bank of America Arena.
GoHuskies.com caught up with Darnell recenty to get his thoughts about the start to his collegiate career:
GoHuskies.com: How has school been since you got here?
Darnell Gant: "School is tough. There is so much to keep track of, even with all the help. You have to keep track of everything and if you don't you get punished in practice and you fall behind. It really is not good to fall behind."
GoHuskies: What are your classes like?
DG: "They're really good. I am learning a lot and taking a big interest in Communications (Gant is an introductory Communications course taught by award-winning professor David Domke) and we are talking about media. [Domke] is funny guy and the class is very interesting."
GoHuskies: What has the adjustment to college athletics been like?
DG: "The athletic adjustment is just hard. We came in and starting conditioning right away which was tough. But you have to fight through whatever they throw at you because we know that it is for the better."
GoHuskies: Which veteran players have helped you the most?
DG: "I've taken a big under-wing role under Jon, Ryan, Quincy and Justin Dentmon. Throughout practice you don't hear other freshmen asking them what I am asking because I am looking to learn what they know. They have been here and they can help me be prepared. In open gym when I am doing something wrong they will get on me so that I can fix it now before practice starts."
GH: How does Jon's style of play help you get better?
DG: "I've been watching Jon since I was a sophomore, in the McDonald's All-American game. I found out at that point that he was coming to Washington and I started taking a liking to Washington because that year they sent me my very first letter. I started paying attention to Jon and then I saw Nate and B-Roy. Now that I am here and he is here still he has been pushing me around in practice and trying to help me get better."
GoHuskies: Why did you choose Washington over some other college basketball powers?
DG: "The first reason is Coach Romar. I feel like he will better me as a person. He can play a role of a second father figure in my life because all I have at home is my grandfather. He is just a great mentor. Then the reputation both of the school and what coach Romar has brought is very good. Finally our style of play fits me. I like everything to go fast and that is exactly what we do. I don't like to run offense. When we need offense we can run it, but I like to get up and down the floor. We are more effective when we get up and down the floor."
GoHuskies: Last year it was said that this team wasn't as up-tempo. How does your class change that?
DG: "After every game last year I talked to coach Romar and we would talk about the game and where I would fit and what I would bring. He would tell me how the incoming class would be different. We have a type of team now where we are all athletic, all long and we can all handle the ball and shoot. Most of are versatile and we do a lot of conditioning so being an up-tempo team shouldn't be a problem."
GoHuskies: What has the competition for the guard spots been like in practice?
DG: "It's a war for them. They are all different types of guards so they all bring a different aspect to our team. When I was in high school our coach used a different starting lineup in almost every game because certain players did certain things that you need against a certain team. I think coach Romar will have lineups for certain situations because he has players that can do different things. That is a blessing for the team that we have that and we need that in the Pac-10 conference because it is the toughest in the nation right now."
GoHuskies: What do you expect to be feeling when you play in your first game?
DG: "I will definitely have some jitters. I am nervous before every game. This is a different type of environment for me. I have never played in a gym like ours before and in front of this many people either. It will be tough and there will be some ups and downs, but it is all a learning process that I will have to deal with."