Traveling to Lubbock, Texas, held over in Dallas and thought I’d file a quick post from Tuesday’s interviews.
Talked to Abdul Gaddy and Darnell Gant (left) yesterday. It wasn’t planned. It just happened because they were sitting next to each other in the stands preparing for practice.
Also turns out they’re the two guys on the team that’s struggling with their shots. Anyway, both guys didn’t shy away from talking about their shooting woes and their plans on working out of their slumps.
Got to admit, sometimes I’m amazed by the maturity of some of these guys.
Here’s my story on Gaddy.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Gant’s troubles may be more profound. The sophomore has started all but two games in his UW career and Sunday he was on the bench at the start of game against Montana.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said he’s unsure who would start in Gant’s old spot. Tyreese Breshers made the start on Sunday, but it’s possible Romar goes with a smaller, three-guard lineup at times this season.
Gant doesn’t seem worried about who’s starting and he’s more concerned with his .267 shooting percentage, which is the lowest among the scholarship players. He’s averaging 2.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 11.8 minutes, which are all down from last season.
HERE’S THE DARNELL GANT INTERVIEW:
(What’s been going on with you this season?) “I’ve been trying to embrace the role as being a leader and finding my identity, what’s my true identity out there on the floor and on this team. So that’s pretty much what’s been going on.
“Everybody knows I haven’t been shooting my shots. I haven’t been playing as many minutes as I did last year or as I should be or that I feel I should, but it’s all because I’m not being productive. I understand that. Me and coach have talked. He talks to me a lot. Me and coach have that kind of relationship where he can let me know what’s going on. So we both have a real good understanding of what he wants and what he wants us to do. So I’m coming day in and day out in practice to get that done.”
(What does Romar want?) “He wants a lot more rebounding out of me. He wants me to be more aggressive going towards rebounding (and) going towards the offensive glass. And all he wants me to do is make open shots. If I’m out there and teams are playing certain defenses like zones and triangle-and-two and I’m not hitting my shot, what good am I doing out there? He said it’s not an issue of him thinking I can’t make the shots, he knows I can make shots, it’s just I have to shoot it with confidence and I have to be productive. We got goals sets from what he tells us and I just have to do that day in and day out. It starts in practice then it carries over to the game. It’s not like I don’t work on my shot. I work on my shot all the time. It’s just not falling for me. I’m definitely shooting with confidence. It’s like there’s a lid on the rim. So I’ll get out of it. When it’s all said and done, I’ll get out of it.”
(How did you handle not starting for just the second time in your UW career?) “I treated okay because I knew I wasn’t going to start. I knew the whole week and before the game I knew I probably wasn’t going to play that much. Like I said, me and coach have an understanding and we both talked. So I knew. But when my name was called, I was there.”
(Going forward, it seems as if the spot is still open. What’s your mindset?) “Just keep it as an opportunity for me to keep working and getting better. This team is so deep and everybody is so versatile, we can play a numerous amount of people and a numerous amount of rotations. So I just take it as a learning process right now and a chance to get better. I don’t see it as coach not playing me or I’m not starting anymore so what good am I. No. I’m down for the team. That’s what I’m about. I really don’t care. Starting is a plus, but if I’m not starting oh well I still got to go in and play. I got to be productive.
(Many times on offense, you’re away from the basket probably because you like the midrange jumper. So how can you get rebounds when you’re on the baseline and out of the paint?) “It starts in practice. I got to start getting to the basket more. Every since high school, the used to tell me – because I used to shoot jumpers a lot – they used to tell me where I was going to make my money at was down low in the post. I got to go back to that instead of just trying to sit out there and wait for jumpers to come to me all the time. Just be aggressive close to the basket then that will open up everything else for me. It starts on the inside then I’ll work my way outside. In the next couple of games and upcoming weeks in practice, I’m going to start doing that a lot more.”