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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

October 18, 2010 at 7:04 AM

The new and improved Darnell Gant adds a 3-point shot

darnell gant.jpg
Photo credit: Seattle Times – Cliff DesPeaux
Washington junior Darnell Gant spent a lot of time working out this summer with Justin Holiday and his brother Jrue. They even had some training sessions with Olympic sprinter Maurice Greene who taught them running techniques.
Last week we sat down inside Hec Edmundson after an open gym run and talked about why he changed his shot and about his newfound ability to shoot three-pointers, which has impressed several teammates.
It’s a lengthy interview so I’ll post the second half later today.
(How was your summer?) “It was good. I spent a lot of time with Justin and Jrue (Holiday). I stayed in California, but I didn’t really stay home. When Jrue went to Boston or Philly for a weekend, I’d go back to LA, but for the most part I was in the valley with Justin and Jrue working out at a place called the Factory. Just trying to grind it out, trying to prepare myself for this season.”
(What were you doing?) “The majority of the things we were doing is core work. We did a lot of squatting and agility things. We worked out with Maurice Greene the Olympic track runner. We worked on technique running. Knowing how to recover.”
(Did you go into the offseason with a specific plan on what you wanted to improve?)

“Yeah. When I started the offseason, all the coaches told me I might need to extend my range. For some reason, I don’t know why I didn’t have confidence in (the three-pointer). I mean, I had confidence. I shot 3s before, I just didn’t really shoot them in the game. In practice, I would shoot them. But now they told me to extend my range so now I’m shooting with confidence. I had a mindset to get bigger, stronger, quicker and faster and just to maybe come out of my shell. These past few years have been hard. My first year was cool, but my second year I kind of struggled with some things that got me put on the bench. I’m just ready to just play and break out of all of that. That’s what my mindset was this summer, to come back focused and be ready to go.”
(I heard you extended your range and I’ve seen you make some threes in open gym. But here’s a stat for you, you hadn’t attempted a three-pointer in the 70 games you’ve played at UW.) “I don’t know if it’s a bad thing to say, but it was kind of purposely to do that. It was meant for me not to do that. I felt like if I wasn’t going to shoot them at all, why take one unless I had to. But when I got here my freshman year, they knew – people like Matt (Matthew Bryan-Amaning) and Justin and people that knew me – knew I could shoot long range.”
(Can someone make themselves into a three-point shooter in one summer?) “Nah. It takes a lot of work. Like I said, during the season and the offseason (last year) I worked on my mid-range (shot). I’d shoot an X amount of mid-range (shots) then I’d step out to the three and shoot those. It was just I wasn’t going to shoot them in the season because I felt like if I wasn’t going to shoot them, I might as well not shoot them at all and stick to the mid-range (shhot).”
(So how confident are you with the three-pointer?) “I’m real confident with my 3-ball. I’ll just say that I’m confident in my shot. Before the West Virginia game, I told coach (Lorenzo) Romar to change my shot. In high school, I shot the way I’m shooting now. When I was shooting threes, I was shooting like that. I told Romar I wanted to change my shot so now my release and my form is more in front of my face and over my head. So it’s a quicker shot and it’s more effective and I’ve grown accustomed to it.”
(Is it a shot you’ll take in games?) “Most definitely. I see that. If that’s what the coaches want me to do, that’s what I’ll do.”
(I’m asking so much about your three-point shot because there were times last season when you said you wanted to improve as a rebounder, but if you’re shooting 3s that would take you away from the basket.) “Yeah that’s true. But at the same time since I’ve been back and all summer when I was working out with Justin and Jrue, I’ve been doing both. I have to be a triple threat. I’m a versatile big man. You can’t just stick me in the post because that’s not my strongest suit. And you can’t just stick me on the outside. I can do both. I can face you up. I can play with my back to the basket. My rebounding is something to improve and I feel like I will improve it. But I can go both ways. A slower big man, I can take him to the basket or I can shoot over them. Or (against) someone smaller than me, I can just post them.”
(You said you gained weight?) “Yeah I did.”
(How much?) “I’m around still 220, but I feel like I’m the strongest than I’ve ever been. With the workouts we were doing and the way we were doing them, it helps my strength, it helps my conditioning, it helps my recovery time. Doing sets for X amount of time and with little time off, it helps your recovery. The drills we did with Mo really helped because we ran for such a long period of time then rest a short amount of time.”
(What do you think about this season?) “A mature team. A team with expectations to win. Not just expectations on the season, but every time we go out there we’re playing to win and expect to win. That’s just how we work. Our work ethic makes us expect to win. It’s not like we know we’re a talented team and we expect to win just because of our talent, it’s because of the way we work, the way we practice and the way we get after it.”
(I’ve asked everyone this question, who has surprised you the most?) “I’d say (Abdul) Gaddy, C.J. (Wilcox) and Terrence (Ross).”
(Why Gaddy?) “Abdul because he’s been more confident now. He’s looking to score more. His shot is a lot better. I worked on his shot with him. It would be times where it was me, C.J and Gaddy. If it wasn’t me and Justin shooting, it would be me, C.J. and Gaddy and we’re getting shots up. And we’re telling each other to get it up or keep it straighter or get more rotation on the ball. When I got back I could tell he got a lot of shots up and he’s looking a lot better.”
(Why C.J.?) “C.J. because all people think of C.J. is he’s a shooter and C.J. is not just a shooter. When I came back, C.J. was curling, pump faking and getting to the basket. He’s not limited to just being a three-point shooter.”
(And Terrence?) “Terrence has really impressed me. In the beginning I thought he would kind of struggle a little bit conditioning wise, but the boy can play. And if you can play, where can he not fit in at?”
(Have folks seen the best of you?) “No.”
(Why not?) “It’s a lot of things behind it. I just feel like I’m confident in myself right now. I’m going to stay focused and this season I’m not going to do anything outrageous. I can’t say you’ll see me do stuff you haven’t seen me do, but it’s not going to be outrageous like pulling up from halfcourt or stupid stuff like that. It’s just I’m going to play more within myself, play with more confidence. I feel like the people that I’ve been with, I’ve been with them so long and they have confidence in me. And they know how I really play so I feel like they’re going to be behind me 100 percent. I just feel like the coaches are behind me now and I just think it’s going to be a new season. And that’s all I’m going to say because I don’t like to talk about it much. This year all I’ve been saying all summer is just be about it and not really speak up on it a lot.”

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox


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