Darnell Gant had a feeling what would happen Sunday. He wasn’t surprised Washington was denied a chance at playing in the Big Dance and relegated to the NIT.
The Washington senior might have taken the snub tougher than anyone else considering he missed out on a chance of being the first player in school history play in four straight NCAA tournaments.
Here’s a full transcript of his interview.
(Where you surprised about what happened Sunday?) “I expected it and I’m sure everybody else did. It wasn’t like we thought we were in and we didn’t call so everybody started crying. I feel like everybody expected it. We knew the NIT was in our future.”
(What was it like to watch the show and now see your name called?) “It sucks. You just try to hold your emotions as best you can and try not to let them all out. You got a lot of things going on. You’re upset. You’re mad. You’re sad. There’s a lot of emotions, but you got to hold it together. We had to just wait until the NIT show. We’re the No. 1 seed now so we have to handle our business.”
(What game haunts you the most from this season?) “That Oregon State game. Then losing to Marquette by one and Duke by 3. I feel like if we would have handled our business those games even though they were the toughest games, if we would have handled those games we would have definitely got in.”
(Have you been able to turn the page?) “I’ve turned the page. I turned the page by the time we watched the NIT show.”
(How do you help get the rest of the team to turn the page?) “I feel like we have for the most part. I don’t know what everybody is thinking, but the ones that I’ve talked to we’re thinking we have to win this. We might as well.”
(Have you said anything to Tony Wroten after Thursday’s tough loss?) “I said a couple of words to him. After it seems like he’s got refocused and he was fine after that. There’s not too much you have to say to him. Great players have short-term memories. I feel like it’s forgotten about. And he’s ready to move on.”
(Will you watch the NCAA tournament?) “I don’t want to watch it. I didn’t watch it when we lost (in past years). Like after we lost a game I didn’t watch the rest of it because I’d rather be there then watch it on TV. I’ll just do something else. I’ll go workout.”
(How disappointing was the first half against Oregon State and what do you attribute the slow start to?) “Just being lax. You always want to start out playing your best. You don’t want to start out flat. Starting out flat has gotten us into a lot of trouble this year and it showed in that game the most. We came back and then we let up in second half. If you don’t start flat, then we probably won’t have the problem late in the game to where we were struggling like that. If we get out to a comfortable lead, then we have more margin for error. Starting out flat like and then not playing the way we’re supposed to the last four minutes, it doesn’t help.”
(Did the team take a step back defensively?) “Yes. It’s harder because the guys that are playing the bulk of the minutes, it’s harder for them to play defense like Romar wants us to and then be productive on the offensive end. But we’re just going to have to find a way now. We’re not as deep as we used to be so it’s harder for them. But we’re just going to have to find a way and get it done.”