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Washington picked up a verbal commitment from Gilles Dierickx, who plans to transfer from Florida International.
The 7-foot Belgian center flew to Seattle this week for a recruiting visit and immediately committed to UW, said Todd Wolfson his former coach at West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade.
“He told me coach this is the place for me,” Wolfson said. “He’s been to a couple of places. There were a couple of other Pac-12 schools, but Washington made him feel wanted.”
Wolfson coached Dierickx one year and said the Belgian big man isn’t a prototypical post player who likes to bang beneath the rim. Instead he compares favorably to NBA great Dirk Nowitzki and is more proficient offensively at the high post where he can knock down mid-range jumpers.
Dierickx weighs about 225 and Wolfson said he’ll need to bulk up to make the transition to the Pac-12.
Wolfson confirmed Dierickx will sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Here’s the complete interview with Wolfson.
(How did this happen?) “He called me two days ago and said hey, I got a call from Washington and they’re interested and they want to fly me down. I said great, it’s probably a good opportunity to take advantage of. Good school. Great coach. Great program. HHe flew down there. He said they met him off the plane. The whole staff. And he felt like ever since he got there they really wanted him. That’s the kind of place he was really looking for. He’s been around a couple of places that said they were interested, but they really never showed that dedication, which Washington showed. That’s what sold him.”
(What other schools was he looking at?) “He was looking at a couple of schools on the west coast. He was debating whether to go back to Florida International. That was an option. He was working out with USC for about a week. Just running through some stuff there. I know he had a workout, an open run at UCLA. He’s been at Pepperdine for a little thing there. He went to the University of San Francisco and did a walk through there. Those are the schools that he was interested in and he wanted to stay on on the west coast.”
(Why did he leave FIU?) “He had a really good relationship with (former coach Isiah Thomas). Isiah was a great guy. He treated him well. After games, he’d have him over and things like that. He would constantly help him put the work in and he really took a liking to Gilles. He told me with all the NBA background Isiah had that Gilles could be a NBA guy based on his skill set. He’s not a back-to-the-basket guy. He’s a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki with how he plays. Face-up jump shots and one-dribble pull-ups. He definitely can post up, but he’s more of a Dirk Nowitzki kind of a style. So he had that good relationship with Isiah and when Isaiah left and they hired (Richard) Pittino, he was kind of distraught about that and he figured he would want to go somewhere else.”
(When did he come over from Belgium?) “He came here when he was a sophomore in high school. More towards the latter end of his sophomore year. His parents had a friend and they lived literally across the street from our school. So he moved there and tried to find a school that was going to fit him. His eleventh grade year, since he was an international guy, he had to sit out for a year. So he missed 30 games of our season. He ended up playing the last 4-5 games for us. Then he played the whole senior year. … We pretty much had him for 2-2 1/2 years, but in terms of game play it was just one year. The summer is not regulated by our commission so he could play in the summer with our varsity guys and practice. But official game stuff that was really just his senior year.”
(What type of player was he at FIU?) “He was a little bit of a role player. He started 15 games as a freshman. They ran a lot of stuff where he would catch the ball at the top of the key. He made passing decisions and stuff like that. As a freshman that’s a tough transition. He did OK over there.
(Being in LA, you know all about the Pac-12. How do you think he’ll handle the transition?) “I think he’ll do well. I really do. I think Lorenzo has proven in the past that he can work with big guys. His system is going to help Gilles with his maturity. Having that redshirt year, they’re going to work with him. He’s definitely going to need that. He’s going to learn a lot and become a guy that can hopefully can contribute the following year for the Huskies.”
(So he’ll sit out this season because of the NCAA transfer rule?) “Correct. He’ll have to redshirt a year, which I think to be honest with you is going to be great. He could come in and contribute here and there, but I think he needs to add a little bit of muscle and work on some stuff and add some stuff to his game to make him more efficient.”
(So he’ll have three years left right?) “Yes. Three years, which will be great. He’ll mature a little bit both physically and mentally. It think it’s a great, great signing by the Huskies. You can’t teach 7 feet.”
(But he’s not a post player.) “He can do it, but it’s just not his game. Like I was telling coach, if you’re looking for a guy to sit in the post and work block to block, that’s not his game. He’s got good moves when he gets the ball, but he’s more of a catch it and and face up. More of a typical European and the way the play basketball. Phenomenal passer. Great decision maker. Nice little 10-15 footer. He can shoot the three very well. He shot 87 percent for us at the free throw line. He can just really flat out shoot it, which is tough to match up with. He’s a 7-footer who can extend your offense and the way Lorenzo likes to get up and down the floor, I think it’s a benefit for Gilles.”
(How is his defense?) “OK. He definitely needs some work. That’s probably the area they’ll have to work with him on. He’s a pretty good shot blocker. But physicality wise he’ll have to guard some of those big bodies. So that redshirt year they’ll have to bulk him up a little bit. I want to say he’s 225 right now so hopefully get to 240 and 250 or somewhere in there and have a better base to guard some of these bigger guys in the Pac-12.”