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July 19, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Gilles Dierickx on UW: “I’ll fit in fine”

Purging my audio files and ran across an interview with Washington newcomer Gilles Dierickx on the day last month when he announced plans to transfer from Florida International.
The 7-foot freshman from Belgium talked about why he chose the Huskies and why he left FIU. He admitted he needs to get adjusted to the physical style of play in major Division I basketball and wants to gain about 20 pounds while he sits out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Dierickx has an affinity for Los Angeles where he played in high school and has close friends. He wanted to transfer to a school in California, but said UW was too good to pass up.
He also likened himself to former UW standout Spencer Hawes.
Here’s the interview.


(So how did all of this happen?) “It happened kind of sudden. It was Tuesday that I got a call from my old assistant coach and he told me that the University of Washington was interested and they wanted me to come up for a visit. Then Coach Chill (Raphael Chillious) from the University of Washington called me and we set up the visit for Wednesday morning. I flew out here and just from the start until after we were working out I just had a really great feeling about it. And that’s when I gave my commitment because I thought it was a really great place for me.”
(What was it about Washington that you liked?) “I really liked the coaching staff and the approach they had to basketball and academics. They’re really high on both. They emphasize that academics is very important, but then for basketball it’s the same thing. They want the player that they’re recruiting to give it their all every day they work out or in the classroom. They want to achieve the best.”
(How do you think you’ll fit in?) “I think I’ll fit in fine. This redshirt year will be important for me to develop physically and get used to this style of play because obviously it’s a different level then what I played at. But from the clips I saw, I definitely fit into this program and Coach (Lorenzo) Romar is the type of guy who is going to use you for what you’re good for. He’s not going to try to turn you into something that you’re not. It looks like a good fit for me.”
(Did you have a chance to play with the guys on the team?) “Just a little bit. We only worked out with a couple of guys because a lot of guys on the team they weren’t around right now. We played 2-on-2 and worked out a little bit. I liked playing with them. They’re great guys and they’re really motivated.”
(What other schools were you considering?) “I took a visit to San Francisco and USC since I’ve been back on the West Coast. Mainly those two, but I also contacted LMU and Pepperdine and Cal-State Fullerton.”
(Why did you leave FIU?) “The main thing was the whole coaching staff was fired including Isiah Thomas, which was the big reason why I went there. Then on the other hand I also wanted to be a lot closer to the West Coast or even possible in California. But this opportunity opened up and still being close to where I used to live, it was such a great opportunity that I had to take.”
(For people who haven’t seen you play, how would you describe your style?) “Probably similar to Spencer Hawes. I say similar because obviously he’s a really great player and I’ll have to keep working hard to make things happen.”
(Have you had a chance to meet or talk to him?) “Yeah actually today he was over here talking to kids for a camp and I got to meet him shortly. He seemed like a good guy.”
(I would imagine having him around the program would be a selling point for you?) “Yeah definitely. They have a lot of great players and they still come back here to the university to play. It’s just really exciting to know I get to play with them too and just learn a lot from them as well.”
(What’s the next step for you? Are you returning to Belgium, Los Angeles or Florida?) “The next step is I’ll be flying back to LA tomorrow morning and then I’ll report to the university around mid-September and start working out with the team. I think school will start around then. So I’ll be in LA. Hopefully I can meet with my family again and have them come up to see the university as well.”
(So you want have a chance to travel with the team to Europe?) “I’m not 100 percent sure yet. I’m going to try to figure that out. That would be cool, but I don’t really know yet.”
(I had a chance to talk to your former high school coach and he said you need to gain some weight. What do you want to do during your redshirt season?) “I’m about 217 pounds now. I think by the time I get here, I’d like to weigh about 225. And then hopefully by next year when practices start I’d like to be around 235-240 because it’s a different level of competition and you have to be ready physically. I’ll see how much my body can take with the weight because I don’t want to slow down too much or become less athletic.”
(How popular is basketball in Belgium? How did you learn the game and at what age?) “Basketball is pretty popular in Belgium, but soccer is definitely the most popular sport by just about everybody in Europe. I want to say I began playing probably when I was around nine years old. My dad always played. I played different sports, but I kept growing a lot and just started playing and never stopped.”
(Last question and probably the most important question. How do you pronounce your last name?) “[Laughter] It’s kind of tough.”
(What does it rhyme with?) “I don’t know. That’s a tough question. I don’t know what it really rhymes with. I guess you can say it’s like a deer and then ‘deeks’ at the end. Good luck.”
(I’ve been butchering your last name and I need to get it right.) “No worries.”

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