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It seems difficult a 7-footer would go unnoticed, but Gilles Dierickx was practically an invisible man on Montlake before last Sunday’s surprising performance in Washington’s 95-65 exhibition win over Central Washington.
The redshirt sophomore center was the second player off the bench. He entered the game with 16:35 left and replaced Perris Blackwell.
Dierickx made an immediate impact. Within three minutes, he drew a foul, made both free throws, blocked a shot and recorded an assist after making a nice pass from the high post to Mike Anderson for a layup.
Dierickx finished with four points, four rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 20 minutes. That’s an impressive debut for the transfer from Florida International.
Many UW fans believed he was a project who probably wouldn’t make a meaningful contribution this season while coach Lorenzo Romar had always described Dierickx as “a serviceable big man.”
Because Desmond Simmons (knee) is out until mid-December and Shawn Kemp Jr. has been slowed by an illness, Dierickx is making the most of an early, unexpected opportunity to establish himself in the rotation.
“My role is to do the things that a big guy does well,” Dierickx said in the video (above). “The main thing is going to be rebounding, which I think I need to do better on Sunday. Bring toughness. Be a defensive presence and whenever I get the ball I got to be a threat to score.”