Interview: Darnell Gant – Part 2


by: Griffin Bennett

If you missed part one of the interview you can catch it here.

I must thank Darnell Gant for doing the interview with me before I start. He is one of the most eloquent and intelligent people, let alone athlete, that I have ever had the pleasure to talk to. The guy is going places in life. If he was a stock, I would be buying. He’s the kind of guy you want on in your program for five years.

Enough of me. On to part two.

Montlake Madness: Who do you think are going to be your toughest match ups this year in the PAC-12?

Darnell Gant: UCLA will be a tough match up. They have a good squad coming in. Stanford might be a tough little one because they had some freshmen last year that were pretty decent and I feel like they are going to come back and be pretty good. I think Josh Owens is a senior now.

MM: Who do you think will be the leading scorer, rebounder and passer this year?

DG:  I couldn’t tell. It’s very competitive right now.

MM: When you head to New York in December, what are you looking forward to the most?

DG: Just enjoying that time. My first year we went to MSG but I was redshirting at the time and didn’t play. I really wanted to get out there because it was Madison Square Garden and now I have the opportunity and we play it twice. I’m just going to go out there and enjoy my time in New York and when these games come I’m just going to be motivated to go hard. National spotlight, all eyes on us.

MM: Are you looking forward to anything in N.Y.C. other than basketball?

DG: Not really. I’m not too big of a New York fan. I’m an L.A. guy. I don’t really care too much for New York City.

MM: If you had to rate your top three moments as a Husky so far, what would they be?

DG: Oh man, I don’t know. Let me see. I’d say the Pac-10 championship, the first one [2008-09] my freshman year. Going to the Sweet Sixteen and then last year’s Pac-10 tournament. The whole thing.

MM: Birdman. How did you get that nickname?

DG: In high school, when I used to dunk, I would throw the little [hand] sign up and I used to get crazy dunks. My teammates were throwing me lobs and I’d throw down some nasty stuff. It would be like I was flying so my homie started calling me the Birdman. In my high school into, mine was different than everyone else’s and they would play a Birdman song. I just stuck from there.

MM: You graduated last spring. What’s your major?

DG: I was a drama major and graduated last spring.

MM: How and when did you get into music? Has it always been a passion?

DG: I’ve been into it ever since I was younger. My family is heavily into music. Some of the sing, and play instruments. They all would do it in church. I started to play the drums early and around 10 I started to pick up the piano and then around 15-16 I started to play the organ. I just kept progressing and by the time I got to college I had some time on my hands and I started writing songs. After that I started composing songs and getting into the studio and writing raps and songs for other people. It’s just been something I’ve done but it’s my second love. Basketball is my first love.

MM: Do you have anywhere that fans can listen to your music?

DG: I need to work on getting a website. I don’t have anywhere with everything on it. If fans want, they can send me their email [@B1rdman44] and I will send them a couple tracks.

MM: When you look back at your Husky career at the end of the season, what will you be the most proud of?

DG: The effort that I’ve put into being a senior and a leader. I’ve been through a lot of ups and down over the last four years and I feel like with help from my teammates and coaches that I’ve come a long way. I hope this is my best season.

MM: How have you seen the UW program change during your 4+ years here?

DG: When I came in there were a few guys who liked to work hard but not everybody and it showed. My first year [’07-’08] they didn’t buy into the concept and they were losing. Then the next year we had more of a niche of guys that wanted to get after it, go hard, and couldn’t stand the sight of losing along with the good guys from the year before and bad ones were out of the picture. After that, we started to create a certain way of doing everything and it’s continued for the last three year.

MM: If you couldn’t play basketball for the rest of your life, what do you think you would be doing?

DG: I think I would take my music writing more serious. I would write and compose more songs.

MM: Six years ago coach Romar was in your living room telling you to come to Washington. What was that like and what did he say?

DG: I don’t want to talk too much about what he said, but that whole process is crazy. It was all new to me. I came on the AAU scene after 10th grade when I was on my way up. When [coaches] were able to come to the house and school, things got real crazy. I wasn’t used to it and I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know the maginitude of the situation. I look back on it and I say ‘wow’, to think about where I am now is just crazy.

MM: Any fun stories about being recruited?

DG: When we had tryouts at Crenshaw, Tubby Smith came in from the back area of the gym and I knew who he was but I didn’t know what Tubby Smith really meant. One of my friends at the time was like “Dog, you know who that is?” I was like “Yeah, that’s Tubby Smith” and he said “Naw, that’s Tubby ‘Effing’ Smith, dude!”. Tears were coming to his eyes. Like I said, I didn’t know his history and what he was about until later on a recruiting visit. But that’s one of the funniest times; when my friend was crying over a guy. Weird.

MM: If you could change one thing about the process, what would it be?

DG: I don’t know, it’s been so long ago. Stop calling my phone! It was mainly reporters. Tell those reporters to stop calling so much.

MM: What are your thoughts on being a student athlete? Do you think that you guys get enough in return for the amount of revenue that you generate for the school?

DG: Give us something! This is just my opinion, but I feel like student athletes deserve at least a little more. I’m not saying give us goo-gobs of money but at least something. People look in and see that we get free gear and shoes and stuff but there are a lot of nights when you’re going hungry. There are a lot of times when you’re trying to find something to eat. For all of the work we put in in school and on the court we deserve at least a little bit more on the scholarship check. That’s just how I feel.

MM: Thanks for your time, Darnell.

DG: For sure, any time.

Bow Down.