Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
1/29/2007 08:41:00 AM
Blog Q&A With ... Virginia Tech's Deron Washington
The high-flying Deron Washington has the Hokies atop the ACC standings.
Richard C. Lewis/WireImage
As the latest in a series of Blog Q&As, I chatted with Virginia Tech forward Deron Washington on Friday. Washington's Hokies have been the nation's biggest surprise East of the Mississippi, jumping out to a 16-5 start and sitting in the ACC lead with wins over Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Georgia Tech. The versatile, 6-foot-7 junior is the team's third-leading scorer at 11.1 points per game, second-leading rebounder at 5.0 per game, and the regular subject of high-flying highlight clips.
Luke Winn: How much are you aware of the fact that, after almost every Virginia Tech game, there's a new photo -- or highlight -- out there of Deron Washington dunking? Whatever you're doing, it seems like you've become pretty photogenic.
Deron Washington: I have noticed that. I get calls from people in my family, or friends on Instant Messenger send me messages. My mom is the one who usually sends over the pictures; she e-mails them to me and I usually save them on my computer. LW: Do you have any kind of philosophy on taking the ball to the rim -- some sort of thinking that helps bring about a lot of these plays?
DW: Just go until somebody stops you -- and even then I feel like I can jump over them.
LW: So would you describe that as an aggressive mindset?
DW: Yeah. Basically, I just take it to the rim as strong as I can. It's either going to be a foul or a basket the majority of the time.
LW: Tell me what you know about YouTube. Are you fan of the site?
DW: I get on there quite a bit, to see highlights from pros I like. My favorite player is Sean Marion, so I usually look at his stuff. And then Vince Carter -- his college highlights from Carolina -- or old Shawn Kemp or Dominique Wilkins dunks.
DW: Yes. I've seen about four or five clips up there; it's everywhere right now. I've seen people with pictures of it on their computers, too. I think it's pretty nice. It's still kind of amazing, when I watch it, that I actually jumped over him.
LW: What did you think was going to happen on that play, before you jumped?
DW: I didn't know what to expect. I just took off. I didn't think he'd be able to step in front of me, and then slipped over and got there -- and I went over him.
LW: Was anything said between you guys after that?
LW: Where do you think basketball ranks on the Virginia Tech campus, in terms of things that the general student body cares about right now?
DW: The way everybody is acting lately, it seems like basketball is coming up. It's probably second behind football; everybody is starting to come to watch the games. I hope that we're developing into a football-basketball school.
LW: Last season -- when I'm sure you didn't get as much fan support [with a 14-16 record] -- your team was beset by numerous tragedies on and off the court. To you, what was the low point??
DW: It was all the stuff that happened off the court, with so many of the players' families. It seemed like everybody was down; the majority of people weren't able to enjoy basketball. A.D. Vassallo's [host mother] died of cancer. After what happened with Coleman Collins' dad [he passed away in February from lung cancer], his head wasn't into it. I was down when my situation [with his mom having to evacuate New Orleans due to Katrina] happened. And then when Allen Calloway got sick, that affected the whole team. He was just playing one day, and then the next we found out he had cancer.
LW: Tell me about what your mom had to leave behind in New Orleans.
DW: It was the house that she lived in for at least eight or nine years. It was in the Eighth Ward, about three or four miles from downtown. She called me and told me she was leaving a couple of days before the storm came, and then headed for Texas. I didn't hear from her for three or four days because of the cell phone problems. It was a little stressful.
LW: And have you seen the house again?
DW: Actually, I went back to see it and everything was all fixed up. There was only about three or four feet of water [flooding it], so there was mildew and they had to gut the house out, but they did that pretty quickly.
LW: What's the state of it now?
DW: She still owns it, but she's renting it out to a friend. She's living in Blacksburg now, in an apartment. I love having her around, because I haven't lived at home for about five or six years. I lived with my dad [his parents are divorced] for two years in high school, and then for another two years I went to prep school at National Christian Academy.
LW: Your dad, Lionel Washington, is the defensive backs coach for the Green Bay Packers, and played for 15 years in the NFL. What was it like growing up around professional football?
DW:DW: It made my childhood kind of fun. I'd get to visit my dad during seasons, and meet guys like Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen [when Lionel played for the Raiders from 1987-94]. I met a lot of famous people that I wouldn't have had a chance to meet otherwise.
LW: And were Bo and Marcus the most favorite guys you met?
DW: Well, one guy I really liked when my dad started coaching for the Packers [in 1999] was Aaron Brooks. I'd always play basketball against him in Green Bay. He always won those games; he had a pretty good shot and I had a hard time trying to check him.
LW: How old were you then?
DW: I was like 14 or 15. We'd play during the summers about once a week; either one-on-one or games of H-O-R-S-E.
LW: On the floor, you wear high socks, knee braces, elbow pads, a headband -- about as much gear as anyone in the country. Any specific reason?
DW: The headband is just something I've always worn. And the high socks are something I've always liked. The knee brace and the elbow brace I have to wear -- those are for injuries. But it does look like I'm always stacked up with something. People have told me, 'That's a lot of stuff.'
LW: And the braids you're wearing; what would those look like if you picked them out?
DW: I think it would be a lot similar to Joakim Noah; I'd have to put it in a ponytail. I did it for one game -- only because I couldn’t find somebody to do the braids, though. I'll let Noah keep his style.
DW: I've never heard any music that he listens to. I can't even imagine what it would be. I guess it would be something old; I don't see him listening to too much new stuff.
LW: How old are we talking? Like, Sinatra old, or classic rock old?
DW: Maybe Sinatra, that's what I guess I'd picture.
LW: And what's on your 'pod when you work out?
DW: I listen to a lot of Lil' Wayne. That's what a lot of people listen to when I'm in New Orleans. Everybody in Louisiana kind of loves him.
LW: If you had to give me your prime-time college dunkers -- and couldn't pick anyone on Virginia Tech -- whom would you pick?
DW: I like Reyshawn Terry [of North Carolina]; he's a pretty high flyer. I'm trying to think of some others. Oh -- I like Gist too. James Gist [from Maryland]. Me and him have had a couple of run-ins, dunking on each other. We play in a summer league together [the Kenner League in Washington] and he dunked on me this summer. He can get high up.
LW: Last one. If you could pick anyone in the country to dunk over, who would it be?
DW: There's two people I'd pick. Greg Oden [of Ohio State] and Sean Williams from BC ... if he could still play. Williams is one of the premier shot-blockers in the country; and he's a little bigger than me, so I think that would be bring some recognition.
LW: And why Oden?
DW: I've never dunked on a 7-footer before. It's something I've always wanted to do.
nathan wat is Deron Washington supposed to do he's moving to fast to change direction and if he doesnt go over Greg Palus then he will get an offensive foul. stop hating on deron just cause he showed up greg palus. also i didnt see deron kick greg palus so u serioulsy need to stop hating on deron
Melchionni needed to get kicked in the face. Even Duke students said he was annoying.
Props to Deron for not even worrying about the box and just placing his junk on top of Paulus' head.
And props to VaTech for keeping the ACC competitive this year. What's with a lot of the teams?, just bad. I'm not saying UNC will go the rest of the season undefeated in the ACC, but BC kicked off the only post threat they have. Duke is struggling to get through games. Wake is horrible, however they beat GaTech because GaTech can win away from Atlanta. Clemson started out good but are now leveling out. Its just an bad year.