Saturday, February 09, 2002

Five questions with Dan Dickau Gonzaga star

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gonzaga is no longer a Cinderella story. The Spokane, Wash., school reached the Sweet 16 the past three seasons, a feat matched only by Duke and Michigan State, and this week cracked the Top 10 for the first time ever, ranking ninth.

        “It's a good midseason accomplishment and we can build on it,” senior guard Dan Dickau said. “It's good in the long run because our name is out there during the season instead of just in March.”

        Dickau, a senior point guard averaging 19.9 points and 4.9 assists, is on the Wooden Award's list of 30 midseason All-American candidates. The Vancouver, Wash., native took time this week to answer five questions from the Enquirer's Neil Schmidt:

        Q. Which nickname do you prefer, the official one (Bulldogs) or the unofficial one (Zags), and why?

        A. Zags. There are a lot of different Bulldogs across the country. Zags relates more to the program. We call each other Zags.

        Q. What's your explanation of how Gonzaga has become such a perennial power?

        A. It's a combintation of things. It's obviously the players who are recruited here, but it's a certain kind of player who wants to improve, get better and put team first. And the kind of player who is committed to winning.

        Plus, a lot of it also has to do with the coaches. We have the kind of coaches you want to be around and who want to be around us. The coaches help create winners. I think the small-school setting is also a factor because we are always around each other and that helps build good team chemistry.

        Q. When you began your collegiate career at Washington, you picked uniform No. 12 because, as you said, "The greatest point guard ever, John Stockton, wears the same number." Now you're the point guard where he played in college. Talk about that karma.

        A. John Stockton was one of my favorite players growing up. I saw a lot of similarities in us. Hey, we're both short white guys!

        I have learned a lot of things from him. I see his dedication, his work ethic and his competitiveness, even in the pickup games we play (with Stockton) in the fall. You know he plays basketball for the right reasons, and he has given back to every Gonzaga team since he left because he comes back and plays with the team in the summer and fall in the pickup games.

        Q. For a guy who's spent all of his life in Washington state, talk about the experiences you had this summer in China playing for the World University Games team.

        A. There were definitely cultural differences. Being in a totally different country makes you realize how lucky we are. There are 12 or 13 million people in Beijing. We got to interact with some of them and got to know a little bit about Chinese culture. Like I've said all along, any time you get a chance to represent your country it's a great honor.

        Q. You're a broadcasting major. Do you anticipate doing sports announcing after your playing career?

        A. I hope to play basketball as long as I can. I want to coach or get into broadcasting. Broadcasting is always something that has interested me and would allow me to stay close to basketball. Bill Raffery, Danny Ainge, Kenny Smith and Jimmy Dykes are some of the guys I like to watch and have respect for. And Charles Barkley. He's amazing. He tells it like it is.


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