The Hurricane sits down with basketball star Guillermo Diaz

The Hurricane: Growing up in Puerto Rico, was basketball always your sport?

Guillermo Diaz: Basketball was the first sport that I played. It wasn’t until I was 12 that I started playing volleyball.

TH: When did you start playing basketball?

GD: I started playing basketball when I was six.

TH: Was or is there anyone you looked up to as a role model? Or are there certain aspects of someone that you like and say, “hey, that’s pretty good. I want to be more like that.”

GD: I always followed my brother. My brother was the one who taught me how to play basketball. He was the one always telling me what to do and advising me on what I should do. I always looked up to him as my role model.

TH: You probably have family back in Puerto Rico. How many chances do they get to see you?

GD: Sometimes when they come up here they get to see probably one or two games, but not that much. I try to let them know what’s going on, but they don’t see me that much.

TH: What do they think about your game? Are they proud of you?

GD: [Smiling] Yeah. They’re happy all the time when I give them good news.

TH: This is a new era of Miami basketball with the addition of Head Coach Frank Haith and a new conference. And for the first time in a few years, you guys are contenders for the NCAA Tournament. How do you feel now compared to your freshman year?

GD: Now it’s easier because of all the things I have been through. Plus, Coach gives me a lot of confidence. And being a junior, I see things different. I see things easier. Also we have more depth on the team and with that comes more expectations. We have more new players that can step up, so I try and go out there to help them out to give them that confidence so we can be in the NCAA Tournament. That’s my goal.

TH: Do you think you have elevated your game to the point where you’re going to call for the ball with the game on the line and get the job done?

GD: Yeah. I’m always ready for that; that’s how I am. I always like the ball at the end, and I’m confident. So I know I’m going to do something good with it.

TH: Who’s the player in the ACC that gives you the most trouble going up against?

GD: [Smirking] Eh…

TH: …So there’s no one. No one can stop you?

GD: You know they do a very good job; I’m not going to lie. They do a good job double teaming me and putting pressure on me. Like Duke. Duke did a good job at that. I would say they were the best at that.

Richard Lavi