Thursday, March 20, 2008

Julian Diaz- Priorities are in Order

Julian Diaz, a 6'3 guard for the Notre Dame (NJ) Irish, will be heading to Villanova next year, but not to play basketball. Diaz, a senior, will be attending Villanova on a baseball scholarship. Nonetheless, he is a certainly a quality basketball player. Julian was Notre Dame's MVP in their win over St. Joseph's (NJ) at the Prime Time Shootout. I spoke with Julian after the victory.

NB: That was a big win for [your school]. How were you able to pull through in the end? After that three it looked like St. Joe’s was maybe starting to pull [off] a comeback. You guys played some nice D down there, what went into that to maintain the lead and come away with the victory?
JD: It was all about keeping our composure at the end. Towards the end . . . we had a six point lead and they hit that three. They were making a run, and [to stop] any run, you just got to keep your head, you got to play smart, and play through it, and stay focused.

NB: Probably a lot of people coming to this game might not have thought you guys had a shot. St. Joe’s had a good team. How’d you guys feed off that? . . . Being the underdog, is that a mentality that really helped you guys to win in this atmosphere?
JD: We played them twice already in the preseason, and they beat us twice, and then coming into this match-up, we didn’t want to lose [for] the third time to them, and knowing [that we are] the underdog, it just fires us up even more because we want to come in here and upset a better team.

NB: What was it like getting that Most Outstanding Player award here at the Prime Time Shootout? How [did] that feel when they called your name?
JD: It was nice, I enjoyed it a lot, but nothing . . . goes before getting a win as a team.

NB: [It was announced] when they were giving you that award that you [are going to] Villanova. What went into that decision? What were some of the other schools that were looking at you [for basketball]?
JD: Other schools . . . for basketball, it was smaller DIII schools. So, I was really looking to better my future and an education at Villanova is better than four years of basketball at . . . a smaller school. So, I was thinking [about] after college what I’m going to do, and taking the degree from Villanova seemed like the better option.

NB: Do you want to try to play ball there, . . . maybe try to see if you can get on the team, or you’re not really worried about it?
JD: I’m thinking about it still, I don’t know yet, I’m undecided. I would love to play under [Head Coach] Jay Wright for Villanova, but it’s going to be tough to balance two sports with schoolwork, so I just got to see what’s in my best interests.

I contacted Julian today, and he informed me that he is still unsure of whether or not he will attempt to walk-on to the Wildcats' basketball team. Diaz is evidently a reaslist, knowing that he must get a good education, in case athletics don't work out. This is an attribute that fading amongst high school athletes, many of whom just base what they do on how they can get to the pros. It's refreshing to see a student-athlete like Julian Diaz who has his priotities in order, and knows what he must do to be a success in not just athletics, but life as a whole.

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