Diante Garrett ended his Iowa State career as the leader in games played (128) and 16th all-time in career scoring (1,364). Since then, Garrett has spent some time in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns (2012-13) and Utah Jazz (2013-14).
Garrett is now with the Iowa Energy in Des Moines, working to get another call to the top echelon. Monday he was at Hilton Coliseum and talked with a handful of reporters before the game.
What options did you have when you picked the Iowa Energy?
I had a couple options to go overseas and some other teams that were in the D-League, but I felt this was one of the best opportunities where I knew I would be able to play, be at home, really, [and] have a nice fan base.
How is it going for you so far with the Energy?
It’s going really good. We’re 2-0, so that’s always a good start to our season. It’s been a really fun learning experience and I’m just going to keep pushing to get some more wins.
Obviously you want to be in the NBA, but is it kind of nice being just down the road from Ames?
Oh, yeah. I know it’s a loving fan base here whenever I come back to Iowa and just getting a chance to play basketball, to even get that shot to get called back up is good. So I’m just going to keep working to get that call back up.
What do you have to do to get that call up?
Just win. Really run my squad, win and showing I’m a playmaker and scorer, get guys involved and just do everything, really, as being a point guard out there. I’m definitely going to keep working to get back up there and get that call-up. That’s for anybody, really. I’m one of those guys that’s going to keep working to get that call-up again.
How often do you make it up to Ames?
This is my second time being back in Ames. I went to the practice last Monday, we had the day off. I went up there and checked those guys out, and I got a chance to come here and we had the night off, so I was like, I’ve got to go check the game out before I get some more games going on an can’t get out here.
You’re expecting some big things out of them this year?
I know Coach Fred is going to have them going. I know a couple of the guys from last year and their recruit years when I was here my senior year. I know Fred is going to have them shooting the 3 really good, getting those guys in that kind of a swagger offense and let guys play with freedom. They’ve got a good group of guys over here that can do that.
Is this the best team that you’ve seen as an outsider under Hoiberg?
It’s one of them. Out of all the seasons he’s had, he’s had different types of lineups. He had Royce [White], Chris Allen, Chris Babb, me, Korie [Lucious], Willy [Clyburn]. Now they’ve got some young guys coming in here ready to take on that role and I think they’re going to do really good.
Is it wild to look back at that first season, and you guys had a lot of close losses, to feel like you had a part in building what’s going on now?
[Fred] came in and he gave me confidence right away. He told me the ball was going to be in my hands and as a senior coming in being through the ups and downs and stuff like that and having a coach come in and tell you that you’re going to be doing a lot for the team, it built my confidence all the way out of the roof. Having the chance to be the first guy to do that, it feels good.
Is it rewarding to see what you helped set in motion is starting to pay dividends?
I think so, because a lot of guys that I know on the team that I talk to, they look up to me watching my highlights and stuff like that. I remember a lot of my highlights playing with Coach Fred, and that’s when I was playing with freedom and playing my real game and stuff like that.
Has Fred changed as a coach from what you remember?
He still has that same, calm, smooth demeanor. He yells here and there, but it’s not really like a yell, it’s more to get guys going and stuff like that. Watching the practice, he had that same mentality of having his guys going and hoop and shoot that 3.