Travis Diener - Getting Ready for Draft

Growing up in Fond du Lac and college in Milwaukee, Travis Diener has always lived in Wisconsin, but the Marquette grad's future is now in the hands of the NBA draft. Auditioning for teams like Milwaukee, New York, New Jersey, LA (Lakers & Clippers), Golden State, Orlando, Boston, Sacramento, Portland, Utah and Toronto, he'll soon learn where he'll call home. While waiting with anticipation, he spoke with about his future.

DOS: Travis, tell us how the hand is.

Diener: Well, the hand is great.

DOS: During the Final Four week, you participated at the shootout on ESPN. Tell us about that.

Diener: That was very enjoyable for me, just to get back and shoot for the first time in like six weeks, and I thought I did okay. I obviously would like to have won, but I was happy for my cousin (Drake, DePaul). He shot well, and I said that he was a favorite going in, so he backed it up. He shot well but, all in all, the experience was a lot of fun for me.

DOS: It was tough for you. I mean you were out for about four weeks with the injury before that. Were you tired?

Diener: Oh, yeah, that's what hurt the most. I had to shoot and then I had to go right back up and I got tired. I wasn't in very good shape because I hadn't worked out, but I thought I did alright.

DOS: You made the first round, which is good. Your dad got some good face time.

Diener: Yeah, my family got a lot of face time. They really pumped that up but, whatever, it was good.

DOS: What was your schedule like for the spring practice before the draft?

Diener: Well, I was here most of the time working out with coach, lifting, graduating in May and then going to work for his teams and then going to Chicago for camp. Hopefully, on draft night, it will be a special night for myself and my family.

DOS: Where are you going to be?

Diener: I haven't thought about it. I don't know. All I know is that I'll be with my family and friends somewhere either in Fond du Lac or in Milwaukee, I don't know yet.

DOS: Tell us about the process. I know agents started calling you and started stopping at the house talking to parents, obviously, they can't talk to you until your eligibility is up. Tell us how that's been going.

Diener: Well, it's been going good. We've been in contact with a few of them trying to make a decision, but it was like recruiting, it's like getting recruited by a university. I was never a big fan of that because I don't like to sit there and just listen to people tell you all these things, so I just try to make a smart decision with whomever I am going to feel comfortable with -- the person I sign with.

DOS: Any feelers from any teams? I know the scouts I have talked to really like you. You can make other people better. You see the court. Have scouts told you that?

Diener: Yeah, I have heard a lot of positive things. Sometimes I need to work on things. There are obvious things I need to get better at, but just trying to soak in everything and trying to get better at the things I need to get better at to make it at that next level and to be a player. I'm going to do whatever I can to make it and if I don't make it, then it's going to be on me that I didn't make it.

DOS: When you look back at your career, what are the two or three things you remember, your fondest memories?

Diener: There are so many. The Final Four run obviously. That whole season was special because our team was so close and so together. Even this year for our first 15 to 20 games, we were playing extremely well and then some things happened. When we got healthy again, it started to turn around towards the end of the year, but you know some unfortunate things happened again, but I have no regrets. Every person I have met here has been very supportive. They've been great. It's been four years and a lot of fun. Coach has made me I think the best player that I could have become. And I credit him with a lot of the success that I have had.

DOS: The first time I saw you I met your dad at a 2001 AAU tournament at Wisconsin Lutheran College, I think you were playing Friends of Hoop. I think you were playing Joah Tucker's team and you were really feeling it that day. I think you won about 82–45. I don't know if you remember the game but you hit five or six 3-point shots (from 24 to 26 feet) in a row in transition, and then the first half of the Wisconsin game this year reminded me of that game. Was that probably the one game where you felt it the most?

Diener: When I came out that first 2-1/2 minutes, my shot was feeling real well, and I know I had some stretches where you just feel it in the zone and you feel like any shot you go up I think Wisconsin, at the start of the Nebraska game, Air Force in the second half, and that's a great feeling to have, just give me the ball and go at it. When you have no fear, it's great for the fans, it's great for the team. You just try to do whatever you can to help the team win. Steve (Novak) can tell you when that happens as well. It's a great feeling and hopefully there are going to be many more of those nights.

DOS: I was clearing up my video library and I found a tape from 2003 and there was a tournament special on ESPN that I had missed. They asked after two games of the 2003 tournament, who was the MVP? The player? There is this point guard at Marquette, Travis Diener, who scored 55 points in the first two games. He is the MVP so far. Put that in perspective, how well you played against Holy Cross and then Missouri.

Diener: Well, it was just one of those things where my role on that team was not to go and score 20 points, it was more to get Dwyane going, get Robert going, and Scott and Todd. That was my role as a point guard, but in those two games, especially the Holy Cross game, Dwyane kind of struggled in the first half and I felt, here's another one of those games where my shot felt real well in both of those games, and I just felt it was necessary that if we were going to win I was going to have score more points than I averaged. For the first two games that happened, and then the last three games of that tournament I didn't score much, so I was just trying to do whatever it took to help this team win. Whether it be scoring, how many points? 55 in two games, whatever it took scoring, or having a number of assists. That's what I think. I hope people remember me as doing whatever it took to help this program win.

DOS: Whether you are playing at AAU or at Wisconsin Lutheran College, or the Final Four, or you are down in St. Louis shooting for ESPN, there is always one constant appearance and family in the stands. Tell us about what that's meant to you over the last four or five years.

Diener: I think I might be one of the luckiest kids alive because I have two parents who support me as much as they do, like you said, at any game they're at – my sisters and even my immediate family with my cousins and my aunts and uncles, it's just been unbelievable and I wish every kid could go through that, have people, you know certain things happen, unfortunate events take place in a lot of people's lives, but I have been very fortunate to have two parents who are as caring and as supportive and beyond. I wouldn't be even close to being in this situation without them, and that's going to continue wherever I go, with whatever happens, so without them, I wouldn't be standing here right now.

DOS: You are the first person I ever met or have known, where Sports Illustrated had to add a chart to a picture of your family to fully identify/explain the relationships. It has got to be the most confusing thing. Now, Drake is your brother, cousin, uncle?

Diener: Well, you don't know how many times I have had people come up and say, hey, he's my brother, hey, it was good you beat your brother, and I just play along with it now. I don't even want to explain it anymore. He's my cousin. My dad is not the guy who coached me in high school, so I know it's confusing and I'm glad they put that chart in there, maybe it cleared a lot of things up.

DOS: Congratulations, you had a great career and a lot of fun memories. Good luck to you in the NBA.

Diener: Thank you very much.

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