Low honing PG skills in France, eye on WSU

THE FIRST WORDS in the e-mail were, "Wassup man." Without reading any further, you knew the sender was Derrick Low. Low, the colorful Hawaiian guard who played a huge role in reviving Washington State basketball, has taken his upbeat personality and sweet jumper to France.

Derrick Low recently moved to Rouen, a historic city of 110,000 located 1 ½ hours northwest of Paris on the River Seine, after his Australian pro team ran into major financial problems and stopped paying players.

The Sydney Spirit was able to continue operations when some players agreed to major pay cuts, but Low said he couldn't afford to risk injury at the reduced salary.

As luck would have it -- for Low, anyway -- Rouen had just lost starting point guard Kevin Houston to a season-ending knee injury. Low said he figures to make more money in France than Australia, and he's scored 31 points in his first two games as Rouen's new starting point guard.

Low discussed his first season of pro ball and his NBA ambitions in a question-and-answer session via e-mail.

CF.C: You're playing in France's top pro league; how does it compare to the Pacific-10 Conference?
Low: The quality is pretty good. A lot of good players in the league. The Pac-10 has a lot of athletes and great players, but when you play at the next level, we are dealing with men. Men who have been around for a few years, so they are developed and strong. Might not be as athletic as some of the guys in the Pac-10, but they are still good.

CF.C: How does the French league compare to the Australian league, where you averaged 19 points per game?
Low: The Australian league was VERY good. Very good players. The same over here in France. I've only played two games, so I haven't got that much of a taste of how it compares.

CF.C: Do you keep up with the Cougars?
Low: I always follow them through the Internet. Always checking to see how they are doing.

CF.C: What do you do in your spare time?
Low: I'm on the Internet a lot, keeping in contact with friends and family. I also have this thing called Slingbox, which enables me to watch cable directly from Hawaii. It's a lifesaver.

CF.C: You split time between point guard and shooting guard at Washington State, but you've acknowledged you can only make it to the NBA as a point guard. What are your chances?
Low: It's going to take a lot of hard work...I'm not sure exactly how long it will take...I believe playing in Australia and France has helped me a lot in the areas I needed to improve, so we will see how it goes in the NBA summer league again.

CF.C: How are you adjusting to France?
Low: I'm getting more and more adjusted to living and playing here. I obviously would love to stay in the states and play. It's always hard to have to go on your own to a foreign place, not knowing anyone or anything or even the language. It's tough, but it's another stepping stone for me to improve by game and work on the things I need to work on that will get me to the NBA.

CF.C: How's your French coming along?
Low: I'm trying to pick up a few words here and there. French is a hard language to learn and understand… sometimes it's hard to even get groceries. I just hope the cashier doesn't ask me any questions when I'm trying to pay, 'cause then I just look at her with a blank look on my face and mumble something.

CF.C: What is Rouen like?
Low: It's a very nice city...some really nice cathedrals, and the place where Joan of Arc was burnt. Pretty cool. (Joan of Arc, a French military heroine, was burned at the stake by the British in 1431 at the age of 19.)

CF.C: How would you describe Rouen's arena?
Low: Tiny! Doesn't hold much more than 11 hundred people, but we get a full house every game...the arena can get pretty loud. The people get into the game and cheer a lot, which is good.

CF.C: Does the team pay for your rent, car and meals?
Low: Yes. I have a nice two-bedroom apartment. Five-minute walk from arena/mall/grocery store. I have a car, but I haven't touched it since I've been here because it's a manual...waiting for them to get me an automatic.

CF.C: What did you think of Australia?
Low: Australia was great. I loved it there. I was sad I had to leave, but it's a business.

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