In our first Q&A with the Diaz twins, we went incredibly in-depth on their background and basketball journey. The Spanish twins hail from the Canary Islands, and have been shining bright within the IMG Academy program all season. This time around, we spoke with the twins about their college commitment and what to expect from them both at the next level.
For the next installment of the Q&A series, Pro Insight’s Alex Brown spoke with Guillermo and Jorge Diaz Graham, some of the newest additions to high major basketball.
Pro Insight: For those who haven’t read our first Q&A together, can you describe your basketball journey thus far? How did you get to where you are today?
Jorge Diaz: We are from Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain. We have played basketball since we were five years old, and a year ago we came to the States to IMG Academy for our post-grad year after playing in Spain. Ever since then, we have been in Florida with Coach Jim Carr, and it has been a great year here.
PI: How would you both describe your basketball experience in the states before going to college — do feel like it’s lived up to your expectations?
Guillermo Diaz: I think it was about what I expected, because I was expecting a lot of hard-working and athletic players along with a faster game. At first, it was tough to get used to the game, and I really felt the extra year we took before going to college in the USA was very useful in getting used to the American game, and we think it was worth it.
PI: What advice would you give to other international prospects thinking about coming to play at the high school/prep school level in the states?
JD: Sometimes it’s hard to leave your country to play basketball, it's tough. But, if you really want to do this and play pro, and if you have the chance to come here, you should do it. It’s worth it, trust me. Or, if it is your dream to get an education while playing basketball, you should do it here. It will be tough at first, but as time goes by, you will feel more comfortable here and it will become much easier.
GD: My advice would be to make sure that wherever you are going that the coach understands where you are coming from and that you don’t have your family with you. Your coach should understand that sometimes you will need a bit of help with that, and the coach needs to be there for you. Coach Carr was there for us, and we got so lucky with our teammates. They were amazing people, and we never felt like we were alone as we always had our guys with us and Coach Carr. That is such an important thing especially when you do not have your family with you.
PI: How do you feel like your game has grown over the past year?
GD: We have become tougher players. I think that the physicality in the U.S. is much higher than in Spain. At first we were kind of soft players, and to play here you have to be tough. I would say that.
JD: I would say the same. The toughness and physicality is so high here, if you aren’t tough you cannot play here. Toughness is not just physical either, it’s mental. There are many trash talkers here in the U.S., and they can get in your head a little, which in Europe is not so common. Apart from our individual skills, toughness is the biggest area of growth.
PI: Well without further adieu — where will you both be attending college?
GD: We are going to Pittsburgh! Together we get to play in the ACC, big time. It is going to be interesting for us!
JD: Yeah, we are really excited about it! The ACC is a big conference, and we will play against big players there, so we are really excited about it.
GD: It was a tough decision though, we went on other visits and all the people we met were great. We are taking the risk of going to the biggest league, where you can find future NBA players on the other side of the court. It is going to be tough, but we are going to make it. I am confident in that.
PI: Congratulations! That is big time.
GD & JD: Thank you!
PI: What was Coach Capel’s reaction when he heard the news?
GD: Coach Capel was so excited. I called him, told him that we had made a decision that we were going there. He started screaming “LET’S GO!!” He told us he couldn’t wait for us to get there and let us know how excited he was. We were the same way, honestly.
JD: I’m not even sure he was expecting it, so it was really great to talk to him and tell him the news. I really like coach Capel, and it is going to be a great year.
GD: The one who was super, super excited was [associate head coach] Tim O’Toole. I had called him right after coach Capel, so he already knew and he was just shouting “LET'S GO!!”
JD: He was super happy.
PI: What type of role does coach Capel have envisioned for you both?
JD: When we first met with the team, they told us that they had a hard year and that they needed shooting. They were looking for great shooters, and they needed skilled forwards that can shoot. That makes us a great fit for them.
PI: When it came down to it — what were the most important factors in choosing this next step?
GD: The factors were the people, first of all. It's all about how you fit and feel with them. Also, of course a big factor was playing at an ACC/high major school.
JD: Everywhere we went, we met great people. The conference was a huge thing — that was the major factor. We wanted to play ACC and were confident about it. Also the campus is great, and Pittsburgh is a great city. It’s a little cold but that’s okay. It has been a tough decision, because many schools met these requirements, but Pitt fit our goals the most.
PI: What can your coaching staff, teammates, and new fans expect from the Diaz twins?
GD: (Both laugh) Two funny guys, and two great teammates.
JD: I think they will enjoy watching and playing with us, we like to share the ball and play the right way, beautiful basketball. We will enjoy it, as well.
PI: What are you hoping to work on between now and getting to campus?
JD: Right now, we are getting ready to start working on our strength, physicality, and body, as the ACC is a tough league.
PI: What are some goals that you want to accomplish during your time at Pitt?
GD: I would say just get better as a player, and as a person, and enjoy my time there. Perhaps we could fortunately win some titles, as well. Overall, get better.
PI: Do you know what subject you both are considering majoring in?
GD: We might do something with business and computer science, but we aren’t sure.
PI: Ultimately, how do you want to remember your college experience?
GD: In the future, I want to look back at this experience and be like, ‘woah man.’ I want to have really enjoyed it, to grow as a person and player, and to feel thankful to the people and the school that we are where we are today.
JD: We want to make it worth it.
GD: Just like how I look back now at IMG, it was such a great year for us where we met so many great people that are friends for life. We really improved ourselves.