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MIKE SCHWARTZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
JUST HANGING AROUND: Woodbridge’s Austin Daye is looking forward to playing his college ball next year in the clean air of Spokane, Wash., at Gonzaga.

New Daye at Woodbridge

New Daye at Woodbridge

The Orange County Register
:
The senior emerges from the shadow of his dad, ex-UCLA star Darren Daye.

In the early years of Austin Daye's life, the Woodbridge High basketball player was better known as Darren Daye's son.

But the son of the former NBA and UCLA player has grown up. And there also has been an identity shift in the Daye family.

Now, Austin says, it's the other way around. The elder Daye, who played for the Bullets, Bulls and Celtics, often is recognized as "Austin's father."

"It's kind of funny," he adds with a chuckle. "Growing up was hard. It was like, 'Oh, you're Darren's son, right?'

"As I started to get better and better I didn't want it. I wanted to have my own identity."

And he is going all the way to Spokane, Wash., to get it.

Austin will be playing for Gonzaga next year, away from his father's shadow at UCLA. He chose Gonzaga - a school he refers to as "The Duke in the West" - because he had no desire of being "Darren's son" again and he really fell in love with the city.

Daye took some time this week to talk to the Register's Jaime Cárdenas.

Question: Why Gonzaga?

Answer: "The family atmosphere up there. It's kind of like Duke in the West Coast. It's a small school in a small city. That's all there is up there. And I really like the coaching staff."Q: Did you get to check out much of the city during your visit?

A:My mom got to view the city. I went to Mark Few's house and John Stockton's house. My mom is thinking of moving up there.

Q: What did you like about Spokane?

A:There are no distractions. The architecture, the river that goes underneath the city, there are no tall buildings, the air is clean and there are trees everywhere.

Q: Just your mom?

A:My mom and my sister. I live with my father and my stepmom, but my mom is thinking of moving up with me.

Q:Were you freaked out by how clean the air is up there?

A:It's so clean and with all the trees, it's basically like a forest.

Q:Were you able to get a sense of how fanatic people are about the Zags while you were up there?

A:I was there about four or five months before the season started and Gonzaga was on the front page of the newspaper. It's crazy. People know you before you ever play a game.

Q:You are being compared to (former Gonzaga standout Adam) Morrison up there. How do you feel about that?

A:That's an honor to me, in its own way. I have a lot of expectations. I just hope I can fulfill them. But I don't think I'm the same player as Morrison, who's more like a guard. I worked out with him once and it was the best workout ever. He didn't give me any free buckets. It was very competitive.

Q:I see that you have a MySpace or do you (there are actually two, Austin Daye pages on MySpace.com)?

A:My girlfriend did that for me. Every kid has one, but I couldn't really get into it. Don't have enough time with basketball and school. I haven't gone on that thing in three months.

Q:Is your senior year schedule hectic?

A:There is just so much to focus on. You have to be able to manage your time so well. It's really a good preparation for college, I think.

Q:What's an instance in life that you feel really prepared you for life?

A:There's two instances. Me and my dad always played (one-on-one). He used to always kill me, because he's a pro, you know, and make it tough on me. Then one game suddenly I realized that it was easier to score on him. We used to play a best-of-five, first to 11 points. It's 2-2, I'm up 9-4 and all of the sudden he gets hurt. Out of the blue. And he hasn't played me since.

Q: What's the other?

A:When we lost to Canyons last year in the playoffs. We really could have made it to the Pond.

Q:How much do you want to bring a CIF title to Woodbridge?

A:I've been working at it for four years. Guys that go to Mater Dei, its not that hard to get that. It's easy for them to get good players. I think we're a young team but we are coming together. They don't know how lucky they are. It has to be a fun atmosphere to play at Mater Dei.

Contact the writer: jcardenas@ocregister.com


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