When giving his game a first glance, the initial attribute that comes to mind about Darius Gakwasi is smooth. Gakwasi is a deft operator for the Central Catholic High School Rams of Portland, Oregon as he has been in the limelight for a little while now. He has a nice jump shot, great ball skills, plays the game with much patience and intelligence, and asserts himself on the floor night in, night out.
This is the very reason why Division 1 coaches have been knocking on his door this year. Last season, Darius scored 19 points in a contest against University School in which Central Catholic was leading the national powerhouse up until the end of the third quarter. Although their efforts came up short, it showed that the junior can certainly play with anyone on any given night. More recently, Gakwasi scored 23 points against Kentucky commit Devin Askew. In fact, he and the Rams have played a plethora national talent this season, including Mater Dei (CA), Bishop Gorman (NV), and De La Salle (CA).
A little over a year ago, Darius was able to visit Corvallis and become familiar with the program and its facilities. He is becoming quite the commodity and would be an excellent fit as Oregon State looks to build after Tres Tinkle finishes up his illustrious career this season. I was able to catch up with the talented guard and ask him some questions regarding his past and his future.
Albert: So this season, you guys have played some national competition. What was that like and what did you guys get from that?
Darius: It was nice to see how we face up against some of the nation’s best. While it hasn’t resulted in many victories it’s shown us that we have the ability to play with those type of teams if we play hard and follow the game plan. Against those type of teams you have to stay disciplined for 32 minutes and that’s something we’re working on.
Albert: How would you describe your game to someone who isn’t familiar with it ?
Darius: I would describe myself as a smooth combo guard with a high IQ who can pass the ball, get his teammates involved, and score the ball at all three levels, really.
Albert: What are some things you’re looking to work on moving forward?
Darius: Consistency is my main goal, giving my all for 32 minutes so I can help my team is my goal. I want to be a player coaches can count on to lead and never have to remind to be on task.
Albert: What schools are you hearing from at the moment?
Darius: I’m hearing from Portland, Princeton, Portland State, Oregon State, Santa Clara, Montana and Montana State. A little bit from Stanford as well.
Albert: Tell me about your visit with Oregon State?
Darius: It was nice to visit Corvallis, I had a great time and enjoyed the coaching staff. They’re committed to excellence which was intriguing because I know it’ll be a place I could go and be pushed to be my absolute best. It’s a great college town and the facilities there were great to set up their players for success.
Albert: Goals for the rest of the season?
Darius: My main goal as well as everyone on the team is state championship. With our talent it’s state championship or bust for us. I truly believe if we stick to the blueprint our coaches have for us it’s definitely achievable also.
Albert: Tell me what does it mean to be a Central Catholic Ram?
Darius: Since a young age I’ve grown up around Central Catholic as my brothers graduated in ‘09 and ‘12.. I always dreamed about playing for them and quite honestly never knew it would be the way it is. It’s nice to hear little kids say they look up to me and want to be like me and play like me when they get to Central so honestly it’s been surreal and wholesome.
Albert: What do you have to say to the haters out there?
Darius: Honestly there’s a lot of doubters and although I don’t pay them much mind, I hear the noise. I feel like i’m yet to even scratch the surface of where my game can go. So i guess just watch...that’s all i’ve got to say.