Dickau Following In Stockton's Footsteps
Feb. 8, 2002
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - When Dan Dickau transferred to Gonzaga, he requested jersey No. 12 in honor of his idol, former Bulldog John Stockton.
The team refused, even though the Utah Jazz star's number has not been officially retired. So Dickau inverted the numbers and wears 21.
He's a mirror image of Stockton in other ways, both are gritty, high-scoring point guards. But it is Dickau who has led Gonzaga to a No. 9 national ranking, thanks, in part, to mentoring from Stockton.
"He comes pretty much every fall for pre-training camp," Dickau said of Stockton, a Spokane native. "I generally shoot in the morning with him for an hour and he'd play pickup in the afternoon for an hour or an hour and a half."
What most impressed Dickau about the NBA's career assists leader is the hard work Stockton puts into his game.
"He's 39 and one of the top point guards in the league," Dickau marveled.
Dickau, 23, is one of the top point guards in the nation this year and a candidate for the Wooden Award. He's the main reason the Bulldogs were 21-3 heading into the weekend.
The 6-footer is averaging 20.6 points and 5 assists per game. He's making 88 percent of his free throws. He's shooting 47 percent from 3-point range. Despite playing more than 34 minutes and handling the ball for much of that time, he's averaging just three turnovers per game.
"Obviously, Dickau is a great one," St. Mary's coach Randy Bennett said after he scored 19 in a win over the Gaels.
Life is good for Dickau these days. He's the leading scorer in the West Coast Conference and was the league's player of the month for December and January. He's the poster boy for the overachieving Bulldogs, who sell out arenas everywhere they travel. He's never lost a home game at Martin Centre.
Coach Mark Few said the thing that sets Dickau apart from other players is his shooting.
"He's a phenomenal shooter and has great vision and a lot of different ways to score," Few said. "He can score off the catch-and-shoot and the pull-up and drive you down. He can score in the intermediate area. He can score all the way to the basket."
Dickau has hit 86 of 180 3-point attempts, ranking first in the league in 3-pointers made and percentage. He scored a season high 39 recently against Portland, and 34 points in just the first half against Loyola Marymount.
Dickau signed with Washington out of Prairie High School in Vancouver. He saw significant playing time in two seasons, but was unhappy for reasons he has declined to reveal.
After watching Gonzaga advance to the round of eight in the NCAA tournament in the 1998-99 season and talking with Vancouver-area players like Richie Frahm and Zach Gourde, Dickau decided to become a Bulldog. It was one of the first and biggest payoffs of Gonzaga's newfound national reputation.
He sat out the 1999-00 season, as required by the NCAA, and averaged 18.9 points per game last season as Gonzaga advanced to the round of 16. He admits he should have listened harder when Gonzaga tried to recruit him out of high school.
"I didn't give them much thought because they were not in the Pac 10," Dickau said.
The graduation of Casey Calvary after last season threw team leadership to Dickau. Team officials made sure everybody knew that.
Three blurry pictures of Dickau appeared on the cover of the team's media guide this season. A pair of 3-D glasses were enclosed to bring the pictures into focus.
Taking another lesson from Stockton, Dickau focuses on his passing game.
"Everybody on the floor looks better just because of the way he (Stockton) passes the ball," Dickau said.
"Passing gets overlooked," he added. He blames "up and down rat ball, one on one, talk trash and shoot three in-your-face. That's not what basketball is."
Stockton, who played with the Bulldogs from 1980-84, averaged 20.9 points during a breakout senior year that made him the only Gonzaga player ever selected in the first round. He was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
But Gonzaga never won more than 20 games with Stockton and never advanced to the NCAA tournament when he played. The Bulldogs will almost certainly make a fourth consecutive tournament appearance this season.
Scouts for the NBA have been attending Gonzaga games all season, but it is unclear if Dickau will follow Stockton into the pros.
"Anytime you are compared to the best point guard ever, it is flattering," Dickau said. "If I had a chance to play at the next level, I would need a game similar to his."
But, on Stockton's advice, he's not dwelling on the pros.
"I'm focused on having the best college season I can and then the rest will
work itself out," Dickau said. "Stockton told me not to worry about the
future, and if you are good enough they will find you."
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