Aug. 10, 2005
With one season of Division I basketball under his belt, Diego Romero enters his senior season as one of the top big men in the ACC. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds and was one of five Seminoles who played in all 31 games as a junior. Romero’s best game of his first season at Florida State came as he totaled a near double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds against Texas Southern. He sat down with seminoles.com to discuss his rehabilitation, the team’s upcoming trip to Trinidad and Tobago and how close he is to earning his bachelor’s degree in this installment of Chatting With The Florida State Basketball Players.
Give Us An Update On Your Knee. What Did The Surgery Do And How Is Your Rehab Progressing?
We are working really hard to get my knee healthy. I have been working with our trainer, Sam Lunt, and our strength and conditioning coach, Mike Bradley, nearly every day since the surgery on March 17. I think Coach Hamilton is pleased where I am in my rehabilitation. The surgery I had was to repair a small tear in the patellar tendon in my left knee. The doctors cut a part of the tendon and put the tendon back together. My rehabilitation is progressing pretty well and my doctors are confident I will be ready when practice begins. Now that the second summer session is over, I work every day to strengthen the knee. The hardest part of my rehabilitation is running in order to make the knee stronger. When classes were in session, I had rehab three times a week with running and what I could do on the court twice a week.
What On-Court Activities Have You Been Able To Take Part In This Summer?
My on court activities have been limited and I have been unable to take part in the pick-up games with my teammates. I have been able to work on my free throws and some jump shots but most of my work has been with Sam Lunt and Coach Bradley.
What Do You Have To Continue To Do To Be Ready For Practice In October?
We are working towards getting my knee ready to go for practice in October. I am going to do everything my coaches and doctors tell me to do to get ready to play this season. I think the main thing I have to do to get ready for practice in to continue running and continue strengthening the tendons in my knee. Once I get the strength back in my leg, I then need to get back into game shape. It’s a lot of hard work but nothing worth fighting for is easy.
Will You Be Ready To Practice For The Upcoming Trip To Trinidad And Tobago?
I have two weeks to get ready to practice with my teammates for our trip to Trinidad and Tobago. That is the main goal I am shooting for right now. My main goal right now is to be with the team and to be able to run with them as we prepare for the trip. Hopefully, I can practice with my teammates and show Coach Hamilton that I can play at least a little bit during the trip. I am going to work as hard as I can to accomplish that goal.
What Have Been Your Impressions Of The Pick-Up Games This Summer?
The pick-up games we played all summer long have been great. The intensity all of our players showed was incredible. The games were by far the best since I have been here. Everybody made the effort to be in the gym and I feel like we became better as players and as a team. We looked sharp all summer. There was not much talk during the games and everybody played hard. The new players have been pretty impressive. They all run the floor well and play hard. When you look at the returning players, they all have impressed me and have all gotten better since the end of last season. I think everybody worked very hard this summer.
Who, Of The Returning Players, Has Impressed You With Their Work Ethic?
I’m really excited about our returning players. Jason Rich has really impressed me with the time and effort he put in the gym this summer. He has really worked hard and wants to be a team leader. He is leading by example. He is taking his game to another level and will be pretty impressive this season. I have also been impressed with Zeke (Isaiah Swann) – he is doing a great job, too. Overall, everybody on this team worked hard all summer.
What Impact Do You Feel The Newcomers Will Have On The Team This Season?
The newcomers are really good people and good teammates and we are excited that they are part of our team. I think that is the most important thing about Casaan, Ryan and Jerel. We are still waiting on Uche to get here, but when they are all together, they are going to be good. They are all team players and that’s what we need from them.
What Is Your Own Personal Outlook As You Approach Your Senior Season?
I’m looking for our team to win games. It doesn’t matter if I score two points or if I score 20, as long as we win, then I’ll be happy. I’m looking forward to wins – that’s all I want. I think I need to rebound better and help us be a better rebounding team. If I can increase my rebounding totals and we all can increase our rebounding totals, we can be more successful. If we can be a better rebounding team, we can improve as a team.
What Are The Positives From Last Season You Will Carry Over Into The Upcoming Season?
There were a couple of games last season when I proved to myself that I can play at this level. I just need to do that on a more consistent level. I want to try to build on some of the good things I did last season. I want to play healthy. I am looking forward to the upcoming season because it is going to be the first time in three years that I am going to play without pain in any part of my body. That is what I am looking forward to.
What Areas Are You Looking To Improve On Entering The Season?
My rebounding has to get better. I have to be a good rebounding player for my size and I have to become a better rebounder. It’s all about getting into the gym and working with a rebounding machine. I have to go after every ball that I see and want to get to rebound more than my opponent. I have to get my timing down and develop a better feeling for rebounding. That’s one thing that I have to continue to work on. In talking to a lot of people and friends within the game, rebounding takes effort and I need to increase my effort on defense.
What One Thing Are You Most Looking Forward To This Season?
The one thing I am most looking forward to is playing in the post-season. We have to get there this season. A couple of things we have to do are make free throws and rebound. I think we lost nine games because we couldn’t make free throws last season. We can’t allow that to happen this season. If we make our free throws, get tougher as individuals and as a team then we can win a lot of basketball games this year.
How Close Are You To Earning Your Degree? How Have You Been Able To Successfully Combine Academics And Playing Basketball During Your Career?
I need only two classes in my major and I will have my undergraduate degree in December. My plans are to play as a graduate student in the second semester. My major is social science. It’s tough to be successful in the classroom and on the court. Some people think we have an easy life as student-athletes. They think that because we play sports that we don’t have to do as much school work during the season. We have to go to class just like everybody else and we miss classes because of road games. Missing classes makes it tough to keep up with the work. Our academic success is important to Coach Hamilton and he has a great impact on our success off the court. He doesn’t allow you to miss or be late to class. One of the first things he told me was he wanted me to graduate from Florida State University and that he wanted me to grow as a person. Coach Hamilton and the coaching staff have a lot to do with my academic success and when I do graduate from Florida State, a lot of credit will go to them.