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February 5, 2010In this week's edition of Postin' Up, we sit down with redshirt freshman center Jorge Brian Diaz. Though he's only a freshman, the Puerto Rico native has already gone up against some of the top young talent in the world as a member of his home country's U-19 National Team. Diaz talks about some of the places he's visited in his basketball travels, as well as which of his Nebraska teammates can actually speak Spanish and which ones, well, still need a few lessons.
HI: You went all over the place while playing for the Puerto Rico U-19 National Team. How many different countries would you say you've been to because of basketball?
JBD: "I was born in New York, so I joined the team late and didn't go as many places as the rest of the guys. I went to Serbia, Columbia and all those (South and Central American) places. I think we went to Dallas to play some tournament, too."
HI: What was Serbia like?
JBD: "It was kind of different. The food was way different. The weather was kind of the main thing, I guess. It's just a way different place. I didn't like it at all."
HI: You play for a team that is pretty well internationally represented with guys from all over the world. Which of your teammates speaks the best Spanish?
JBD: "Chris Balham. He was born in France, so he already knows a couple languages. Sometimes some of the guys ask me how you say something in Spanish, and I try and help them. Balham will try and improve his Spanish at practice with me, so we kind of speak Spanish sometimes."
HI: Flip it around now - who is terrible at Spanish but still always tries to talk to you in it?
HI: This offseason you changed your printed name from Brian Diaz to Jorge Brian Diaz. What was the reason behind adding "Jorge"?
JBD: "Because Jorge is more like - I came from Puerto Rico, so Jorge is more of a Spanish name, I guess. I don't know. Back home people used to call me Brian. I don't know, maybe because it's English and it's different. Here, people would say things like 'I like Jorge better. Jorge's kind of different. It's more Spanish.' And I was like, 'Alright, I'll switch it to Jorge.'"
HI: Fair enough. Seeing how you've been a few places and seen quite a few things around the world, what would you say is the weirdest thing about Lincoln, Neb., now that you've been here for a year or so?
JBD: "It's kind of a calm place. People are very nice. People are extremely nice. I guess the weather, too. It's kind of windy. I didn't expect the wind. I didn't know it was going to be this cold and windy."
HI: Had you ever seriously lifted weights before coming to Nebraska?
JBD: "Not that serious. I lifted weights and had some trainers, but here it's like an everyday thing."
HI: How hard was it to jump into a Division I weight training program having never really lifted weights before?
JBD: "I expected it. They always talked about how I need to do it and how I would have to do it when I got there. So I knew I was going to have to do it a lot more."
HI: So what are you benching nowadays?
JBD: "In the summer I did 185 like five times. I had never done anything like that before. I had only done it one or two times, and this time I did it five."