March 17, 2008
Washington State Athletic Media Relations
By Erica Beck
"Slice & Dice! slice & dice. SLICE & DICE!"
It sounds like an intense salad preparation; it's not. It's just a little friendly background banter by two guys from Honolulu and Santa Barbara, both places known for their...basketball protégés?
Derrick Low and Taylor Rochestie, the backcourt duo for the Washington State men's basketball team, certainly know how to hoop. In fact, they're better known as Slice & Dice around the Cougars' camp for their prowess on the hardwood and their antics off it.
"It all started with Talladega Nights," said Rochestie. "They were Shake & Bake in the movie and Derrick and I were just like, `Shake & Bake?' Psh, no, it's Slice & Dice!"
Armed with their new handles, the pair continued to try and do what they'd always done to the teams they faced on the court: slice `em and dice `em until the W was locked in for Coach Tony Bennett.
Despite their recent successes, Low and Rochestie haven't always sliced and diced other teams with the same results. Actually, the number of years Low and Rochestie have been ruling the backcourt together has been pretty minimal.
The two first met during Low's sophomore year as a Cougar. Rochestie was visiting the Pacific Northwest on his recruiting trip after a year at Tulane, and he stopped in the locker room on game day.
"Actually, I'd heard a lot about Derrick because of the top-ranking lists they have in high school," said Rochestie. "He was always rated above me, and I was just like, `Who is this guy from Hawaii, and how is he rated above me in the rankings?"
When Bennett was recruiting, he asked Low what he thought about bringing in another point guard or a combo guard to play alongside him. Low was all for it, especially after he heard what Rochestie had accomplished as a freshman in a good conference.
"When I first met him, my first thought was that he didn't look like a basketball player at all," said Low. "And then I thought, wait, neither do I. We're going to surprise a lot of people and having another player like me will be a lot of fun."
Fun is an understatement. Having Slice & Dice together in the same room is similar to having a room full of shiny objects: there is never a dull moment. The two have similar types of humor and are always joking around, randomly spouting "Slice & Dice!" and playing off the other the way they do on the court.
While the two guards are an integral part of what this year's team has accomplished, both are quick to say that even if the slicing and dicing didn't exist, the Cougars would still be where they are today.
"Slice & Dice is just about having a little team fun with Taylor. We don't brag about it; we just joke around about it a lot," said Low. "When it comes to game time, the title is there and it's cool if we can slice and dice teams up but in reality, it's about the whole team."
Maybe Low and Rochestie are taking after their head coach. In Bennett's college playing days, he had a little team fun with nicknames as well with one of his teammates.
"Tony played with a guy whose name also started with `T'," said Rochestie. "They were T `n T, and we always talk about how Slice & Dice would beat T `n T in a two-on-two match-up."
Either way, Low and Rochestie are excellent individual players and an even better package deal. Whether it's driving the lane, dishing the ball, running the baseline and shooting the three or making post-game interviews a lively affair, the two know how to get things done while still having some fun.
Oh, and just so everybody is clear, Low is always Slice and Rochestie is always Dice. They may be interchangeable on the basketball court, but Slice & Dice is set in stone. It would be like saying Derrick Rochestie or Taylor Low. It can't be done.
Besides, Shake & Bake from Talladega Nights didn't switch. Neither can Slice & Dice.