Abdul Gaddy, the 6-3 point guard from Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine, did it all last week. He slashed to the basket, set up his teammates, hit shots, and showed his competitive nature. Not only did he excel in front of his peers, he excelled in front of his favorite NBA player, Chris Paul, at Chris Paul's inaugural camp in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
"The camp went real well," said Gaddy. "I won the MVP of the camp, which was a honor. It was a great experience learning from Chris Paul, who is my favorite player and the best guard in the universe."
Gaddy, who is ranked the #9 player in the nation overall for the class of 2009, went on to explain what made the camp a great experience for him. He said, "Chris was there all day every day with the players. He was there early with us and even went through the drills like we did. It was great to see him out there playing and working hard. I mean, he played just as hard with as as he does in the NBA games. It was great to see how hard he works."
Gaddy also mentioned that Paul said a few things that really hit home with him. "Chris talked about how some players like the game and others are passionate about it," Gaddy said. "He also talked about how hard you have to work to reach the NBA and how getting paid to play basketball is a real privilege. I have seen my parents get up and work hard every day and I know if I keep working that I may have the chance to make a living doing what I love, playing ball."
Gaddy has all the tools the great point guards have: vision, court awareness, precise handles, a knack for scoring, leadership, and competitiveness. "I love competing and I hate losing," Gaddy said. "I am only supposed to be a sophomore but I was bumped up a grade due to my academics so I have always went against older kids and have had to out work them. I am not used to losing. Even if I am playing with my brother and sister I want to win. I remember playing ball with my God brother all day and night and how I just hated to lose. It is not something I am used to."
In a recent update, Gaddy mentioned the eight teams he is considering, included USC, Oregon, Washington, Gonzaga, Arizona, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas. That list has expanded a bit. "UCLA has contacted me and I have also talked to Wake, Cal, and Stanford," he said. "I am staying open but those 12 are the ones I am looking at right now."
Gaddy insisted that although Wake is on the east coast, it will not hurt their chances with him. "I like the situation at Wake. I have talked with their coaches on many occasions and I liked what I saw of the campus and the facilities. I have no problem playing on the east coast if the situation is right."
Gaddy also made it clear academics are important to him and his family. "Academics will be real important in my decision. My mom really pushes academics hard and you always need a great plan B if plan A falls through," Gaddy said.
Gaddy also indicated he would like to make a decision this summer before his senior year. He also stated that even though he has not set it up yet, a visit to Wake is "very possible."
Although Gaddy is a top level player that almost certainly will live his dream of getting paid to play basketball, it is refreshing to see a young man of his caliber thinking about his future and continuing to work hard and competing hard every time he hits the hardwood -- much like his favorite player does.