Pondexter finishes high school career strong

With the Washington Men's Basketball team losing five seniors to graduation, including its top three scorers, the focus now shifts to recruiting. As Lorenzo Romar tries to solidify his roster for next year, a major piece of the puzzle is likely going to be incoming freshman Quincy Pondexter. Pondexter, a 6-foot-7 combo forward from San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, California, is thought by some to have the potential to step right into the starting lineup for the Huskies next season.

Pondexter recently sat down and talked about finishing up his high school career and how eager he is to get started at UW. His team, which boasted two other major prospects, Stanford-bound twins Brook and Robin Lopez, finished 33-4 before losing by one to Horizon High School of San Diego, Calif. in the CIF State SoCal Division IV Playoffs. "My team had a really great season this year," said Pondexter. "I played with the Lopez twins and we had a really great season, we just came up a little short on winning the state championship."

As for Pondexter himself, he was a stat-sheet stuffer, which he can quickly recite off the top of his head. "23 points, 6 and-a-half rebounds," said Quincy of his per-game averages. The immediate question is how did Pondexter get so many touches playing alongside the two highly touted big men? "A lot of hard work," he explains. "They demand a lot of attention down there (in the paint) and a lot of teams are recognizing that I do too, so it's been a blessing."

Many Husky supporters are anxious to see what Pondexter will bring to the UW program. What style of player is Quincy? Where does he get his points? "A lot (of my points) came out of half court," Pondexter said. "A lot of the sets we ran, after a few passes, the defense would leave us a lot of options. In the open floor I got a lot of steals. (I just) tried to play to the best of my abilities."

Pondexter is quick to point out that his game has evolved immensely over the past year, which is a good sign for his future development. "I've added a lot to my game," he said. "I've become a really good three-point shooter. My midrange is really developing. And just my all-around game is more complete." Pretty impressive for a kid who is still in high school and believes he's still growing. "Right now, I'm 6 foot seven and-a-half, 200 pounds," added Pondexter. "That's a pretty good sign for a kid that was 6'6'' at the start of the season.

As the Huskies faced off against Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament, Pondexter was watching with a great deal of interest. "My college decision came down to those two schools," he explains. "Man, it was tough watching that tough loss at the end, but they were in good position to win. I'm just really proud of how far they got."

Interestingly enough, the game's outcome didn't cause him to rethink his choice one bit. "I think I made a really good college choice," says Quincy. "I think kids respond more to a guy that they respect, such as a Coach Romar, instead of a coach that they can't relate to as much. You can tell there's some diversity on this team. That UCONN team, they just weren't meshing very well. And that's why they lost (to George Mason). The most talented team lost."

Of course, Quincy feels like things might have turned out different if he was in that game. "Every time I watch our team play, I just feel like I'm in the jersey already," he said. "And hopefully, next year, I'll be able to bring a lot to the table for our team." Quincy has already envisioned himself playing alongside the Husky returnees. "Oh yeah, (Jon) Brockman's laying guys out," he chuckled. "Justin (Dentmon)'s a great passer, looking for open teammates like (Ryan) Appleby, and just thinking about all the things that Spencer (Hawes) can do out there," says Pondexter. "It's really great to think about the situation I'm coming into next year."

So why is this kid so eager to finish having fun in high school and get down to business at UW? "I've been working really hard," explained Quincy. "'Cause people out there probably don't think I'll be good enough to play at the level, and just all the critics. I just want to go out there and win. I'm really competitive. I just really want to win, get along well with my teammates, and have a great time in Seattle."

Pondexter also said he has been keeping in regular contact with the Washington coaches throughout the season and even into the NCAA Tournament. "They just asked if I watched the game, tell them what I noticed right, what I noticed wrong, and what they expect from me next year," said Pondexter. "Getting more physical, more bigger, tougher competition. It's going to be a lot different then Fresno," he added. "They're (basically) just trying to prep me and get me ready for next year."

Coming to play in Seattle next year, Pondexter has already been forewarned not to run into Brockman in practice. "I've been hearing that about Jon forever," he said. "That's one of the first things that I heard someone say about his game, he's a brute. That's the only explanation for his game," he added with a laugh. "He's got to have more than that, because he was a McDonalds All American, the Best in the West player. But they were just saying, ‘He's real physical, so look out.' But that's the type of person you want on your team."

Pondexter plans to arrive in Seattle at the end of June, giving him some time to get acquainted to his surroundings before he gets busy with school. He also says that he is eager to check out some of the summer pickup action that Seattle has become famous for. "I'm really looking forward to some of those (runs), cause I heard some of the NBA guys come out there and play," Quincy said. "I just want to get a great feel for the game out there and get used to playing with my teammates."

It's really nice to hear a young athlete with so much respect for the game. This kid knows that he is going to have to work, earn people's respect, and prove that he belongs. Quincy Pondexter is genuinely excited to be coming to Washington, and sounds like he is putting in the time so he can contribute next year. He's graduating high school in two months, but what's the main thing he's doing with his time right now?

"I'm getting ready for next year," he said.

That's the type of attitude that's infectious.

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