For Pondexter, the game is fun again

When he arrived on campus, many thought the sky was the limit for soon-to-be junior swingman Quincy Pondexter. He could play with his back to the basket, he could pull up and hurt teams from the perimiter and he spent a lot of time above the rim. However, things haven't gone as smoothly as he would have liked, but the gifted player from California loves the game again and it's starting to show.

On any given day, Pondexter said he spends six to eight hours in the gym working on his game. Many close to the program have noticed a change in the third-year player and he said it started with getting his mind right.

"I had a rededication of my game in all aspects and the weight-room was a big part of that," Pondexter told after a recent workout. "We have a new weight trainer and I'm doing a lot of squats and things to make myself a better player. I've gotten real serious about it.

"I've added around 10 pounds of muscle so far and I want to be a complete specimen on the floor next year.

As a sophomore last year, Pondexter got off to a fast start and expectations were that he would continue to improve and reach the potential many saw before he arrived at Montlake as a freshman.

He managed to finish third on the team with 9.9 points per game and second with 4.8 rebounds per game, but he struggled from the line only hitting 68.5 percent of his free throws while also hitting on less than 29 percent of his three-point attempts.

Pondexter admitted that when he arrived on campus, he had a bit of work to do and it started with his head coach breaking him down before building him back up.

"Me and coach (Lorenzo) Romar had a little thing going on where he wouldn't hand me the keys to the corvette until I'm ready," Pondexter said with a little grin on his face. "He's been teaching me a lot of lessons about basketball and he's making me a lot better player in the long run.

"If we really wanted to, we could have sat down after those first few games and whatever I was averaging during my freshman season and I could have been out of here after my freshman year, but it's a lot more than that and basketball and life than just getting quick money.

"It's similar what "coach K" (Mike Krzyzewski) does at Duke. He breaks all his players down and in the long run he makes them a lot more money because he teaches them how to be smarter both on and off the court."

Part of his maturity came with spending more time in the gym, but part of it had to do with realizing he wasn't reaching his potential.

"Last night I was here until 1 a.m. and it's all going to pay off," Pondexter noted. "I feel bad for those two years where people didn't know what was happening with my game and they weren't really happy with me and I'm letting people know now, that things are going to change.

"So far I've been the most loved and most hated player, depending on which day it is. It's hard to take when you're only a teenager, but I can tell you right now, I'm not one of those guys that says ‘I don't care what they're saying, I'm not going to work hard', I'm out here busting my butt every day for Husky Nation."

So does Pondexter have dreams of going pro following the season, using the hard work he and his teammates have put in to propel himself to fame and fortune?


"I want it to turn into wins," Pondexter said. "When you look at the Pac 10 right now it's wide open. There's no team where you go ‘man they have all their guys back and they're going to win'. I think we're that team.

"From the media standpoint, I don't think a lot of people see that, but we have Jon (Brockman) coming back and he's an All-American candidate and we have a lot of young guys that are stepping up and learning the game and I think we're going to be really exciting next year."

On new young player that will come in and hopefully bring an offensive spark is PG Isaiah Thomas, an electrifying playmaker who also has the ability to score from almost anywhere on the court.

"It's going to be great having another complete basketball player on the court helping us," Pondexter admitted. "He's a really good kid, but it's going to take him a while to learn the game because he's young and all the freshman are dumb for a little while.

"I think all of us have (some Quincy Pondexter) in them when they come in, where we think things will just come naturally and we don't necessarily have to work as hard, but I think if he's really willing to learn he's going to be a special player."

With his time at Montlake over halfway finished, Pondexter finally feels comfortable and he's hoping this coming season shows how hard he's worked, both on and off the court. Top Stories