Gaddy Brings Calm to the Storm

Abdul Gaddy is going to bring a lot more to the table than your average freshman. A 17-year old point guard standing in at an impressive 6-foot-3, Gaddy was a highly-touted recruit last year who was originally committed to Arizona before the unforeseen retirement of their legendary coach, Lute Olson.

It's a well known fact that Arizona was his dream school growing up, but coach Lorenzo Romar and Washington came back in the picture when Olson stepped down. After thoroughly reviewing his options, Gaddy realized that staying close to home was meant to be.

Romar, for one, said Gaddy is going to bring another aspect to the already strong Washington backcourt, and UW fans will get to see him for the first time Wednesday night as the Huskies host Central Washington in their lone exhibition contest before the regular season begins.

"We don't have anyone better at running the team in our program. We don't have a better on ball defender than Venoy Overton or a better scorer, out of the smaller guards, than Isaiah Thomas. So everyone brings something special to our group," said Romar. "Abdul's specialty is he can really run a team and he can score if he needs to score. He has a great feel for how to get people involved and when to make the right pass."

Although Gaddy did not commit till his senior year, the recruiting of him started early on as Romar saw him when he was still an underclassmen and just 14 years of age.

"The first time I saw him was at Bellarmine Prep and I think he was a sophomore. I actually had heard about him, but there had been more hype around Avery Bradley at the time," Romar said. "I remember going to watch them play and thinking, ‘wow, he's really good. He is better than I thought he would be.' I thought at that time that he was going to be a big-time basketball player."

Even though he is very young, younger than even the other freshmen on the team, Romar is confident that his calm style of play will transfer to the college level.

"We watched him play many times (in high school) and in any situation he just had that poise about him and just that way about him that he was always in control of the situation," said Romar. "It doesn't matter where Abdul plays, he is going to be able to run a team and bring calm to the storm."

Another person impressed with the young point guard is senior leader Quincy Pondexter, who said he made his presence known early on.

"When I was playing with him (in the summer) the thing he would say to everyone was, ‘I'm a point guard, get open and I'll find you.' Not many people have that attitude and for him to take it upon himself to do that is a great asset to have," said Pondexter.

Pondexter also said that he is a pass-first point guard and he doesn't want to take needless shots. "He doesn't want to force up shots, that's not him," he said of Gaddy. "He wants to make the pass that leads to a basket. That is the way he wants to play and that's the way he sees his future."

When it comes to Gaddy and the calmness he portrays on the court, he credits it all to his family and how he was brought up.

"They raised me the right way to where I'm just more respectable and I just try to bring that to the court," he said. "I don't really show a lot of emotion on the court and it's all about really being humble."

With Gaddy being young and expected to see significant playing time at the point, he said Romar made sure early to tell him to not give up.

"In high school I had to learn how to be a leader," Gaddy said. "I never had to be a point guard till I got to high school. When I first got here, he (Romar) had a long talk with me and told me, ‘even though you're only 17 years old, you're going to be out on the court playing with 20 and 22-year olds. You just have to keep your leadership qualities and don't sell yourself short because you're only 17 years old.'"

Romar said that he really believes all three of his main guards - Gaddy, Overton and Thomas - are starters, even if only two of them actually start a game. Balancing what they do in the right amounts to create a winning product on the court is Romar's biggest challenge.

"When someone really has a niche, I think the way you coach them is that you back off of them and let them perform their niche. So with Isaiah Thomas, don't give him a thousand rules on offense. With Venoy, defensively, and even offensively with his great push with the basketball, you can't give him absolutes. You have to give him point and direction and let him get there with his own ability," Romar said.

"Well with Abdul, you kind of give him the blueprints to what you want your house to kind of look like and then you decorate it the way you want. You will have a pretty nice custom decorated house too."

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