Gaddy Getting Used To The Game

While freshmen such as Kentucky's John Wall and Keith ‘Tiny' Gallon of the University of Oklahoma are flourishing, it seems as if Abdul Gaddy is developing on a slower pace at Washington. Rated as the No. 2 point guard out of high school behind Wall, Gaddy originally was committed to the University of Arizona before long time Wildcats Head Coach Lute Olson retired.

Gaddy switched his commitment to the University of Washington and it was thought right away he would step in and make a big impact; however that hasn't been the case.

Through the first seven games of the season, he is averaging just 5.3 points and 2.3 assists in 19 minutes per game. He is also only shooting 34 percent from the field and hasn't picked up a steal since the second game of the season versus Belmont.

One positive to take away from Gaddy's early season performance is that he has been safe with the ball, averaging roughly one turnover a game.

Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said that he would contribute Gaddy's freshman woes to overthinking.

"I think Abdul's early struggles were maybe for a good reason. He is concentrating on… when he closes out defensively, is his hand in the right place technique-wise like we teach?" Romar said. "He wants to be so perfect in all areas, he has really been thinking out there.

"I think now he's not thinking. He's doing everything right without thinking. Because now habits have formed with him and are beginning to form. As a result I think his mind is just getting clearer, and the clearer his mind gets, the better he's going to play. His mind is getting clearer. I think he's going to keep coming. I thought if he wouldn't have gotten in foul trouble or if he would have played more in the Texas Tech game, he would have been fine."

Even though it's taking more time for the extremely talented Gaddy to take over, Romar said it's better to get the learning experience out of the way now.

"There's some that just say, ‘forget you coach, I'm going to just do my own thing.' It catches up with them down the road because they haven't developed good habits," Romar said. "With him, he's getting it all right, right now.

"I think that's maybe seen as the core of his struggles sometimes. Like I said, he's picking it up now and I think that's freeing his mind up to where that's going to allow him to play better."

One thing Romar said he has been impressed with thus far about Gaddy is not only his willingness, but his all-out determination to learn. "I've been almost amazed at how important it is for him to do things right, he said. "To make sure that, ‘no I don't want anything given to me. I'm going to get this right. Leave me alone. I'm going to get this right.'

"Players with his stature nowadays, a lot of times, want favors. ‘Just throw me out there. I'll be alright'. It's important for him to do things right. As he's learning it, once he gets it... there will be no looking back at that point."

Helping Gaddy learn the ropes in the backcourt has been Isaiah Thomas, and the sophomore said Gaddy's potential is just starting to be tapped.

"Not even close. I mean he is still only 17 years old," Thomas said of Gaddy. "It's going to take time for him, but what I tell him after every game is to stay confident and keep your head up. No one has seen what you can do or what I've seen you do."

Senior Captain of the Dawgs, Quincy Pondexter, said although the young point guard is making strides we still haven't seen anything yet.

"It's still coming. It's still in the beginning stages for him," Pondexter said, echoing Thomas' thoughts. "Only time will tell how good he'll be, but I have a lot of faith in him. There is no way that anyone should ever throw him under the bus because he will be a terrific player here, he is going to be a Husky legend and he will be an NBA player."

For Gaddy, the transition from the high school game to the college game hasn't been easy, but he is getting used to it.

"The speed and the physicality of the game," Gaddy said of the changes. "All of that is different from high school so just getting used to all of that. But I think out of all the practices and all of the games I am starting to get used to it a lot more and just finding a rhythm."

That same difficult transition is something that Pondexter shares in common with Gaddy and he said it can be very difficult to overcome. "It's hard," the star senior said. "When you're in high school you look at the college game or you play with the guys in the summer time, you might be just as good as them, but you're not accustomed to playing this type of basketball.

"So there is a lot of things you have to get used to on the floor, whether it's guys taking charges, defenders making plays to force you to your weaknesses and it's a lot of little things like that. So when the time clicks where he is just playing basketball, there is no ceilings for him. The sky is the limit."

The next game to watch Abdul Gaddy taking his learning strides will be on Saturday against the highly thought of Georgetown Hoyas at 11 a.m. PST on Fox Sports. The game will be a national broadcast, and is the first game of the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, California.

UCLA and Mississippi State will follow at 1:30 p.m.


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