Pondexter's triumphant farewell

SEATTLE - In a fitting tribute to one of the finest players to ever don a Husky uniform, Washington cruised to a 29-point victory over UCLA behind a furious assault, courtesy of their emotional senior superstar Quincy Pondexter. The teary-eyed Fresno native was unstoppable, setting the tone with 10 quick points in the first five minutes as UW pulled away from the overmatched Bruins.

Q-Pon's path to stardom has been an unconventional one. He may blanch at that characterization, but the fact is, modern college basket players aren't supposed to follow a four-year development path to the first round of the NBA draft. Yet that is exactly where Pondexter is headed.

Few have taken a choppier road to success than the enigmatic wing His career certainly started with a bang: A month into his freshman season, Pondexter vaulted into NBA mock drafts, dazzling scouts with his incredible athleticism. But a weak non-conference schedule masked youthful flaws, and he was quickly exposed by some of the toughest league play in decades. Washington's struggles turned out to be a blessing of sorts for Pondexter, who ultimately realized that his athleticism alone wasn't going to be enough to secure a future in the NBA.

After that brief flirt with a professional move, Pondexter quietly dedicated himself to becoming a more complete basketball player under Lorenzo Romar's careful tutelage. Over the next year and a half, Pondexter's tireless efforts in the gym slowly started to pay off. A slow maturation at first, he spent countless hours in the weight room, sculpting his lanky 6-foot-6 frame into the Pac-10's biggest physical mismatch. But it wasn't until the tail end of his junior campaign when things really clicked into place.

Precariously perched atop the conference standings and reeling from a tough loss at Pauley Pavilion, Pondexter put his permanent stamp on the UW basketball program. Trailing USC with just five minutes remaining, Pondexter erupted, torching the Trojans with an array of floaters and NBA-worthy turnaround jumpers. The Huskies pulled away behind his heroic efforts, as the victory helped propel Washington to their first Pac-10 title in 56 years.

From that point forward, the former prep standout's confidence grew by leaps and bounds. 'Q' parlayed his progress into a summer invitation to Team USA's Junior National Team, where he made three starts and helped Team USA earn a bronze medal in the World University Games in Europe.

It was also during this time where Pondexter took the final steps of his transformation – transitioning from forward to guard and re-establishing himself as one of the top NBA prospects in college basketball.

At the start of the 2009-2010 season, fans questioned Pondexter's new backcourt role. Despite a fabulous start to the season, his lack of production from beyond the arc at the season's mid-point partially validated their questions about his new perimeter orientation. But the light finally came on at home against Stanford and continued in Westwood where he hit all four 3-point attempts in a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Bruins.

Against Seattle University, 'Q' connected on both attempts from beyond the arc, finally pushing above 40 percent from deep for the first time in his career.

The addition of the long ball to his repertoire put the finishing touches on Pondexter's four-year evolution under Romar. He has evolved into the Pac-10's most complete player, an NBA prospect and one of the top players in the country. He's also a prime example of Romar's ability to develop a player willing to put in the work - as if Brandon Roy wasn't example enough already.

Pondexter will likely close his career ranked as one of the top-five leading scorers in UW history. He already ranks in the top-10 in eight statistical categories versus his Pac-10 peers, en route to four Pac-10 Player of the Week awards, tying a league record.

Nationally, Pondexter has started to receive the attention his unique talents deserve, and Saturday night's showcase on ESPN's College Game Day showed America what Pondexter can do. Closer to home though, the Huskies' struggles this season have hampered his run as a true Husky Legend, but a Pac-10 Tournament Championship would be a fitting end to what 'Q' has already accomplished.

But regardless of how this season ends, Pondexter has truly had one of the most remarkable careers the UW basketball program has ever seen. Former Husky center Spencer Hawes summed it up best.

"He's a great friend," said Hawes. "And it's exciting to see him being so successful this year and so close to reaching his dreams in the NBA. He worked as hard as anyone I've seen on his shot and handle and like it usually does when you put that much work into improving, he's seeing the fruits of his labor."

Congratulations Quincy, on your fine career at the University of Washington. You've made Husky Nation proud!

Quincy Pondexter Scout.com Profile

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