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October 13, 2009 at 6:08 AM

Abdul Gaddy takes aim at Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award

Washington freshman Abdul Gaddy opens up about his desire to deliver a Pac-10 championship and his first impression of his new team.
He also talks about the pressure that comes with being UW’s top recruit, assuming a leadership role and his on-court battles with Venoy Overton.
(What do you want to do this year?) “For me personally, just help the team any way I can to help us win a Pac-10 championship. I want to be the Freshman of the Year in the Pac-10 and try to be first or second-team in the Pac-10. Those are big goals, but you got to set bar high if you want to succeed. That’s what I want to do personally. As a team, I want to win the Pac-10 championship and go for the national championship.”
(Were you in Hec Ed last year when the Huskies clinched the title?) “Yeah.”
(What was that like?) “It was fun. It was fun following it. The team had a lot of fun. All the hard work paid off. I just want to bring that same excitement back here.”
(Were you thinking next year I want to be a part of that?) “Yeah. I was on my visit at the time so I kind of felt like I was on the team at the same time. It was a lot of energy. It was fun. I just want to have that same experience.”
(Had you committed before that visit?) “Yeah.”
(Did that game re-affirm your decision?) “Yeah. That kind of made it clear in my mind that I made the right decision to stay home. At Washington, we’re kind of building our own powerhouse so really you don’t have to go anywhere else for that.”
(What are your thoughts of your new team?) “We’re going to be a really good team, a real talented team. We all get along. That’s a really good thing. We all get along. We all hang out. That’s going to be big part of our team chemistry. We’re going to be a fast team. A really fast team. We’re really going to push the ball. And our bigs are real mobile.”
(What’s your vision of basketball and how the game should be played?) “I try to see things two or three plays ahead, especially on defense. I look at my role as I try to give my teammates a better shot. I’m always trying to make things easier for my teammates so they don’t have to work as hard. I feel like I have to work the hardest on the court. Whether that be talking and making them move so that it’s easier for my teammates to score.”

(Who has surprised you so far?) “I’d say C.J. (Wilcox) because he’s real athletic and he’s a shooter. Probably one of the best I’ve seen. I’d say Clarence (Trent). He’s real good. He’s a good rebounder. Tyreese (Breshers) is real strong and athletic. Don’t be surprised if he does well. He’s playing really good. He’s actually trying to get into shape a little bit more, but he’s really good.”
(Being the point guard, do you sense your teammates taking cues from you?) “I think they look at me as their floor general. They know what I can do best. They know I can help them make their lives easier. They know I’m not going to come in and try to score 50 points or anything like that. I’m going to score when I have to score, but they know I’m going to come in and help them. That’s my goal: Help them do what they want to do.”
(How much pressure do you feel being the top recruit?) “I don’t feel pressure at all. People try to put a lot of pressure on you, but that’s just all media and it all comes with being here. But basketball is always basketball. That’s what my AAU coach always tells me. Basketball is always basketball. It’s always going to be the same. Just play how you know to play. And hope that it’s going to take you far.”
(Was it easy to come in and in a sense take a leadership role?) “Yeah. The first time I played with them, I just kind of felt things out. But they started talking to me and I started talking to them and we built a friendship after that. That first open gym, we built a friendship immediately. I kind of felt comfortable right away and they felt comfortable with me. With them, they were probably thinking is he going to come in and try to score all the points or is he going to try to fit in. Once they know that I’m going to try to help them get better, it helped them. We built a friendship right away.”
(It sounds like you’re talking about building trust.) “Yeah. That’s everyday. That’s hanging out knowing that if they need a ride or something like that, you give it. We’re all brothers on this team. So that’s how we look at it. I think that’s going to help us this year. Our team chemistry is going to be really good.”
(Everyone raves about your court-vision and passing, are there other parts of your game that’s as good?) “I don’t know. I think I do everything well. I try to work on everything whether it’s shooting, finishing, seeing the court or playing defense. I try to do everything well. I also feel I can get better at every aspect.”
(Being a 17-year-old freshman, you’ve got to know the Pac-10 veterans will test you.) “I like it. It’s a competitive game. They’re going to come at me like this is a 17-year-old and I’m 21-year-old and they’re going to think of it as an advantage. But I’m a competitor. I’m not looking to lose or back down to anybody. I don’t feel like there’s any edge with any age. Basketball is basketball. That’s how I look at it.”
(So how tough are you?) “I’m real tough. I’m not going to back down from anybody. Basketball is the same at any age. Going into the NBA, LeBron (James) was 19 and everybody else was older and he didn’t back down from anybody.”
(I would think practicing against Venoy [Overton] everyday would make anybody tough?) “Oh yeah. He’s always going to give you energy, especially defensively. If you can deal with him, honestly I think you can deal with anybody in the country. He’s like the best defensive guard in the country. For real.”
(How important is it to you to start?) “It’s important. Like I said, you have to set your goals high and that’s one of them. We know it’s going to be a competition, but that’s only going to make our team better. There’s competition everywhere on this team. And that’s what you want. As a basketball player, you’ve got to love that. That’s why you play, to compete and get better every day.”
(During open gyms, do you play with Venoy or against him?) “I play mostly against him. I figure that’s going to be the pressure that I’m going to experience so I might as well get use to it.”
(How has it been?) “It’s been good. I just have to … let me put it like this, it’s new. I got use to it. Plus Avery (Bradley) [Gaddy’s former high school teammate] was a good defender also so I was kind of use to it a little bit. But (Overton) is definitely really good. You just got to find … I think every defensive player has a weakness so you just have to find it.”
(What’s your weakness? Your perimeter shot?) “No. If there is any weakness it would be on the defensive end.”
(Why is that?) “That’s because I wouldn’t say I’m not as quick as Isaiah (Thomas) or Venoy, but I’m going to have to guard players that are as quick as them. But that’s something I’ve been working on all summer. Coach (Lorenzo) Romar, we talked about that when I was recruiting. I’ve been working on that and I’ve improved a lot. Getting use to guard those guys during the summer has made it a lot easier for me.”
(Did you spend most of your summer here?) “Yeah. I was here all summer.”
(That had to be different for your because in the past you traveled the country with AAU teams, right?) “It was a lot different. But I did a lot of school and just working out. Being with the team and building chemistry. I thought it was a positive.”
(Just a few days before training camp, what are your thoughts?) “Nervous and excited all in one. But I’m more excited because I just want to bring us to where it started. And I think I can help the team get back there.”

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox


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