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November 3, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Abdul Gaddy: “When the game is on the line … I want to be in.”

Washington freshman Abdul Gaddy knew nothing would be given to him when he chose Washington after de-committing from Arizona.
Several people questioned his decision to join the Huskies which had a pair of standout point guards in Isaiah Thomas and Venoy Overton, but Gaddy said he picked UW because of a closeness he felt with coach Lorenzo Romar.
Gaddy said he’s not upset he won’t start Wednesday’s exhibition against Central Washington, but admitted it will be strange to begin the game on the bench. The last time Gaddy didn’t start, he was a freshman at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep.
(Gaddy on having to fight for a fight for job) “It’s different. It’s hard. It’s kind of like some people would ask why would you do that. But I’m looking at it as a positive. They make me better every day in practice. Guarding Isaiah and playing against the defensive pressure of Venoy, they make you better on both sides of the game. And that just helps me go farther … to help me go to the pro level.”
(On playing Central) “It’s going to be a new experience for all the freshmen, especially me being in front a lot of my friends and family. So that will be a new thing. It will be fun. A lot more people coming to watch play.”
(Does the team have something to prove?) “It’s going to be like our second test. We had our first test with the scrimmage. This is going to be like our second test playing against a really good, solid team. So we get to come out, show what we’re made of and see where we’re at. We’re not where we’re supposed to be. … We’re improving each day. So this is going to be our second test to see where we’re at.”
(Sounds like it’s a redemption game?) “We didn’t really have a great start, but we had the flu and everything so our chemistry wasn’t really there. But having this week and half of practice and getting after it, I think our chemistry has really grown a lot and people will see that. I think this will be a much better game for us.”

(What’s the difference between coming off the bench and starting?)
“Coming off the bench, you can give a spark of the bench. And being a starter, you’re just like starting right away. But coming off the bench can be the same way. My coach always said, it’s not how you start the game it’s how you finish the game. When the game is on the line, I want to be in the game and hopefully coach puts me in the game when the game is on the line. That’s where I want to be.”

QUOTES FROM ROMAR’S PRESS CONFERENCE.

(What can Gaddy give as a reserve?) “That calmness. Your offense is in good hands because he’s not going to make very many mistakes. He’s going to get the ball to the right people. He’s going to calm everyone else down. If things aren’t going well, he can take over the game himself. So he’s got that uniqueness about him.”
(When did you notice he was a leader?) “When he was in high school. You watch him play in high school and you just see. We watched him play many times and in a situation he just had that poise about him and just that way about him. He was just always in control of the situation. What he does just like what Jon Brockman did in high school and what Isaiah Thomas does it transfers to any game situation. Jon Brockman gets 10 rebounds the other night in 19 minutes. Surprise. It does’t matter where he plays, he’s going to rebound. Doesn’t matter where Isaiah Thomas plays, he’s going to score. It doesn’t matter where Abdul Gaddy plays, he’s going to run a team and bring calm to the storm. That’s what he does.
(Do you coach Gaddy differently?) “Yeah, when someone really has a niche I think the way you coach them is you back off of them and let them perform their niche. Isaiah Thomas, don’t give him a 1,000 rules on offense. … You kind have got to give him structure and then let him go.
“With Venoy defensively and even Venoy offensively with his great push of the basketball you can’t just give him absolutes. You got to point in a direction and just say kind of get there with your own ability.
“Well with Abdul you kind of give Abdul the blueprint of what you want your house to look like and then you decorate it the way you want it. That’s what you do with him. And you’ll have a pretty nice custom decorated house too because he knows what he’s doing.”
TUESDAY EVENING LINKS:
— Here’s our story on the starting lineups and today’s big news.
ESPN Insider, which is normally a pay site, offers a free glimpse at a UW story with a breakdown on each player and grades by position. ESPN has other in-depth looks of Pac-10 teams (for a few) on the website.
SunBreak.com writer Seth Kolloen gives a UW preview.
Sam Saig at AllPac10.com picks Washington to win the conference.

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