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May 17, 2010 at 5:10 AM

Ryan Appleby Working With Abdul Gaddy, Quincy Pondexter

[Programming Note: We’re rescheduling today’s Live Chat to later this week.]
Had a chance to catch up with former Washington Husky Ryan Appleby (left) on Sunday night and we talked about his work with UW senior Quincy Pondexter and freshman Abdul Gaddy and helping them improve their perimeter shot.
In just three seasons (2006-08), Appleby became the most prolific three-pointer shooter in school history. He holds UW records for most all-time three-pointers (231) and attempts (559), most three-pointers in a season (84 in 2007) and most treys in a game (nine of 15 against Oregon State on Feb. 16, 2008).
Appleby worked with Pondexter last summer and the UW senior forward improved dramatically as a three-point shooter. He converted just 3 of 14 (.214) treys as a junior and 18 of 51 (.353) during the 2009-10 season.
Gaddy is hoping to make similar improvements. Last season he shot 3 of 20 (.150) behind the arc, which was a team low among players who had taken at least three attempts.

(When did you start working with Pondexer and Gaddy?)
“I trained with Quincy last summer and trained with him again this year probably I’d say a little over a month after the season until he went down to LA with his agent and now he’s getting ready to do his draft workouts. So I trained with him almost about a year now and I’ve been working with Abdul here and there when we’ve both had a chance. It’s just been tough with their training schedule and what they have going in right now. It’s always pretty busy in the spring time for them. But we’ve got in some shooting training with him just working on his shot.”

(What are you working on with Gaddy?)
“Basically I break everything down with my shooting training whether I’m training a 10-year-old or a 45-year-old. It’s all the same. I break all the basic fundamental things down of shooting to make sure when we go do the more higher level drills and game-type of stuff, then you can keep that form consistent whether you’re standing in one spot dribbling or coming off of screens. You’re going to have the same form every time. So I do a lot of form shooting with those guys.”

(Evaluate Gaddy’s shot and tell me what’s not working.)
“He consistent in a lot of areas that make you miss consistently. I guess that would be the best way to put it. A lot of the things that he does are actually really easy to fix and I think he’s seen that so far to where he’s become a lot more consistent of a shooter. I think throughout the summer if he keeps working on some of those things he does inconsistently, then he should be fine when the season comes around this year.”

(What did you do with Pondexter?)
“Kind of the same thing I’m doing with Abdul. Basically I work on the things that I know mechanically in the shot that is making them miss and I try to fix those to make sure they do those things consistently the right way to make shots. With Quincy, it was a lot of form shooting. The muscle memory comes around and they get better at doing those things that they’ve been working on and we start to do higher level drills. Quincy’s things that he was doing inconsistently are different than Abdul’s. It’s the same type of drills, but just concentrating on different parts of the shot.”

(Did you have to completely remake Pondexter’s shot?)
“It was more just changing a few things here and there. With anybody that I’ve ever worked with, I never really totally reconstructed their shot. It’s more giving them certain tips or tools to use to make sure that they’re more consistent in making shots.”

(What did you do that helped Pondexter develop a three-pointer?)

“Basically we started from about five feet in and then we worked ourselves out to the three-point line. Once he remembered what he was supposed to do from five feet to 10 feet and 15 feet, then we went out to the three-point line. He took the same things that I was telling him when we were shooting it closer (to the basket) and applied those things at the three-point line, which made him a more consistent three-point shooter than he was.”

(Why can’t players figure this out for themselves?)
“They’ve always said shooting is an art and it kind of is. Unless you’ve really done it, it’s tough to explain to somebody about how to do it. There’s a lot of other factors that go into shooting besides somebody sitting down and reading a book that tells you how to shoot a ball. Especially in this day and age. There’s a lot of guys that are really good athletes and they haven’t spent a lot of time on their shooting. If you try to take them and put them into a shooting form that’s straight out of a book, it’s going to be really robotic. They’re not going to be able to do it. They’re used to being athletic and just reacting. So you kind of have to take their shot and give them different tools or tricks of the trade to help them make shots consistently. I think it’s tough for somebody’s whose never been a shooter to teach somebody how to do it.”

(Are you saying anybody can become a better than average shooter?)
“I’d say if they are a fairly decent athlete. What you got to remember is some of these guys like Abdul and Quincy are good athletes so a lot of the hand-eye coordination and the depth perception things that you need to have. Being a good shooter kind of comes along with being a good athlete a lot of times. So it’s easier to speed up the process with those guys and make them better shooters quicker. With some people it that might not be as athletic or might not have the same basketball minds, it takes a little longer. But you can improve. Not everyone is going to lead the country in three-point shooting. But for a lot guys it’s not even about that. It’s getting them to keep the defense honest. If the defense thinks they can hit outside shots, it opens up the rest of their game.”

(If you had to put percentages on it, how much of shooting is mechanics, athleticism, confidence and dumb luck?)
“As far as the luck goes, I think that’s zero percent. The harder you work, the more luck you create for yourself. I think athleticism is probably 30 percent. Mechanics I would probably say is between 30-40 percent. There’s certain guys that you look at their shot and you go man they got really good form so how come they don’t make shots? So the mental aspect does come into it big time too. If you watch a guy like a Ray Allen and he can shoot 2 for 21 and the next night he 16 for 18, that’s a big confidence thing. I’d say it’s 30 percent confidence.”

(When it’s all said and done, what type of a shooter can Gaddy become?)
“If he keeps continuing to work on it over this year, the next year and a couple of years I think he can become a really good shooter. Is he going to lead the country in three-point percentage? No. But are defenders going to have to be out there guarding him because they know he can make that outside shot? Yeah definitely. If you look at a guy like Jason Kidd who I think is 38 years old. I think this is the best year he’s ever had at shooting three-pointers. I think some people progress and some people stop progressing. I think Abdul is one of those guys that will continually progress over the remainder of his basketball career how ever many years that is. And he’ll become a better three-point shooter if he continues to work on it.”

(Given just a few months, what type of shooter can Gaddy become next season?)
“I can’t remember what Abdul’s percentage was from the three-point line. He didn’t take a lot, but it wasn’t that great. I definitely think he should go up somewhere between 10-15 percent on his three-point percentage if he continues to work on it through the summer.”

(Do you also help guys with their mid-range game?)
“Oh yeah. I worked with Quincy a lot on ball handling and one-on-one moves and ways to create your shot. A lot of guys in high school that are pretty good athletes, they get so used to scoring off of their athleticism that when they get to the next level and when they have a guy that’s almost as athletic or just as athletic as them, then they struggle at first and they have to learn ways to create their own shot. So I deal with that a fair amount. Whatever they ask me to work on, I work on with them.”

(Are you hoping to work with more players?)
“Yeah. I don’t really ask them if they want to work. It’s kind of like if they ask me, I’ll do it. But I’m not going to be out there chasing them to do it. If they want to come in and put the work in, I’ll do it.”

(Do you think you have the blessing of the UW coaching staff?)
“Oh yeah. Definitely. Yup. Especially after working with Quincy. I think that helped. Any coach wants their guy to be in the gym all the time and it’s another avenue to get their guys in the gym.”

(Are you doing this as a business or as a hobby?)
“I train other people and make money off of it. Obviously I know college guys don’t have any money and these guys play at the U-Dub so I never charged any of those guys. I basically just do this on the side from my other basketball training.”

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy


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