Take a look at the Washington Huskies rosters in years’ past, finding their most valuable player was an easy task. Isaiah Thomas last year, Quincy Pondexter the year before, three years of Jon Brockman, and Brandon Roy back in 2005-2006.
This season, even though it’s early, the Huskies are so loaded with fire power that picking their most valuable player isn’t quite as easy.
C.J. Wilcox came out firing in the first three games averaging 19.3 points and shooting 61.1 percent building off last years all Pac-10 freshman team season.
Terrence Ross is being hyped as a potential lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft; he showed why by scoring 24 points on 6-8 three-point shooting against Portland on Monday.
Yet while Ross and Wilcox thrilled the crowds in Alaska Airlines Arena, it was a player some may consider an after-thought coming into the season that really made the Huskies flow in their first three games.
Junior point guard Abdul Gaddy has been a major disappointment in the eyes of Husky fans. A McDonalds All-American in high school from Tacoma, he came in with high expectations. In his freshman season, at the age of 17, the youngest player in college hoops, he struggled averaging just 3.6 points and 2.3 assists per game starting most of the season. Last season he came out much improved, but his season was cut short when he tore his ACL just as Pac-10 play began.
The addition of Tony Wroten Jr. further allows fans to ignore what Gaddy means to the Huskies. Wroten comes in with similar accolades as Gaddy did two years ago, but his fanfare has him as one of the fan favorites already. He makes incredible passes, looks to make the spectacular play and is all about putting on a show.
Gaddy does none of that; he is the calm in the storm, he is smooth like butter and he’s the key to the Huskies offense this year; and arguably is the reason for the Huskies struggles last season, where the Huskies were 10-3 with Gaddy and 10-7 without him in the regular season.
When he went down last season, he was among the nation’s leaders in assist to turnover ratio, at better than 3 assists per turnover. Though Isaiah Thomas stepped in and played the point guard position at a high level, Gaddy brings something to the table that is hard to replace.
He is like a surgeon on the court, he knows that every possession is valuable and he refuses to waste any opportunity to score points. While Wroten and Ross make plays that make the crowd go wild, Gaddy drives to the lane and puts up a beautiful floater that looks effortless.
It’s just that ability to make every play look easy that gets Gaddy overlooked. Against Portland on Monday, Wroten threw an alley-oop opportunity to Gaddy, who rather than risk missing the basket on a highlight reel dunk; instead just guided the ball off the glass for an easy bucket.
Gaddy is exactly what the Huskies need at point guard; he’s a field general, Lorenzo Romar has said he’s become like a coach on the floor. Sitting out last season Gaddy could only help by being vocal, he’s carried that into this season and onto the court.
The Huskies have plenty of scorers that Gaddy doesn’t have to put up points for Washington to win; instead, through three games he’s filled up his entire stat-line; he’s averaging 12.3 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.
He may never get the recognition he deserves at Washington when he’s on the court with players like Thomas, Ross or Wroten; next to them he almost looks slow. A better word for Gaddy’s play is rhythmic, and that rhythm he plays with is the perfect antidote when the Huskies get out of control.
Gaddy won’t lead the Huskies in scoring, he won’t be in many highlights, he may not even garner many post-season accolades; but when all is said and done, the Huskies need Abdul Gaddy more than anyone else on their roster.