I made the case several weeks ago that those expecting to see Pondexter putting up bigger numbers as a senior got a glimpse of that during the last half of last season, when it seemed like the ball was in usually in Quincy’s hands as games hung in the balance.
But, for the Huskies to have a chance of reaching their potential, and for Quincy to have a good chance at hearing his name called during the first round of the NBA Draft, a big season from Pondexter, starting from day one, is a must. Here’s our conversation:
Montlake Madness: Other than winning the Pac-10 championship last season, tell me the high point of your first three years playing for the Huskies.
Quincy Pondexter: You know what? Just bouncing back. Rejuvenating the whole program. Being a part of doing that is something I take a lot of pride in, and it’s really helped me grow up a lot off the court.
MM: And what about low point for you?
QP: At about the midpoint of my freshman year, I did what a lot of freshman do. I pouted. I put my head down. Coach helped me fight through it, though. And, I think during my sophomore year there was some down time. I expected a lot more (out of myself). Not everything works out that way, though. To bounce back from that was amazing.
MM: As the only senior on the team, it’s expected that you’ll be a leader on this team. Explain specifically what that means. What things do you think a person does or says that adds that all-important leadership quality to team?
QP: As a leader you have to be pretty much like another member of the coaching staff. You have to do everything right. You can’t be down on yourself, and you have to bring the best out of guys on the team. A leader is like a father figure and brother to the other guys.
MM: Does that extend to off-the-court activities as well?
QP: Of course, you still have to handle yourself in a responsible manner off the court. The good leaders are a good example off the court too. You can’t go out, and can’t do things a lot of college students do. Having a good leader off the court is just as important as on the court.
MM: Your father and uncle were big-time ballers. What did you learn by having them as family members that other players might not have learned growing up in a different family?
QP: I learned a lot. My godfather is Glenn McDonald who played for one of the Celtics championship teams (in 1975-76). I’ve learned from their mistakes. They all left college early to enter the draft, and I think they regret that. That’s one of the things that’s kept me at UW. And, I’ve listened to Coach Romar to become the best player I can be. My parents’ and godfather’s mentorship has been great to keep a good head on my shoulders.
MM: There was speculation early in your time here that you might not be a four-year player at UW. At what point did it become 100% clear to you that you were going to stay with the program for your entire eligibility?
QP: After my sophomore year, I really considered it. I felt I was more prepared for the NBA Draft. But, every year something brings me back. I wanted to leave my mark on program. One of the reasons I’ve stayed is that I don’t feel like I’ve done enough. There’s unfinished business. It’s made me a better person on and off the court.
After this past year, there was a good possibility I could’ve left. I went to Coach Romar’s office and he had papers ready for me to sign. But, I said “I don’t want to leave.”
MM: There are some who would call your play over the course of three years inconsistent. Do you agree, and why or why not?
QP: I agree with that completely. As I’ve said, I’m my biggest critic. When those games come when I don’t score as much, maybe the other team scouted me better and I had to find open teammates. I just wanted my team to win. Whether I scored 0 or 30, I really didn’t care about stats, which is why you might say I was inconsistent.
MM: What kind of statistics would be a personal success for you this season?
QP: I can’t really say exact numbers. Our team hasn’t really come together in a full practice yet. I can’t really give numbers, but I’m going to have to be more aggressive on the offensive end, rebound more, and my assists will go up with more touches. It’ll be a significant increase, but I can’t tell exact numbers. . .
Part II comes later this week. Thanks for coming!