Montlake Madness Speaks to Abdul Gaddy

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Abdul Gaddy is the highest-rated recruit to come play basketball for UW since Spencer Hawes. Billed as a poised, pass-first point guard, Gaddy should compete for a starting spot next month when the Huskies tip off the 2009/2010 season. /

What can’t come through in an interview, but is clear when you watch him work out, or speak with him in person, is that Abdul has a presence about him. I was glad to catch up with him recently. Here’s what we discussed:

Montlake Madness: What’s your philosophy on leading a team? How do you approach the game to make the players around you better?

Abdul Gaddy: You just gotta come out, play basketball, make the right plays. If somebody has an easier shot than you, you just gotta give them the ball and make plays for them.

It’s all about reading the defense. I like to say that I can read plays three or four steps ahead. That’s what my coach tried to teach me to do: try to see the play before it happens. So, that’s what I try to do. I just go out and try to make the right plays. I’m not trying to get my points or anything like that.

MM: When is the time on the floor that you say to yourself “It’s time for me to score now”?

AG: When it’s time to score is, honestly, if I see my team struggling and nobody’s scoring and everything, I say, okay now I gotta turn it up and be more aggressive. If I make more plays then it makes their shot easier where they just get layups now. They don’t have to worry about making a tough jump shot or anything. I could worry about taking that shot. So, I try to relieve the pressure off my teammates.

MM: When you’ve got the ball in your hands and you’ve got, say, a teammate down low, and, say, Isaiah to your left, and maybe another option too, what’s the thought process for you as far as ball distribution? Is it a conscious thing? Or is passing done completely within the flow of the game?

AG: Well, Isaiah is a good enough player that he can score whenever he wants to. Our offense is like kind of generated around him and Quincy. So where those guys are. . . Defenses are gonna key on those two, but they’re good enough players where they’re making plays for us too. So, if they see somebody is wide open because they haven’t been getting touches or anything, defenses are going to be on them, and they’re going to be able to pass the ball for us to have open shots. They’re good enough players to make all of us better.

MM: What’s more important to you starting games or finishing games?

AG: Finishing games. Because that’s where the games mostly are won. Y’know, a lot of people will say a lot of stuff, like “who’s gonna start?” Honestly, I really don’t care if I start or not. A lot of people have expectations…

MM: You really don’t care? Opening night, there’s no part of you that wants to be…?

AG: Nah… I mean, there’s gonna be people who would say something like “Oh, why didn’t you start?,” but this is a team thing between us. This is our brotherhood. I feel like I’ve earned my respect to get playing time. It don’t really matter if I start or not. I deserve playing time. That’s what I’m playing for. I’m playing for playing time. And, to help the team win.

MM: Finishing games, though. That makes a difference?

AG: Yes. I wanna be in the game at the end of the game when Coach is like “I need somebody that’s gonna help me win this game.” And I wanna be like “Coach, I’m gonna help you win this game.”

Thanks for coming!