Quincy Pondexter Is All-World Right Now In Every Way But One


"“I believe this loss is my fault. . . I could have been a better leader. We could have gotten a lot more stops on the defensive end. My team played great, but I just think it’s all my fault.”"

–Quincy Pondexter after the Huskies’ loss to Texas Tech in which he scored a career-high 31 points

"“I’ll take the fault for that one too. I wasn’t making shots. Their team was zoning us, zoning me, and I didn’t knock down my shots. . .”"

–Quincy Pondexter on the 14-2 run by Cal State Northridge to start the second half of an eventual 88-76 Husky victory in which Pondexter had 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks

Both of these quotes were delivered earnestly by Quincy, a class act of a guy who takes his role as the senior leader of this team very seriously, during a week of games that led to Pondexter being named Pac-10 Player of the Week.

By all accounts, Pondexter is a nearly flawless teammate, an extraordinarily hard worker, and is having an All-American type of season so far.

On the court, Quincy’s been everything a leader needs to be, carrying the team on his back for stretches. And, off the court, who could blame the guy for being so humble and deflecting criticism from his teammates?

Part of being a great leader, though, is about pushing your teammates and demanding excellence. And, sometimes, I think, it’s about not letting them off the hook so easily by accepting blame for everything that’s gone wrong. Particularly when it sounds as preposterous (given his superb play) as Pondexter’s statements last week.

Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, Kobe Bryant: not always the most well-liked leaders. Hell, Jordan was often no friendlier to teammates than opponents. But, all of them knew that the player in the best position to demand excellence was the best guy on the team.

I just wonder if Quincy’s really doing the team any good when he shoulders so much of the blame. Yes, a leader fesses up when he blows it, but he also knows how to hold a guy’s feet to the fire a little bit. It’s possible to demand accountability without throwing your teammates under the bus.

Sometimes, being a leader means doing exactly what Quincy’s been doing, shouldering the load on the court and off. But, other times, it means pushing your teammates to be as terrific as you are.