GUEST POST: A Starting Point


This is a GUEST POST by “DawgblawginIt” who is a frequent contributor in the Seattle Times comment sections and loves to check The Husky Haul daily. He decided to throw his hat into the rink when it comes to the “Starting Point Guard”. Enjoy! 

It is the question that has been on everybody’s mind and on the tip of every tongue.  It has been hotly debated in Seattle’s gyms, discussed in the national media and blogged about with veracity.  Fans on comment boards, reporters, players and just about everybody everywhere has an opinion.   Today is the start of Husky basketball season, so let’s take a look at that question.

This year, who is going to be the starting point guard for the University of Washington basketball team?

Some experts and long time fans say the question was answered in early September when Abdul Gaddy announced via Twitter that he was cleared by team Doctor Christopher Wahl, to play basketball and resume all basketball related activities.

Do you think it will be Washington’s returning junior point guard Abdul Gaddy?

Or perhaps you are in the camp that say the question was answered a year ago in October when Tony Wroten Jr. announced via news conference that he would stay loyal, stay home and play basketball at the University of Washington.

Do you think incoming Freshmen Tony Wroten Jr. will start?

Abdul Gaddy is the slow steady hand, he is the experienced junior who manages the point with a stable, slow, silky style.

Tony Wroten on the other hand is a freshman, fast, flashy and viscous.  He plays zoned out with killer instincts.

For as different as these two point guards are, they also have a lot in common.  Both are highly ranked in-state recruits who by battling back from tragic season ending knee injuries have shown great desire, perseverence and heart.

In an effort to find an answer to our question, let’s take a look an in depth look at these two talented point guards.

Maybe you will even think they both will start!


When it comes to experience 6’3″ 185lbs. Gaddy comes with a

stellar resume.  A 2009 McDonald highschool All-American he attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma Washington.  He was ranked the #2 point guard in the nation by Scout and was voted the 2008 Gatorade Washington state player of the year.

Some say he did not live up to expectation his freshmen year.  Still he performed in the most stable and predictable fashion especially given that he was just 17 years old and the youngest player in the league.  His freshmen year he averaged 3.9 points and 2.3 assists per game while playing on average 18.2 minutes per game.  By his sophmore year he increased his average to 8.5 points per game and 3.8 assists per game and with an assist to turnover ratio that averaged 3.1 he took very good care of the basketball.

Wroten at 6’5″ in height and weighing in at 205lbs. was an equally heralded recruit.  A local product from Garfield High he was ranked the #22 best player in the nation by ESPN.  He was arguably the best point guard in the class but due to injury his junior year he was only ranked the #6 point guard in the nation by ESPN.  This and a snub by the McDonalds All-American committee rankled Wroten and rightly so in many opinions.  To prove everyone wrong, Wroten peformed more than admirably in the Jordan Brand Classic where he scored 16 points and dished out 10 assists in a paltry 16 minutes.

In highschool, Wroten averaged 25 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game.

Both players had proven success in high school and garnered national media attention of an elite recruit.  Wroten does have a slight height advantage and this can translate into an ability to see over and read defenses.  Wroten’s additional size and weight also helps when being called on to finish in traffic or when trying to post up smaller guards.  This is great for the future, however, nothing can take the place of Gaddy’s proven experience at the college level.

Advantage Gaddy

Battling Back

It was during his sophmore year that Gaddy like Wroten suffered a tragic knee injury.  The ACL tear on January 4th was season ending.  He consulted team doctors and was advised surgery would be his only option.  Within a week he underwent surgery.  He quickly and bravely returned to be with the team, at practices, at games, he leaned heavily and benefited from the close knit team unity.  He spoke closely with Coach Romar and learned to watch the game from the perspective of a coach.  Gaddy says that during this period he gained a perspective that would not be possible from being on the court but could only be gained by being removed from it, watching it, analyzing and waiting.  This year, he looks to benefit from that wisdom.

In addition during this period Gaddy has gained another competitive advantage.  Like Wroten, in battling back from a crippling injury he showed great, great heart.  The physical hard work and the emotional pain that has to be endured to recover from this type of surgery shows and builds a special character that not many possess.  It is this quality that I hope to see most when it comes time during the season to persevere.  The time of game when it is won or lost, I completely think Gaddy will display this rare strength that was born of this experience.

Over the summer, while rehabilitating and preparing to rejoin the team, Gaddy has worked on his leadership, conditioning and his shot making abilities.  During summer league games Gaddy was constantly with teammates, laughing,  sharing encouraging words and good advice.   To improve his shot, Gaddy took a page out of, well, his own notebook!  When he wasn’t able to run lateral drills, he did run straight line drills, stairs and kept track of made shots with the goal of sinking 18,000 before the official start of practice.  Since practice has started Romar has reported that Gaddy has recovered well from his surgery and not showing any great restrictions in his play.  He is able to dunk off of his injured leg and this shows confidence and strength in his knee.

Wroten suffered his season ending knee injury playing football.  He missed his entire junior year of highshcool basketball.  At the time, he was ranked the #1 ranked basketball player in his class nationwide.  As a rising star, he was showing great heart and tenacity and in the process of pushing himself as an athlete, he suffered a crushing blow.

At such a young age, and after such a large fall, Wroten had to display an amazing level of maturity to battle back.  He underwent a similar surgery and recovery process as Gaddy.  From walking with crutches, to months of arduous and painful physical therapy, Wroten persevered.  He held onto his dream and believed.

On the wall of his highschool gym where he practice basketball there is a sign:  “Hard work beats great talent when great talent doesn’t work hard”.  Wroten not only came back from this injury, he came back stronger, quicker, faster and more determined.  Like the sign was there for all to see, so was Wroten’s performance on the court.  He persevered and prevailed all while under a great deal of media scrutiny.  In doing so, he has shown that talent, combined with hard work can stand up to great adversity and thrive.  Look for him to continue this on that court with the big purple W in the middle.

There is no doubt that both as players and people benefited from this experience.  This is a win/win situation.

Advantage – Gaddy & Wroten

Style of Play

As remarkably similar in pedigree and heart as these two players are, they could not be more different when it comes to their on-court playing styles.

Gaddy showed himself to be a pure traditional point guard in that he played with the ball and kept a slow pace.  At the same time, he showed great decision making and ball protection.  His has great court vision and although he does not have above average speed, he does display change of tempo on his drives and in his play.  This has the advantage of catching players off-guard.  He lulls them to sleep and then change gear to blow by defenders at opportune moments.  This is widely recognized as a useful skill and seen as more effective than a faster guard with only one speed.  He is very picky shooter and with a 50% field goal average last year, he showed good shot selection.  He likes pull up jumpers from 5 – 8 feet out and can drive to the lane and finish with a finger roll-esque layup that looks as smooth as silk.  At 31% his long ball shooting average leaves something to be desired.  With a low percent and a first step that is not lighting quick, look for Gaddy to remain a pass first orientated guard who picks his spots.

Wroten on the other hand is like a velociraptor.  Get in his way and he will eviscerate you.  Wroten likes to run.  He excels in the fast break.  He doesn’t have great court vision, he has court instincts.  His passes skills are way above average, unique and more importantly, effective.  He leads players perfectly and is aware of trailing players and players that will become open after he changes his position to create that opening.  When it is time to run, Wroten will shine.  In addition Wroten is not afraid to take it to the hoop and finish in traffic.  He will dunk on you, and then dunk on you again just to make sure everyone saw it.  He has no regard for his body.  He is sure to be one of the team’s leader in drawing foul calls and getting the other team in foul trouble and getting us to the double bonus quicker.  His strength is not shooting the long ball but look for him to shoot with confidence when he does.  Like Thomas who came before him, look for Romar to allow him to play his game.  This could lead to turnovers and it could lead to some missed or dropped passes, but the plus side is worth it.  In early season practice he has also been lauded for his defense, said to be able to turn mistakes into turnovers, look for him to be an instinctive defensive player.  Although he will have freshmen lapses, his height combined with his fast foot speed will allow him to be a great perimeter defender in both the zone and man to man defenses.

Gaddy and Wroten both bring a unique skill set that will benefit the University of Washington basketball team this year.  They represent a change of pace and a nightmare for opposing teams to adjust to as they substitute for each other.  Style of play is an important factor at different points of the game and in different situations.  If you want to have a stable, start, choose Gaddy.  If you want to have an explosive start, choose Wroten.  In this case, I think we go with the steady hand of Gaddy at point until Wroten proves his volatility is able to be controlled.  Stability is Gaddy’s trademark and with an 81% free throw average he is one of our top players from the line.

Advantage Gaddy


Gaddy is looking to live up to expectations and this may be the year that he puts it all together.  If he can do this he may be the driving force behind this teams success.  He has everything it takes but due to his recent recovery, it may take a while for him to reach the point where he feels 100% confidence in his abilities.  Look for him to stay true to his path and possibly exceed expectations by year end.  His reliability and especially his conference leading assist to turnover ratio may be enough to win him a permanent starting spot.  With so many quality players around him, he makes the most of every possession.

Much has been made in the media of the ridiculous expectations put on freshmen.  No problem for Wroten, look for him to ridiculously exceed expectations.  He will certainly bring ferocity and velocity.  There is no doubt this team can run and if our players can regularly handle his passes be on the lookout for an uncanny chemistry.  It is fully possible that with Wroten in the lineup, this team can have the type of formula that wins national titles.  However, this chemistry where the sum is greater than the parts is more likely later in the year.  Wroten also has great ball handling skills.  He will cross you over just so he can post a video of it on the internet.  This type of confidence is important and with practice at the college level Wroten’s handle should improve further but until that time turnovers may be an issue.

There are other intangibles that can only be answered on the court.  How healthy is Gaddy?  How will Wroten develop?  For now, we go with what we know.

Advantage – Gaddy

With Gaddy and Wroten, the University of Washington program now has two quality point guards that are talented, capable, healthy and able to start. So, whether you are going with Gaddy or rooting for Wroten, the question still remains.

Note:  With Wroten’s recent minor surgery, Romar has named Gaddy the starter for the exhibition game vs. SPU on November 4th but Wroten is said to be recovering quickly and so the question will remain relavant for the regular season, conference play and hopefully the NCAA tournament.