Washington’s Abdul Gaddy was such an in demand point guard that the CEO of FedEx, a Memphis supporter, went out of his way to recruit him. Gaddy and his ex-AAU teammate and best friend Avery Bradley, playing for Texas were five-star prospects in 2009 Class.
But Gaddy and Avery started off with different beginning in college. Gaddy was plagued with foul faults and low points while Avery had soaring scores. Although he was happy for his friend, Gaddy was worried about his self performance.
“I’d call Avery sometimes and say to him, ‘Man, I don’t know what do,’” Gaddy said. “College was so different, and I didn’t know how to handle it at times. Avery would advice, ‘Just play off of instinct. Have a swagger like you’re the best player on the floor. That’s how you did it in high school.’”
Although Bradley’s team Texas had less success in the NCAA tournament than Washington, he managed to jump into the first round of the NBA recruit, where the Celtics selected him.
Gaddy had no other option but to stay in Washington’s backcourt alternation. Although it is not a pleasing story to tell, it serves as a reminder that not every All-American will right away prosper in college, especially when, like Gaddy, they’re trying to grab the game’s toughest position as the youngest player.
Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar says ‘09-’10 was a learning experience for Gaddy, who wasn’t able to play with the same fluid style that impressed evaluators on the AAU circuit. “Abdul is going to be just fine,” Romar said. “He wants to execute. He’s a perfectionist, and along with that at times, maybe you’re just thinking so much about doing things right that you don’t free yourself up mentally to just go play.”
Romar helped Gaddy, following the season, to find ways to play free and easy, or, as Gaddy calls it, “getting my swagger back,” encouraged him how to refine his shooting stroke and enlisted former Husky gunner Ryan Appleby for help.