Campers cut and dashed Monday at Lorenzo Romars Basketball Camp inside Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Finally, Washington point guard Abdul Gaddy doesnt have to watch with envy.
Gaddys slight scar on his left knee is the pressing reminder of his anterior cruciate ligament tear from January that ended his season. Well-padded crutches aided him through Hec Eds back halls a week after the injury.
Monday, he sat comfortably in the teams lounge following his coaching duties at the camp.
Gaddy can now cut, run, jump and slide, but no contact yet. Hes on a daily grind toward Sept. 15 when basketball practice starts. By then, he anticipates being able to play every day.
I have no reason to come back too early, no reason to be out there trying to play right now, Gaddy said.
As with most injuries, Gaddys has delivered a modicum of perspective. Hes not taking the previously assumed right of playing basketball for granted. Instead, he drills with trainer Pat Jenkins, performing simple tasks those campers would do. Rebound, outlet, run the floor, cut to the basket and lay the ball in. Then backpedal and do it over. Gaddys intent is to retrain his knee to make the basketball maneuvers again commonplace.
My leg is getting stronger and its going to continue to get stronger; it can be stronger than before, really, Gaddy said.
Hell need it to compete. Washington shuffles in six freshman to the previously experienced squad. Notable is point guard Tony Wroten. Where he and Gaddy fit in the equation is exceptional offseason fodder.
Gaddy knows about being an incoming, vastly hyped freshman. Hes two years removed from being the No. 2 point guard in the land according to scouting rankings — for the little they are worth — behind John Wall, who played a year at Kentucky then went No. 1 overall in the 2010 NBA draft.
The departure of Isaiah Thomas leaves Gaddy among the franchise faces, if not the main one. Hell be part of a smaller group of upperclassmen who need to shepherd the newbies.
Some guys, when you come in as a freshman, you come in as a highly ranked player, so, the attitude is, ‘Im going to come in and just do me,’ Gaddy said. With coach (Lorenzo) Romar, all that is thrown out the window when we start practice. (It’s about) buying into team and buying into winning.
The main thing you have to convince them, (is) team success brings individual success.”
Gaddy was always a willing convert to team-before-numbers philosophy. He has stored tricks, but even his no-look passes are thrown with moderate pizazz.
Anticipating Gaddy as one of next seasons leaders is a rightful assumption. Unless youre him.
When asked who the voice of the team will be without effervescent Thomas around, Gaddy is reticent out of polite deference.
I wouldnt want to say myself, Gaddy said. All that stuff will come. Well find out who our leaders are, who our scorers are, everyone will fill into their roles as fast as we can so we can hit our stride going into conference.
Thats where he stumbled last year before the injury. After a steady non-conference performance, Gaddy went cold heading into the new year. His last five games, he was 1-for-12 from behind the 3-point line. Prior, he was 12-for-20, showing a new dynamic to his game.
Gaddys ability to hit open 3s and play off the ball will be crucial this season. Otherwise, he could see his minutes reduced on a team overloaded with wings and guards.
The last two years weve won the Pac-10 (tournament) championship, Gaddy said. We dont want to lose that because we lost Isaiah, we lost Matt (Bryan-Amaning), Venoy (Overton) we lost Justin (Holiday). We have to keep going. So everybody has to be on the same page.
It will largely be up to him to make that happen.