The Washington Huskies basketball team is an interesting team to try and figure out (and something we’ll try to figure out more in the coming weeks). They seem to be a lot like last years team thus far, can’t win on the road and look like they’re a top-10 team at home. But, I, and I imagine the rest of the good guys, think that this team is better. One of the reasons for that is Abdul Gaddy.
Last year, Gaddy came to UW as a 17 year old and didn’t live up to expectations. He was ranked as the number 2 point guard in his recruiting class and was thought to be the player that would take the Huskies to the next level. He did win a starting job but this was more due to the fact that Overton was more effective coming off the bench than Gaddy being effective as a starter.
Gaddy’s jumper was pretty horrid last year and he seemed to lack quickness. He did appear to make some progress towards the end of the year, but he was a big question entering the year.
Now, it appears things are different. Frankly, he looks like a completely different player. Through 11 games Gaddy has shot 54% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc. This summer, he was helped out by Ryan Appleby with his shooting, much like Quincy Pondexter last year. Now, his shot looks almost as natural as anyone’s on the team.
The confidence from his jumper has given the rest of his game life. He’s put his amazing ball-handling skills on display and finds the open man better than any Husky point guard has since Will Conroy.
In Wednesday’s game against Nevada, Gaddy’s shot wasn’t falling. He had a few looks from deep where he was pretty open but failed to knock them down. Last year, that would have been more of the same. But, this year it was different. He still had his confidence. He was still taking the shots and thinking they were going in. He was still shaking defenders with ease and finding the open man.
My dad always used to tell me that sports were 50% mental, 50% physical. When you’re talking about the college or professional level this probably is an exaggeration. But, Gaddy is an example of just how important confidence is. That confidence makes him fit in with the rest of the team. And that confidence is the reason why I think these Huskies could make a deep run in March. Deeper than any Husky team in recent memory.