Jan. 26, 2010
By Jerome Johnson
SEATTLE - January has traditionally been a very generous month for Abdul Gaddy. Even though the team is struggling to find consistency this month, he is slowly but surely emerging into the player he was expected to be.
In the Arizona series he had his coming out party. Facing hostile crowds he scored a career high 13 points, showing glimpses of greatness. The thing that is most impressive is that Gaddy was only 17 at the time.
It takes a special person to accomplish the things he has at such a young age. Most of his fellow freshmen are older, but age has not stopped Gaddy. Scout.com rated him the second rated point guard overall after his senior year at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash.
He did the high school all-star circuit following the season and was the co-MVP of the Nike Hoops Summit game. Also, he participated in the Jordan Brand All Star game in Madison Square Garden and was a McDonald's All-American - all as a 17 year old. Many players in this current freshman class are 18 years old and on the verge of turning 19. Some feel that those players would have an advantage due to the fact that maturity comes with age, however Gaddy is handing himself well in college.
Today (January 26), he is finally celebrating his 18th birthday. As he matures into adulthood, he is very excited to be older and wiser. After being asked if his game will be better as an 18 year old, he said, "I don't know. I hope so. I hope I just get a lot better. I'm excited being a year older. I just feel blessed to be able to reach 18."
Fortunately for the Huskies, Gaddy has played very well on his previous birthdays. The last time he played on his birthday was in high school.
"I think I had my career high of 45 that game," he remembers of his 17th birthday. "I tend to play well on my birthday."
A birthday spark from Gaddy is maybe what the Huskies need to get back on the winning track. Out of all the birthday gifts that he may receive, the most important gift of all is getting a win.
"It will be good. I think that will really help us, especially getting this win against Seattle U with Coach [Cameron] Dollar being there. It will be fun to get a win against him. I think that will help us with our confidence."
Win or lose, Gaddy will spend time with his family after the game. He has narrowed his post-game dinner choices to Red Robin, Red Lobster or Applebee's. Spending time with the family will be the capstone to celebrating the 18th year of Abdul's life, but if the Huskies pull out a win, it will make his birthday that much sweeter.
At this point in the season, the Huskies' margin of error is very slight if they want to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. With help from the rabid Dawg Pack and some birthday success, the Huskies hope to rebound and start the turn around to their season tonight.