Feb. 15, 2010
By Christian Caple
The UW Daily
It was at USC last season, with the Huskies just four wins away from locking up the Pac-10 title but struggling to score against a tough Trojans defense. Jon Brockman had only six points. Justin Dentmon couldn't crack double figures.
So Pondexter, the fourth scoring option on that team, took the game over and scored a game-high 22 points to lead UW to a gritty 60-51 win that propelled them to a 4-0 finish and a Pac-10 regular-season conference title.
"When it really hit me with Quincy last year was at USC," Romar said. "... He had been scoring, he had been rebounding. When we had trouble scoring down there, and he took the team and put us on his back, with Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon on the team, and hit big shots for us -- that's when I thought in my mind, he turned the corner."
Pondexter remembers, too.
"Everything started to click," he said. "I found myself; I found a confidence. My teammates needed me to step up. It was kind of the missing piece to winning the Pac-10 championship."
He`s the centerpiece now. Pondexter collected his fourth Pac-10 Player of the Week award of the season for his play in wins over Arizona and Arizona State last week, joining just four other players in conference history to earn that honor four times in one season.
Nobody's ever won it five times. And all four guys who won it four times before Pondexter went on to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year.
That's something that is a very realistic possibility for Pondexter, who is third in the conference in scoring (20.6 points per game) and in rebounding (8.3 per game).
Other candidates include Stanford's Landry Fields, who leads the conference in scoring, at 23 points per game; WSU's Klay Thompson, who is second in scoring but fifth in conference games only; and Cal's Jerome Randle, who is second in the Pac-10 in scoring in conference games only, with 18.9 per game.
"It's all been a blessing," Pondexter said. "It's all been a dream. Sometimes I can't believe I'm in the position I'm in right now. It's crazy to live how it is right now."
Pondexter can be a bit of a joker, usually sharing a laugh or two with the assembled media before his weekly Tuesday press conference.
One thing everyone learned yesterday? The guy loves candy.
After telling everyone how much he loves all sorts of sweets -- from sours to chocolates -- Pondexter reflected on the dilemma that Halloween causes him.
"I love Halloween," he said. "Everything's on sale, but it always makes me sad, like, a month after. They always get rid of all the cheap candy and stuff, so I have to go buy it for full price in the stores."
Reach Sports Editor Christian Caple at firstname.lastname@example.org.