June 14, 2010
Abdul Gaddy just wrapped up his freshman year of college and now begins his quest to represent the United States on the Under 18 National Team for the summer. Nineteen player, including Gaddy and incoming freshman Desmond Simmons, will tryout in San Antonio, Texas starting on June 14, with camp running through June 25. After that, the 12 players that make the squad will play in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship (Men) San Antonio from June 26-30. GoHuskies.com caught up with the sophomore-to-be before he left campus for the summer. Here are his thoughts on his first year at Washington, his pending summer adventures and the upcoming season.
GoHuskies.com: First year of college under your belt, what are your initial thoughts about college life?
Abdul Gaddy: "I think I did pretty well in my classes. I think my first year went pretty well. It was a learning experience for me."
GH.com: I know the academic part of your college experience is really important to you, how important to you is it to become a member of All-Academic teams?
AG: "It's real important to me and my family. They want to really see me succeed in those (aspects) of college. Those are definitely goals for me and I'm definitely going to go for those things next year."
GH.com: Have you decided what you will major in yet?
AG: "Not yet. I'm thinking about communications or sociology. I'm going to wait it out a bit and then we'll see."
GH.com: You have a busy summer ahead of you. Can you talk about the week of June 14 with the Under-19 USA National Team and what is ahead for you?
AG: "Everybody has to tryout for the U-19 Team, so I'll go down there (San Antonio) and hopefully make the team. I'm feeling pretty confident. I'm just going to go down there and help my team try to win the championship.
"I leave on Monday (June 14) and we have practice that day. The first two days will be tryouts and then they'll choose a team and we have practice from then on out. The last four days is the tournament."
GH.com: Do you think having a year of college basketball under your belt while most of the others are just wrapping up high school gives you a distinct advantage?
AG: "Oh yeah. It's definitely a big advantage. The coaches will know that I have a year of experience in college games and I'm sure that will be in the back of their mind. I think it helps me a lot. I can go there and kind of be the "old guy" and tell the other players about my experiences and stuff."
GH.com: How do you think you stack up against the rest of the field?
AG: "I think I stack up pretty well. It's all about just going out there and competing and playing hard. I'm going to go out there and play with a chip on my shoulder and just show my game and show the coaches what I can do. I'm going to go out there and get better and be coachable and learn things from them so I can take it into next season."
GH.com: Since the season ended, how have you re-shaped your game?
AG: "I've been doing a lot of shooting, getting stronger, faster...those types of things. I think those are the main things I needed to be working on. I've been doing a lot of shooting so I can get more confidence. I've been doing a lot of reps so I can have a better shooting percentage next year. I've also been getting a lot faster and stronger so I can be a lot better on the defensive end for our team next year.
GH.com: Do you feel like you've gotten a lot better?
AG: "Yeah, I feel a lot better. I feel stronger and faster. I just feel a lot more confident in my game going into next season."
GH.com: What kind of expectations do you have for the Huskies next year?
AG: "Our expectations are high. We want to win a National Championship. But, we've got to take it one game at a time. At the beginning of the season, we're going to have to beat all our non-conference teams. We're going to take those one game at a time as those are all going to be learning experiences. Going into Pac-10 play, we want to have a great start. We didn't start that well this year, so we need to do that AND finish well again. Those are just goals for us...win a National Championship, play one game at a time and win as many games as possible."
GH.com: How do you feel like the three incoming newcomers and C.J. Wilcox are going to fit in with what you have already?
AG: "C.J. will fit in well. He's already been with us for a year, so we already know what he's capable of doing. He will be our best shooter, by far. I think Terrence Ross will fit in well too, as will Desmond Simmons. He's a hard worker and a lot like Justin Holiday."
GH.com: Since you came in with C.J. Wilcox I imagine you are pretty close with him. Tell Husky fans what they can expect from him?
AG: "C.J. is a really good player and has a chance to be a great player and play at the next level. He has tremendous athleticism and is probably our fastest player. I think people sleep on his athleticism and how fast he is and how he can jump. But, he's going to be our best shooter. He can shoot the ball real consistent and he has a quick release. All those things tie into helping our team. So, he has tremendous ability and I think can really help us out next year and be a deep outside threat."
GH.com: When you wrap up the USA Team requirements, what are the plans for the rest of your summer?
AG: "I'll be back here doing summer school and then I will be out in Las Vegas training with one of my best friends, Avery Bradley (Texas freshman who declared for the NBA Draft). And then, I might go to LA and train with [Justin] Holiday, Scott [Suggs] and Darnell [Gant]."
GH.com: What has Avery and Quincy Pondexter told you about the draft process?
AG: "They say it's fun. They've been doing a lot of travelling and working out with teams. It's a business, so they have just got to go out there and perform well. I talk to Avery everyday...he is home right now, so I just go and see him. We just talk about past times and stuff. He is having a lot of fun with it - travelling and working out for teams. Hopefully he gets picked in the lottery. I think he can get picked in the lottery."