Loss Of Gaddy Isn’t About Numbers For WashingtonPosted by jstevrtc on January 5th, 2011
Washington’s Abdul Gaddy tore the ACL in his left knee during practice yesterday and will miss the rest of the 2010-11 season. The injury happened as he planted his left leg during a drive to the basket. Counting surgery and rehab time, he should be back at full speed in 6-9 months.
Gaddy had made significant improvements this season when compared with his performance last year. As a 17-year old freshman (he won’t turn 19 until later this month), Gaddy was not mentally or physically prepared for the college game and certainly not ready for the expectations that came with being tagged as the nation’s second-best point guard in his recruiting class. This season, however, after a summer of working hard on aspects of his game upon which coach Lorenzo Romar told him he needed to improve (specifically strength, speed, and shooting), Gaddy has flourished. He averaged only 3.9 PPG, shot 41% from the field, a downright frigid 15% from three point range, and 51% from the free throw line in 18.2 MPG last year, and often found himself on the bench at ends of games. This season, he’s averaged 23.2 MPG, 8.3 PPG, and has shot remarkably better, improving his rate from the floor (50%) and especially from beyond the arc (40.6%) and at the line (81.8%). Looks like that off-season work paid off.
Gaddy’s care of the basketball was the most impressive aspect of his play this year. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.1 to 1 put him at the top of the Pac-10 and tied him for 14th nationally. When we interviewed him last summer, you could tell how excited he was for his sophomore campaign to begin and for the chance to unveil his more polished game to fans, coaches, and fellow players.
Washington has five other guards who each average at least 14 minutes a game, so Gaddy’s production will be spread out over his teammates with relative ease. What UW lost here was a coachable, patient player who was developing well as a floor leader even at this early stage of his career. It’s often used as a cliche’ or as filler material to say that a team will miss what a player brings to the squad in terms of leadership and things that can’t be measured on a stat sheet just as much as they’ll miss the actual points, rebounds and steals he contributes. In this case, though it’s a completely accurate assessment.