Shoot, man, it sure wasn't this hard at Bellarmine Prep.
After witnessing UW's way-harder-than-it-should-have-been 63-59 victory over Montana--Montana!--last night at Hec Ed, I've come to the conclusion that the Huskies' sky-high national ranking (#14) is directly linked to the stratospheric expectations for freshman point guard Abdul Gaddy. This is, after all, a team with but one senior and three juniors that lost its only reliable post threat, Jon Brockman, to the pros.
It's hard to remember a recruit as highly-touted as Gaddy (Spencer Hawes is the only one who comes close). Ranked the #2 point guard prospect in the country by Scout.com, he's a son of Tacoma whom Lorenzo Romar has compared to Jason Kidd and Brandon Roy. But against the Dawgs' first five opponents--creampuffs all--Gaddy has been extraordinarily underwhelming, and last night represented his young career's nadir.
Against the Griz, Gaddy got the start over Venoy Overton, benched by virtue of his showing up half-an-hour late to the team's morning shootaround. Yet in a perfect world, Overton's tardiness wouldn't matter; the scrappy 5'11" junior is a perfect third guard, whereas the 6'3" Gaddy is a better pairing with 5'8" shooting guard Isaiah Thomas, as he can cover shooting guards and is a purer floor general.
But last night, Gaddy looked passive, giving up the ball too early in the Huskies' half-court offense (by the way, Romar needs to figure out a way to crack the 2-3 zone code, something he's yet to do in his eight years at the helm) and leaving the penetrating to Thomas, who was ice cold (1-8) in the first half. Gaddy finished with 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 2 assists in 17 minutes, a line more reminiscent of Al Moscatel than the likes of Kidd or Roy.
It's early yet--way early. And perhaps Gaddy is one of those players who isn't truly engaged until he faces top competition. Well, that's swift on its way: The Dawgs play Georgetown, Portland, and Texas A&M in succession in mid-December before league play starts. Whether Gaddy's worthy of his gaudy prophecy should become apparent sometime within that span.