We've been nothing if not consistent on the topic of Husky point guard Abdul Gaddy. We said he was overrated at the outset of his freshman campaign; pronounced him a bust shortly thereafter; and advised him to transfer early last year, when he suffered a season-ending injury around the same time local phenom Tony Wroten, who plays the same position as Gaddy, announced his intention to attend UW. So it should surprise no one that we're now calling for Coach Lorenzo Romar to replace Gaddy with Wroten in the Dawgs' starting five.
Meanwhile, Gaddy has proven himself to be a mid-major talent tasked with piloting a major conference offense. Now seven games through his junior year, gone are the apologists' arguments that Gaddy is young for his class, that Isaiah Thomas impedes his development, or that he should be given more time to fulfill his potential before any sort of verdict is rendered.
Tuesday night, against 11th-ranked Marquette, Gaddy played a serviceable, unspectacular first half, calmly initiating the Husky offense while making the occasional canny pass and very few mistakes. That's Gaddy at his best, and based on what was expected of him coming in, that "best" isn't very good. But it's a far cry from Gaddy at his worst, perfectly exemplified by the second half of Tuesday's loss, where he missed shot after shot while battling foul trouble, ultimately committing a fatal turnover and bricking a coast-to-coast heave at the end of the game when he could have called timeout to set up a higher-percentage opportunity. During that half, he looked meek and tentative, two adjectives which could be used to describe his performance a few games earlier against St. Louis. His combined stats against SLU and Marquette, the only two top-flight programs UW has played thus far this year: 9 points on 3-17 shooting, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds...in 63 minutes.
Wroten, meanwhile, is the anti-Gaddy. All animated swagger, he often dribbles through open passing opportunities so he can probe before driving to the hoop--he gets to the free-throw line a whopping 6.3 times a game in a mere 24 minutes per--or fire a spectacular assist to a teammate slashing toward the rim. Problem is, he's thus far missed over half his free throws and is averaging upwards of four turnovers per game (half of which can be attributed to Husky bigs not having the coordination to handle otherwise deft dishes).
Still, for all his faults, Wroten is a far superior option at point guard to Gaddy. He is a high-octane floor general for a potentially high-octane offense, making the most of his limited floor time by averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds, nearly 4 assists and 2 steals. (By contrast, Gaddy averages, 9, 3, 5 and less than 1, respectively).
Wroten is a freshman, after all, and his insertion into the starting lineup for tomorrow's game at Madison Square Garden against the mighty Duke Blue Devils and their prize freshman point guard, Austin Rivers, would be expertly timed from a dramatic perspective. For Gaddy, however, the jig is up. And once Scott Suggs returns from his injury, Gaddy's minutes should be pared down to around a dozen per game, stowed for instances when Wroten severely overheats or the team is positioned well enough to run some clock in the half-court.
As a designated cooler, Gaddy can still contribute to the Huskies' success over the rest of his career. But when the ball is thrown in the air at midcourt to start the game, he should be standing near the bench, clapping in his warmups, and watching Wroten make good on the promise that Gaddy himself has so clearly left unfulfilled.