H. Pastner pleased with Gaddy

Houston Hoops founder Hal Pastner, right, speaks with Arizona Cactus Classic director Jim Storey in McKale Center in May. Hal Pastner, the father of former UA assistant coach Josh Pastner, said he always knew 2009 recruit Abdul Gaddy was destined to be a Wildcat. (Lance Madden/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

Houston Hoops founder Hal Pastner, right, speaks with Arizona Cactus Classic director Jim Storey in McKale Center in May. Hal Pastner, the father of former UA assistant coach Josh Pastner, said he always knew 2009 recruit Abdul Gaddy was destined to be a Wildcat. (Lance Madden/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

Lance Madden

When Abdul Gaddy retracted his verbal commitment to play for the Arizona men’s basketball team in 2009, the Wildcat faithful arguably felt it was no doubt a turn for the worse. Not Hal Pastner.

Despite about three and a half months of the nation’s speculation as to where Gaddy would be attending college in 2009, Hal Pastner, the creator of the heralded Houston Hoops AAU program and the father of former UA men’s basketball assistant coach Josh Pastner, knew the five-star recruit wasn’t going anywhere but Arizona.

“”I’m a big U of A fan, man,”” Pastner said Wednesday from a Houston Starbucks in the midst of Hurricane Ike. “”I’m happy (Arizona) got Gaddy. I knew (Arizona was) going to get him all the time. He was going to stay with Arizona the whole way.””

After Gaddy reopened the recruiting process with the retraction of his verbal commitment to Arizona in late May, many scouts and analysts believed he would be headed to UCLA or Memphis if he didn’t end up as a Wildcat.

But according to Hal Pastner, Gaddy – who restated his verbal commitment last week – was actually not being pursued for Memphis by Josh Pastner, now a current assistant coach with the Tigers.

“”Not at Memphis Josh didn’t (recruit Gaddy),”” Hal Pastner said. “”Josh was happy for him to go to Arizona. He felt that was the place for him to go. He backed off. He didn’t recruit him out of Memphis.””

Josh Pastner won’t be able to speak about Gaddy, or any unsigned recruits for that matter, until the player signs a letter of intent to attend a university, per NCAA rules.

Hal Pastner said his son was very close to the Gaddy family while he was recruiting the guard for Arizona, but once Pastner headed to Memphis, and last year’s interim head coach Kevin O’Neill and assistant Miles Simon weren’t asked to return for this upcoming season, Gaddy felt uneasy, leading to his verbal retraction.

“”But it was in his heart that he was going to stay (with Arizona),”” Hal Pastner said.

Hal Pastner said Gaddy’s loyalty to the UA program is similar to Josh Pastner’s loyalty to the same program. Though he’s now at Memphis, Josh Pastner is a Wildcat for life, his father said.

“”People might not always realize that, but believe me, he’d love to see U of A win every game,”” the elder Pastner said. “”He loves the U of A and he loves Lute Olson. He’d go to the end of Earth for Lute.

“”The one thing about us is that we’re very loyal people,”” Hal Pastner added. “”Very loyal. We know Lute Olson gave him every opportunity in life and we don’t forget that.””

As far as future recruiting, Hal Pastner said the current UA coaching staff has called him a few times about some of the players in his Houston Hoops program, from which current UA players Nic Wise and Fendi Onobun came.

“”I will always help out Arizona in any way I can,”” he said. “”They always have an open door into Houston through me.””