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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gaddy generates emotion

    All Madden

    How did you react when Abdul Gaddy retracted his verbal commitment from Arizona?

    If you had any interest in the UCLA or Memphis men’s basketball teams, you probably jumped for joy because this five-star recruit was inches closer to becoming a Bruin or a Tiger, respectively, in 2009.

    If you bleed Wildcat cardinal and navy, you might have let several profanities fly from your mouth like bats fleeing a cave. You might have thought it was time to get a Sharpie and officially mark the time when Arizona was no longer classified as an elite program.

    Or, you may have been the calm Arizona fan who twiddled your thumbs while you contemplated the fact that verbal commitments and retractions are about as strong as runny Jell-O.

    Needless to say, Gaddy has generated more emotion than a high school girl going to prom for the first time.

    But Jerryd Bayless did the same thing, giving his word, taking it back and reaffirming it. Brandon Jennings decommitted from USC and gave his word to Arizona before going overseas to play professionally.

    When a player says he will play for a team in the future, he expects to play for a team that is just as good or better when he gets there.

    Gaddy took his oral commitment back shortly after Olson played coaching-staff roulette. It’s the same reason why high school sophomore Matt Carlino – whom the Wildcats offered a scholarship when he was in seventh grade – verbally committed to play for Indiana last month. He knows for sure Tom Crean will be the Hoosiers’ head coach in 2011, something that can’t be said about Olson, whose contract expires in 2011 when he’ll be 76.

    But something sold Gaddy again. Maybe the new coaching staff comprised of Russ Pennell, Mike Dunlap and Reggie Geary convinced him to be a Wildcat. Undoubtedly, Olson’s résumé, demeanor and aura played a large role.

    But why the hell would Abdul Gaddy pass an opportunity to play for UCLA?

    Why would he say no thanks to a team that’s won 11 national titles, been to the NCAA Final Four 18 times – including the last three years – and had 14 players drafted by NBA teams this decade, two more than the UA?

    As cliché as it sounds, the answer is tradition.

    Yes, the tradition of Point Guard U.

    “”I think that’s a lot (of) why I made my decision because coach Lute Olson knows how to get his guards to the NBA and that’s the ultimate goal,”” Gaddy told the Daily Wildcat in May. “”I want to go to the NBA. So that’s my ultimate choice in going here. Plus, it’s like one of my favorite schools (basketball-wise).””

    It was the main selling point for Bayless and Jennings, too.

    After all, of the Wildcats’ top-10 scoring leaders of all time, four are guards. Of the four retired Wildcat jerseys, three belonged to guards – Jason Gardner, Mike Bibby and Steve Kerr.

    Jennings went pro without Olson. Bayless went pro without Olson. Imagine how far Gaddy could take his basketball career with Olson.

    “”(Gaddy) sees himself being in the NBA one day and wants to be associated with people like that,”” Gaddy’s AAU coach, Gary Ward, told the Wildcat after his original commitment. “”A lot of those guys happened to come from the University of Arizona.””

    Now that the dust has settled once again, how will you react when Gaddy finally suits up for the Wildcats?


    – Lance Madden is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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