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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mixed signals from Gaddy

    Abdul Gaddy dribbles down the court during the 2008 Arizona Cactus Classic at McKale Center on May 9. Gaddy retracted his verbal commitment from Arizona admist assistant coaching changes, he told the Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Abdul Gaddy dribbles down the court during the 2008 Arizona Cactus Classic at McKale Center on May 9. Gaddy retracted his verbal commitment from Arizona admist assistant coaching changes, he told the Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Arizona Cactus Classic

    Aside from the desert heat, Abdul Gaddy is pretty comfortable in Tucson.

    But UA head coach Lute Olson’s season-long leave of absence and the complete overhaul of his coaching staff has the verbally committed 2009 recruit – with offers from Kansas, Washington and Washington State, among others – a little uneasy.

    The point guard from Bellarmine (Wash.) Prep said, “”when I play here,”” and, “”if I come,”” in the same two-minute interview.

    The return of Olson, however, has reinstalled the faith of Gaddy, who is the No. 2 point guard in his class, according to Rivals.com.

    “”(Olson) told me he was going to be here when I was here,”” Gaddy said. “”He told me that. I believed that when he said that so he kept a promise.””

    Gaddy also said he likes the atmosphere, the fact that “”there’s gonna be a lot of people here when I play here”” and an easier adjustment to college life since his parents will join him on his move to Tucson.

    But the biggest selling point was 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 said. “”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).””

    Gaddy’s favorite Wildcat was Mike Bibby, whom UA assistant coach Josh Pastner compared him to, he said. Pastner, who will be an assistant for John Calipari at Memphis next season, was at McKale Center this past weekend but unable to watch any of the games or comment on Gaddy per NCAA rules.

    Pastner said he’ll make his official announcement about leaving in the next couple of days. Losing that bond with Pastner brings uneasy and difficult feelings from Gaddy.

    “”It’s gonna be real different,”” Gaddy said. “”I got real close to Josh so it’s gonna be real different. If I come here, I’ll have to get used to it.””

    Newly hired UA assistant coach Russ Pennell watched games at the tournament unofficially since his position doesn’t begin until Monday. Pennell said an assistant coach’s departure shouldn’t affect a player’s decision to play for a university.

    “”They’re coming to play for Lute Olson at the University of Arizona,”” Pennell said. “”If that’s not big enough for them then they’re probably looking for something totally different. This is still a great place to hone your skills and compete year in year out for championships.””

    But throughout the tournament, Gaddy reiterated the fact that his mind was only on the task at hand.

    “”My dad said, ‘Don’t really listen to that right now.’ I’m just trying to win this tournament,”” Gaddy said after his team, the Northwest Panthers, beat D-One Sports 77-72 on Friday.

    The quick guard had his highs and lows in the Arizona Cactus Classic. Gaddy got hit hard going up for a laypup on Friday and knocked his head on the floor. Panthers’ coach Gary Ward ran his finger from side to side in from of Gaddy’s eyes to ensure he was alright.

    In the second round of the tournament on Saturday night, the Panthers faced Pump N’ Run Elite in the their fourth game of the day. With about a dozen seconds left in the game, Gaddy drove down the lane and slammed the ball in the hoop with one hand to give the Panthers a 72-71 win.

    Gaddy finished up the tournament averaging 18.5 points per game on 54 percent (55-for-102) shooting from the field, to go with 5.1 assists per game, good enough for a spot on the All-Tournament Team. The Panthers made it to the Final Four of the Tournament, going 5-2 overall.

    Gaddy wished future Arizona point guard Brandon Jennings’ mom, Alice Knox, a happy mother’s day Sunday and spoke to Pastner after the tournament concluded. He’ll be back in Washington for school Monday morning, where finals and the solidity of his verbal commitment will be on his mind.

    “”I’ll focus on that later in the week,”” he said.

    – Bryan Roy contributed reporting

    Stay current with extended coverage from this weekend’s Arizona Cactus Classic with updates from the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

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