USA Basketball posted a Q&A about University of Washington point guard Abdul Gaddy who graduated from high school ahead of this class and is thus still eligible to play for the 2010 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team. The following part of the article caught my eye:â†µ
Everyone on the team is about the same age, but you’re the only one with a year of college experience under your belt. What did you learn in your first year that you didn’t do in high school?â†µ
It’s a lot about maturity, being on time, little things like that. Working hard in practice, going hard all the time, just being coachable, not talking back to the coaches. When you’ve been the best player and now you’ve got to come to a team where you have to sacrifice your game to be a part of a team, be a part of the USA team. It’s little things like that.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar cited age repeatedly last season as a source of Gaddy's struggles. However, something else that fits with this snippet is that Romar also mentioned that Gaddy was thinking too much on the floor instead of letting the game come to him. When he did just play within the flow of the game instead of visibly processing the demands of playing within the "well-oiled machine," he showed flashes of why he garnered so much hype to begin with.â†µ
It will be interesting to see how this summer experience helps him develop as a player -- now the veteran on the U18 team with D-1 experience, how will he be able to build on what he learned at UW in a leadership position? Having learned what it means to sacrifice individual play for the team, will playing in a bit slower environment help him relax more on the court and not overthink his performance? Will be interesting to watch.