Washington Huskies sophomore Quincy Pondexter stood in the North Practice gym at Edmundson Pavilion on Friday morning and talked happily...
Washington Huskies sophomore Quincy Pondexter stood in the North Practice gym at Edmundson Pavilion on Friday morning and talked happily about the team’s upcoming trip to Greece.
His uncle, Clifton Pondexter, played professionally there for a while, and there are lots of sights Quincy has heard about that he wants to see for himself.
For now, however, that’s as far as he’s planning to go anytime soon.
It was in the same gym in February when Pondexter told a few reporters he would consider leaving for the NBA after his freshman season if it was a legitimate option.
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It wasn’t, as Pondexter tailed off after a quick start and averaged 10.7 points for the season. That he was even publicly acknowledging considering it, however, had some wondering if Pondexter’s mind was in the right place.
The forward looks back now and says those who questioned him had every right to do so.
“I was real young and dumb last year,” said Pondexter. “I had some ups and some downs, and I didn’t really handle them the best way I could have. Now I’ve realized it and people have helped me, and I feel I’ve made a drastic improvement in my game as well as everything else that comes along with being a college student.”
And while thinking he had an NBA future wasn’t outlandish, considering his pedigree as a top-50 national recruit two years ago, he says it’s not where his thoughts should have been.
“I was thinking like, ‘Man, I’m doing pretty well. I might have a chance,’ ” he said. “But really, I was thinking about all the wrong things at that point in time. I’m not ready for that yet and I might not be ready for a while.”
He says now he’s trying not to let thoughts of the future enter his mind, even if he’s still considered by some as likely to leave before his eligibility is up — he’s listed as the No. 18 pick in the 2009 NBA draft by NBADraft.net.
“I’m not thinking past Greece,” Pondexter said of UW’s trip to play five Greek pro teams.
And possibly being a three- or four-year college player?
“That wouldn’t bother me at all,” he said, acknowledging “that’s not something I would have said a year ago.”
Instead, he’s looking forward to his sophomore season with the Huskies in a role that is likely to expand greatly with the loss of Spencer Hawes to the NBA.
With the UW offense based last year around two big men (Hawes and Jon Brockman), there often was little room for Pondexter to operate.
Pondexter said he thinks he’ll be a better fit this year with the Huskies likely to return to running more with a roster filled with talented perimeter players.
“I’ve been waiting for this,” he said. “It helps me, takes a little pressure off of me, and we are all going to complement each other. When we run that floor it helps each of our games.”
Not that he didn’t have moments last season, such as a 21-point first half against Arizona. But after that night, he never scored more than 15 points in a game. He also revealed Friday he suffered a staph infection late in the season that caused his weight to drop to less than 200 pounds. He’s up to 213 after a busy summer that included a stint as a counselor at a camp in New Orleans where he roomed with former high-school teammate Brook Lopez, now playing for Stanford.
“I was a freshman last year and going through a lot of things for the first time,” he said. “I’ve grown up a lot, changed a lot.”
• UW will practice for 10 days before leaving for Greece on Aug. 27. The Huskies will play five games against Greek professional teams using International rules. Only the team’s nine returning players can make the trip, per NCAA rules. Overseas summer trips are allowed by the NCAA once every four years.
• Players are also taking a five-credit class on Socrates, architecture and Greek history as part of the trip. James Clauss, the former chair of the UW classics department and incoming director of the Honors Program, will teach the course beginning this week and accompany the team to Greece.
• Romar said the eligibility of incoming freshman guard Venoy Overton “is still pending.”