Today started out pretty good. Things quickly turned sour though.
I get excited whenever it snows, and somehow a dry Winter turned into a March flurry in Seattle this morning. But, my early morning excitement over the weather took a hit when I got a text from a buddy telling me Jerome Randle of Cal won Pac-10 player of the year.
The exact text read, “Randle won POY.”
My answer was a little too graphic to share, but went something like, “********.”
I don’t want to take anything away from Randle because he is a fantastic player who’s game instills a feeling in me of both fear and respect. The kid can spot up from anywhere on the court and his range is endless. To his credit, he lead Cal to the regular season Pac-10 championship. He led the Bears with 18.7 point per game, 4.5 assists per game, and 34.9 minutes per game. With a 92.7% from the line and 40.4% from beyond the arc, Randle would normally be the right choice for player of the year.
Not this year though. What Quincy Pondexter did for the Washington Huskies was more worthy of the honor. What Q did for the huskies this year transcended his superior statistics. But, if you wanted to put all the weight of the award on statistics, they would show he scored 20.2 points per game, shot 54% from the field (a whole 10% higher than Randle’s), shot 37% from beyond the arc (not bad for not being a 3-point specialist), and grabbed 7.8 rebounds for a team that prides itself on its rebounding.
Pondexter’s efficiency is more impressive when you look at his surrounding cast. Not to take away from the rest of the Huskies, but Pondexter has been leading this team by himself. Sure, Isaiah Thomas averaged 17.2 points per game and provided some big baskets and attitude severely needed this year, but he has also been erratic from the field and forced bad shots. Thomas has also self-labeled himself as the team spokesman on touchy issues. Pondexter on the other hand, has been the quiet and steady rock all year. When Thomas, and other Huskies, have spoken out or let emotion gain control of them during an intense game, Pondexter has calmly settled them down.
In comparison, Randle has both Theo Robertson and Patrick Christopher helping him out. This is the first career 1,000 point scoring trio in California history. An experienced and senior laden team surrounds Randle, something Pondexter does not have the luxury of having.
As the lone senior on a young team, Pondexter has not only been a fan favorite, but played the role of Mr. Versatility. How many guys who score over 20 points a game can claim the role of versatility? Watching Quincy evolve as a player over the course of the season was more than a pleasure. When the Huskies needed some defense, he stepped up with lock down defense. When other players were hot, he drew the defense to him and found the open guy. When it was belief from someone who has been through a lot that was needed, he was the person the young guys turned to for support. You can hear it in the voices of the coaches and players when they talk about Pondexter. The admiration, love, and trust they exhibit for him is incredible. Not one guy means more to his team than Pondexter.
As a Husky fan, and someone who spends time with a number of other Husky fans (both die-hard and casual), Quincy has garnered the same admiration from all Husky believers. I know it pains not only me, but Husky nation to see Quincy get denied the award that would show the rest of the nation what we already know.
In the end, whether the nation knows it or not, we at the University of Washington know the impact of Quincy on our team and University. If the nation does not realize this, it is a shame for them.
Quincy is not only our Player of the Year, but he means much more.