Pondexter Ready For USA Trials
June 11, 2009
Rising senior forward Quincy Pondexter leaves campus early next week to participate in USA Basketball's Trials for the team that will represent the USA at the World University Games next summer in Serbia. GoHuskies.com caught up with Quincy before a workout Thursday morning at Bank of America Arena.
GoHuskies.com: What are you up to now that finals are over?
QP: Now that finals are over, I'm just working out. I'm enjoying just being a young kid and hanging out with my friends and getting to enjoy a little bit of summer. Seattle's weather has been nice so far so it's been good.
GoHuskies.com: Do you have plans to go home?
QP: I'm not going to go home for summer. I may go home for a few days but I'm just going to spend most of my summer out here and the USA trials are going to take up most of my summer already.
GoHuskies.com: How have workouts been since the end of the season?QP: It's been great. Spencer Hawes and I have been playing every day. We'll come in and shoot, play a lot of 1-on-1. I've been beating him a lot and he gets mad [laughs]. It's been great, just getting a lot better and getting healthy.
GoHuskies.com: How is your health?
QP: It's getting there. It's still a while away from being 100 percent but it's getting closer and closer every day. It's just something that you have to take slow, but still work hard at.
GoHuskies.com: What was it like when the doctors finally sat down and said you needed to get the sports hernia that you had been playing with fixed?
QP: It was a setback. I felt kind of sad about it. You can't really dwell on it for long. I just had the surgery and realized that it was going to set me back for a bit in terms of getting better at that point in time. It really just helped me focus a lot more for my senior year.
GoHuskies.com: How excited are you for the USA trials?
QP: I'm really excited. I've been thinking about it every day. I've been talking about it every day with my friends and my family. It's just a great opportunity to represent your country at another level if I have the opportunity too. To actually have been invited to this is really big compliment to how I've been playing and how our team has been playing. If it wasn't for the team playing well this year, I wouldn't have gotten this opportunity.
GoHuskies.com: Do you know any of the other players that are going to be there?
QP: I've seen the names. I've played against a few of them. None of them are close friends of mine but I know after this experience that I'll have a few close friends from it.
GoHuskies.com: Since the season has been over and you have had time to reflect, what do you think about what the team was able to accomplish last year?
QP: We accomplished a lot. We accomplished more than other people believed that we could. It was just a little shortcoming. I feel like we could have won a few more games. We could have played better in a few more games. In the end, it was a successful year. The taste of that will loom over to next year and we will build on that next year. I just want to lead these guys to a better season.
GoHuskies.com: What do you think about that leadership role as a senior?
QP: It's definitely a big responsibility for this team, especially with the loss of Brockman and Dentmon and Coach Dollar leaving. I think a lot of it is on my shoulders. For the whole class of 2006 that came in here with all the touted expectations. I just want to take full responsibility for that class and really just lead these guys to another great season. I've had the chance to watch other great players and just mold myself to what they are doing.
GoHuskies.com: What about the loss of Jon Brockman, not only on the court but off as well?
QP: It's like losing a brother. It's losing a great friend, not to mention the basketball aspect of it. He's a tremendous competitor and I think we all learned from him. It's going to be tough to replace him in any way and its going to be tough to do it. We just have to find a way to get tougher and use his mentality on the court and off the court to get better.
GoHuskies.com: Do you ever think about following in the legacy of Brandon Roy and Jon Brockman and other great Huskies that have come through the program recently?
QP: I think about that every day. It's what motivates me to work so hard in the offseason. I think this offseason is a little different because of the tradition of having the senior leader. Staying here all four years has been a blessing for me in disguise. It's really helped me mature and take my game to another level. Hopefully this season I can just mold everything together and culminate all four years. Coach Romar has really taught me that nothing is going to happen overnight, and I just feel very blessed to have the opportunity to lead this team next year.
GoHuskies.com: How has it been working with new assistant coach Raphael Chillious?
QP: Coach Chillious is a great guy. He knows what he is doing. He loves the game of basketball. He's really great at developing players. Hopefully I can be one of his products as well. He's doing a great job of teaching our guys new aspects of the game.
GoHuskies.com: Do you know much about the incoming guys?
QP: I've seen them around a little bit. I'm one of those basketball-holics that watches their games on the internet and all that stuff. I've had the opportunity to check them out. Clarence Trent came up a couple weeks ago to play. Abdul has come up to play. I hope they are great pieces to our puzzle. We need help coming in, especially with the bigs. We need Abdul to come in and distribute the ball. I think that class is good. It all depends on how hard they work when they get here. Our team is not just going to let them come in and bully us, so we are going to teach them some things when they get here.