The youngest player in college basketball last season, Abdul Gaddy
was considered by most high school recruiting services as the second best freshman point guard prospect in the 2009 class.
Besides his pedigree and obvious youth, it's very difficult to find too many positive things to say about Gaddy's first year in college, as he struggled in every facet of the game and ended up ranking as the least productive prospect in all of college basketball
, by a fairly large margin.
From a physical standpoint, Gaddy's best attributes revolve around his good size at 6-3 and well-developed frame. He's not particularly quick or explosive, though, even if he does have a certain type of smoothness to his game, showing good body control, changing speeds nicely, and generally operating at a very unique pace.
Offensively, Gaddy is the type of player who needs the ball in his hands quite a bit to be successful, being an old-school ball-dominant type point guard, who is also somewhat of a reluctant scorer. He has very good court vision and a solid feel for the game for a player his age, looking very unselfish finding teammates in drive and dish situations, and always being willing to make the extra pass in the half-court offense, sometimes overly so. Gaddy looked far too passive at times last season, which made his team fairly easy to guard in the half-court, but his ability to find the open man with pinpoint accuracy is a skill that could come in very handy down the road if he develops the rest of his game.
As a shot-creator, Gaddy struggled badly last season. His average first step hampers his slashing ability considerably going up against good defenders, resulting in him coughing the ball up on 33% of his possessions, second worst amongst all NCAA prospects last season
. Gaddy has some nice runners and floaters he can utilize in the 8-10 foot area, but he must do a better job of getting all the way to the rim and finishing stronger at the basket, as he rarely got to the free throw line last year. He must also learn how to operate more efficiently and assertively with fewer dribbles than he was accustomed to in high school, something that was painfully obvious at times last season.
When forced to operate off the ball, Gaddy is just a marginal shooter at this stage, converting on 21 of his 67 jumpers last season (31%), including 3/20 from beyond the arc. He also shot 56% from the free throw line. That makes it difficult to play him alongside the extremely undersized Isaiah Thomas
in the same backcourt, as he's also a very ball-dominant point guard who does not shoot the ball very well. Considering Gaddy's other limitations, this is something he must work extremely hard on if he's to reach his full potential.
Defensively, Gaddy has some potential with his solid size, good frame and nice timing, but he looked overmatched at times last season going up against players 2-5 years older than him. His average lateral quickness, coupled with his lack of experience made him a target for opposing teams to go at at times, making him fairly foul prone on a per-minute basis, one of the reasons he only played 18 minutes per game. He appeared to lack some toughness on this end of the floor as well, not really fighting through screens and allowing older and more physically mature players to push him around at times, which is something he must work on.
As an NBA prospect, players in Gaddy's mold are not quite as en vogue these days as they were in the pastas the likes of Chris Duhon
, Marcus Williams
(UConn) and others have found out recently. Most teams prefer to have a jet of a point guard running the show for them, especially if they are below-average shooters, so Gaddy has his work cut out for him in terms of improving his jump-shot and showing that he can defend his position effectively, as his margin for error is not all that large. Luckily for him, time is on his side, as he's still only 18 years old.