Pondexter coming into his own

Quincy Pondexter has finally rid himself of that nickname he so
despised his first two years of high school.

Slow-Mo.

“Everything I did, it looked like I was going in slow
motion,” Pondexter is now able to say with a chuckle.

Pondexter has always come along at his own pace —
almost exclusively in the shadows. Back at San Joaquin Memorial
High and on the summer circuit, he played with the 7-foot
McDonald’s All-American Lopez Twins — Brook and
Robin. For the first three years in college at Washington, it was
Jon Brockman’s team.

Finally, Pondexter is The Man at U-Dub.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound senior is averaging 21.9 points and
8.7 rebounds for the Huskies, who are back on track after a couple
of early-season losses to Texas Tech and Georgetown.

Gone are the shadows and the history of the shy high schooler
who was poked fun at for his lack of athleticism.

“He’s always been so indecisive,” Roscoe
Pondexter said of his son. “But the talent has always been
there.”

Pondexter grew up an Arizona fan — partially due
to the playing style and largely because his father suited up for
Wildcats coach Lute Olson back when he was coaching at Long Beach
State.

“I didn’t want to go anywhere else,” Pondexter
said.

But there was one small problem.

“They didn’t think I was that good,” he said.
“They recruited me, but the offer was there and then it
wasn’t there.”

“They ended up getting Chase Budinger,” Pondexter
added. “I went my way, and I think they did just fine with
Chase.”

Pondexter arrived on campus in 2006 as a top 50 player, but
he was inconsistent in his first 2 1/2 seasons, never quite living
up to his potential.

“It’s definitely been up and down —
especially from the beginning,” Pondexter said.

Then, something finally clicked when Pac-10 play rolled
around last season.

“It was harder to come out and assert myself scoring when we
had guys like Jon (Brockman), Isaiah (Thomas) and Justin
(Dentmon),” he said. “I wanted to wait until Pac-10 to make
my mark.”

Pondexter quietly scored in double-figures in 17 of the 21
league contests, including the Pac-10 tournament, and hasn’t
shown any sign of slowing down this year.

“He was a different guy,” Washington coach Lorenzo
Romar said. “He averaged about 16 points per game the last half of
the season. What he’s doing now he started to do last
season.”

Pondexter hasn’t just shed his label of being a guy
whose production didn’t match his potential. He’s also
become a leader and even a spokesman.

“This is his team now,” Romar said.

In an era in which players are covered with body art, you
won’t find a single tattoo or piercing on Pondexter’s
body. He said he’s never tasted alcohol and hasn’t
smoked, either.

“I can still go out and have fun without drinking or
smoking,” he said. “I promised myself I wouldn’t do
it.”

That promise came while he lived in Fresno and saw the mess
that was going on with Jerry Tarkanian and the Fresno State
program, which was filled with troubled kids and was ultimately
placed on probation.

“My dad was a special assistant to the athletic director at
the time,” Pondexter said. “Watching all of that made me
realize that I couldn’t do any of that.”

At a recent black-tie gala attended by many of the
school’s “money people,” Pondexter served as one
of the emcees.

“He did a phenomenal job,” Romar said. “He’s
really grown up.”

He made a one-day appearance in
The Nutcracker this week and is a broadcast
journalism and sociology major with a 3.0 GPA who has visions of
becoming the next Charles Barkley or John Salley.

But that career will likely be put on hold as Pondexter has
become that rare senior who has gained the respect of NBA
personnel.

Romar said that he’s put the work in and can be found
in the gym working on his game for an hour or two following nearly
every game.

“He’s not athletic like Vince Carter or LeBron,”
Romar said. “But he’s right after that.”

Brook Lopez is with the New Jersey Nets, Robin is with the
Phoenix Suns and Brockman is also in the NBA with the Sacramento
Kings.

Pondexter, the only player in the Pac-10 to rank in the top
five in scoring and rebounding, has finally emerged from the
shadows.