Twitter Feedback: Quincy Pondexter responds

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

This is the latest edition of “Twitter Feedback,” a reoccurring Hornets.com feature. In this installment, I let New Orleans reserve forward Quincy Pondexter directly answer Twitter questions sent to www.twitter.com/Jim_Eichenhofer. I caught up with the one-year NBA veteran at Monty Williams’ basketball camp, which is being held at the Hornets’ Alario Center practice facility in Westwego.

From @connorw23: What was it like being a rookie last season? What, if anything, would you change now that you know what it is like in the NBA?
Pondexter: Being a rookie in the NBA is great. You get to learn so much about the game of basketball. You get to play against the best basketball players in the world. I was real fortunate to be on a team that was not only a veteran team, but also a winning team. I had the opportunity to do something a lot of rookies don’t, which was to be on a playoff team. I enjoyed every single minute of it. I don’t think I would change much because I left everything out on the line for our team. I worked as hard as I possibly could. Hopefully I’ll continue to get better and better.

One of the things I learned is that the season is so long, so you learn how to get through it and micromanage your time. You learn how the season goes and get a better rhythm. Going into Year 2, I think I’ll know exactly what kind of shape to be in, what it takes and how to brush off a bad game, because a bad game can turn into five (bad) games real fast in the NBA.

From @AgentZiko: Do you prefer playing the two or the three position and why?
Pondexter: In our system, they are pretty much the same. A wing player is a wing player. The 2 is a great position where they count on you to score a good amount. But it’s also a great opportunity to defend a lot of the great players in our league. I enjoy playing the 3 as well. Those positions are similar.

The coaches haven’t really specifically said to me that I’m a 2 or a 3. Because of how versatile I am, they say I can play either position.

From @AndrewJuge: I read a tweet of Q Pon that said Applebee’s was his favorite restaurant. How is that possible living in New Orleans?
Pondexter: [smiles] Applebee’s is a great restaurant for a few reasons. One, there is one right by my house. It’s also cheap. And it’s all across the United States, nationwide. There’s an Applebee’s everywhere. Unfortunately, delicious New Orleans food isn’t everywhere. Applebee’s is something I grew up eating and became accustomed to. I love it.

But I’m going to have to experience a lot more New Orleans restaurants next year. I kind of got to nibble on a few different ones this year, but I really need to find the great ones. Drago’s is a great one, as well as all of the Emeril restaurants. I want to find some of the ones that aren’t so corporate – the real mom-and-pop shops.

From @jsgrayson: Quincy, are you looking to expand your role with the team next season, and if so what areas are you looking to improve in?
Pondexter: I’m definitely working on a lot of different things to improve my game. Last year, I took it as a learning experience throughout the year. I’ve been working on a lot of things to build myself and make myself a great player this next season. I’m working on my defense and all-around game. I want to be a well-rounded player, and hopefully everything will pay off for me.

From @hortonhomers: Whose NBA game would you compare to yours after going through the league one season?
Pondexter: Right now, I really can’t pinpoint it. I think I’ll have a better chance to say who my game is like after Year 2. After this first year, it’s been up and down, and you can’t really distinguish who you are yet. After another season of playing, I think I’ll know.

On to a few of my questions…
From @Jim_Eichenhofer: You’ve obviously spent time in New Orleans in recent weeks working on your game. What are your plans over the rest of the offseason, both on and off the court?
Pondexter: I think I’m going to move back to the West Coast and get to working on my game even harder. I know what I need to do. I’ve gotten a very good framework for my (offseason) work this summer. I can’t wait to get better and see how the hard work translates into next season.

Off the court, I went to Disney World last weekend. That was probably one of the highlights of my summer. I’m going to take another vacation in August. Other than that, it’s going to be focused on basketball and just enjoying time with my family.

From @Jim_Eichenhofer: I remember speaking to you a year ago and you were not pleased by pre-draft assessments that you’re a below-average shooter. Do you feel like you proved that analysis incorrect? For example, you shot 36 percent from three-point range as a rookie.
Pondexter: Those people had no idea what they were talking about, because I had never given them reason to think that I wasn’t a good shooter. Every year in college, I had shot good percentages. And next year, I want to shoot even better percentages.

I’m going to continue to work hard, and I think that’s always an underrated aspect when it comes to the draft (and where players are selected). A lot (of a player’s success) depends on how hard a kid works. There are not many people out there who will outwork me. Maybe no one. Whether it’s my jump shot, my ballhandling ability or my size – whatever they want to question – I’m going to go out there and prove them wrong.

From @Jim_Eichenhofer: Where are you trying to improve most? Three-point shooting, mid-range accuracy or finishing around the basket?
Pondexter: Right now, I’m changing the technique on my jump shot, so it can become more accurate. If I do that, it’s going to help my mid-range game and my three-point ability. Once I become an even better shooter, attacking the basket will come even more easily, because it’s going to open up the lane for me a little bit more.

From @Jim_Eichenhofer: With the Hornets picking 45th in the draft, are you pleased to be getting a rookie teammate next season?
Pondexter: Definitely. I’m looking forward to someone taking over my Krispy Kreme duties for me. That (cost of) 14 dollars and 12 cents is going to go to someone else every day. I’m glad we’re going to have a new addition to the team. Hopefully it’s someone from the West Coast or someone that I know personally.

From @Jim_Eichenhofer: Aside from purchasing donuts on a daily basis, what kinds of things did you have to do as the only rookie on the roster for most of 2010-11?
Pondexter: There were definitely times where the vets kicked the basketballs up into the stands (at morning shootarounds) and I had to go get them. I would have to go get random food for road trips. Whenever the guys were hungry, I’d have to get them certain meals. Or whatever they wanted, really, even if it was iPods. Sometimes I would get late-night calls if they needed errands run. But at the end of the day, I loved every single minute of it, because I knew it was all in fun.

I can’t wait to have my own rookie who I can tell, “You have to do this and this, because it’s part of being in the league.” If I get to have this job and (had to) do those things as a rookie, it makes it that much more fun. You should have to do those things, given how fortunate we are to have this job.

From @Jim_Eichenhofer: I’ve heard stories in the past of certain veteran players who’ve made odd requests of rookies, such as asking them to buy one small orange juice every day. Do you have any specific orders you might put in to the rookies on next season’s roster?
Pondexter: Well, I’m not going to pick on them too much yet, but I’ll probably make sure they get a lot of Popeye’s chicken on our flights. That was a big thing I had to do.