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Rookie Pondexter Soaking in Experience
By: Calder Hynes, Hornets.com


March 9, 2011

At this time last year, Quincy Pondexter was leading his Washington Huskies to the Pac-10 Tournament championship, securing the conference Player of the Year award and preparing to spearhead his squad to a first-round upset in March Madness. Today, Pondexter is in the thick of his first NBA regular season, with the possibility of the postseason still on the horizon.

While he admits the length of the professional season has been a big adjustment, he has persevered in an encouraging inaugural campaign that has seen him contribute 10 minutes a game as a rotation player for a team vying for a playoff berth. To put the 6-foot-6 swingmans season in perspective, he is just the 15th rookie in Hornets franchise history to appear in at least 50 games and start at least three, a feat not even teammate David West or ex-Hornets All-Star Baron Davis can claim.

While there have been peaks such as a 14-point outburst against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden there has also been adversity. Pondexter missed two games in February with a sprained right ankle and conjunctivitis.

In my entire life, I had never missed a game due to sickness or injury, he said. It was a big adjustment.

While that may seem surprising, Pondexters training habits and off-court dedication to his body show that its no coincidence that hes been so durable.

Ive been coming in early to shoot and staying late to lift. My body has held up pretty well. If you take care of your body, stay home, eat the right things, your body can react well. Ive been fortunate enough to be relatively healthy the whole season.

This dedication has not gone unnoticed, with Monty Williams calling the youngest member of the Hornets roster one of the most purposeful workers I have ever seen, alluding to the time before and after practices and shootarounds he sees Quincy working on both his game and his body, and the quality of work he puts in.

Ever humble, Pondexter is quick to mention the coaching staff, in particular first-year assistant Fred Vinson, for his development.

Coach Vinson has gone above and beyond with a lot of the work Ive been doing. Hes been helping me out so much and I really appreciate it. The other coaches always chip in too. Im just being a sponge this rookie season and learning as much as I can. Watching film, lifting, shooting, eating the right things, everything I do is based around the game of basketball. Theres been a ton of learning this year, and Im soaking it all in.

After glimpsing the intense day-to-day commitment he has put forth this year, one might ask Why all the effort? His answer is simple.

Basketball means a lot to me. I just want to be the best player I can be.



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