Physically, the 6’7″ Fresno native passed every type of look test imaginable for a college basketball player. With a long, lean, mature build, the great leaping ability, and above-average quickness, Quincy appeared to be the prototype when it came to the small forward position.
In Quincy’s first season, I remember the relative lack of hype surrounding the quiet freshman, thanks in large part to Spencer Hawes. Hawes was the crown jewel of that 2006 recruiting class and absorbed all the hype for the quartet of newcomers that found their way to Montlake; small forward Phil Nelson (now at Portland State) and shooting guard Adrian Oliver (now at San Jose State) rounded out the foursome.
As a fourth-year member of the Dawg Pack that season, I had a front row seat to all of the Huskies’ games in that turbulent ’06-’07 campaign, and saw up close and personal the rapid development of Quincy Pondexter.
For much of that year, Pondexter was a do-it-all force to be reckoned with in Washington’s lineup. While Nelson and Oliver struggled to grasp their roles, and as Hawes more or less played up to his lofty expectations, it was Quincy who seemingly wowed every fan in the building on any given night.
One way you can tell that a player is really coming into his own is when he picks up a nickname. That first year, Quincy was the one guy who everyone tried to pin an alias on. And it was no easy task.
It started with “Q-Pon,” naturally, but some students had heard that Quincy wasn’t fond of that particular sobriquet, so it got put on the backburner.
“Quin-dex” got tossed around for a little while, but never quite stuck; too much like the household chemical, I guess.
And then finally there was “The Magic Man.” Even I’ll admit that “The Magic Man” has almost zero ring to it, but for whatever reason it remained with Quincy for that entire year. The student section got so attached to it that renditions of Do You Believe In Magic would be sung after particularly inspiring Pondexter moments.
As that year transpired, Quincy lived up to his billing as a magician.
People tend to forget how great he played during his freshman season, a result of subpar sophomore and junior years. Pondexter would often come out of nowhere to make seemingly impossible plays, every now and then bringing to mind images of Brandon Roy with his raw athleticism.
By season’s end, Pondexter was the team’s third-leading scorer (at 10.7 PPG, he was surpassed only by Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes in that category) and had paced the club in points scored on five different occasions. In only his fourth collegiate contest, Pondexter notched game-highs in points (22) and rebounds (9) in a win over Sacramento State. Not a bad start.
Three-and-a-half years later, Pondexter is set to embark on the final home game of his storied career at Washington. He’s had a roller coaster ride through four seasons of basketball, enduring more in that span than most players of his caliber could ever understand. His middle two years on campus were trying, to say the least, and fans and media alike can lay blame for giving Pondexter a tough time along the way.
But Quincy’s final season has been the ribbon tied neatly atop the gift that this four-year career has become. Even though there have been tremendous ups and downs, there is no doubt that Pondexter will be looked back upon fondly by Husky basketball fans in the future. He sits among team legends on a number of career record lists, and is destined for a long and prosperous career in the pros.
Quincy Pondexter may not have had the storybook career some people envisioned when he first came to Washington, but at least this fairy tale has its happy ending.
Quincy, thanks for the memories and for your time as a Husky. Best of luck at the next level.