Abdul Gaddy is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Tacoma, Washington that is playing his fifth professional season and first in Germany with s.Oliver Wurzburg. Last season he played with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) playing 26 VTB United League games averaging 5.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 52.4%; In the Latvian LBL, he played 25 game averaging 9.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 5.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 50.0%. He played two seasons in Italy with Granarolo Bologna (Italy-Serie A) and as a rookie played with the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA), then moved to Maine Red Claws (D-League) playing 46 games averaging 9.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.0apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 57.6%. He played at Washington(NCAA) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 65.9%. He spoke to German Hoops before the last game of the season against medi Bayreuth.
Abdul, thanks for talking to German Hoops. There is one game left in the regular season and it´s do or die for s.Oliver Wurzburg. How exciting have the last days been for you?
It´s been pretty fun. We have been playing well lately despite having had injuries. It will be a fun day playing against Bayreuth. Both Frankfurt and us are playing for something. These type of games are the reason why we play the game.
On Friday night the Fraport Skyliners were destroyed in Berlin 106-69. Wurzburg played alter that evening in Ludwigsburg. Did head coach Dirk Bauerman tell you that result at halftime in the locker room? What were your feelings?
Coach Bauermann kept quiet. He didn´t look into the score of the Frankfurt game, because he was so consumed with our game in Ludwigsburg. After our loss he told us about the Frankfurt result. We knew after the loss that we had given up a big opportunity. But we can still make something happen against Bayreuth.
On Sunday the Fraport Skyliners pulled on a real squeaker getting by Science City Jena 67-65. Your game in Tuebingen started an hour after this game. Did Wurzburg go into the game knowing the result in Frankfurt?
No we didn´t know. We only knew the score of the first half. We didn´t know Frankfurt had won until after our win. Honestly we were confident that they would beat Jena and we would beat Tuebingen. Both Jena and Tuebingen were playing for nothing. We knew it would come down to Tuesday.
Did you feel pressure in Tuebingen just a little bit? It didn´t seem it as you cruised to an easy 73-57 victory. Was this the second best defensive performance of the season after giving up only 45 points to Braunschweig some weeks ago?
No we didn´t feel pressure. Even if Tuebingen was playing for nothing they still have a good team. As far as numbers and match ups, that win in Tuebingen belonged to one of our best defensive games of the season. But it was hard to top our defensive showing against Braunschweig. We were clicking on all cylinders that day.
What was it like battling ex NBA player Malcom Lee. Did you remember battling him in the NCAA when he was with UCLA?
I played against him for two years in the NCAA. It was a lot of fun. We said hello at the game. We have known each other since high school. He is form the west coast like I am. He is a really good guy and it is always fun playing against guys you know at a high level.
Did he have that NBA swagger or does some of that flair wear away after some years in Europe?
He has always played with that certain swag in his game. That is how it has always been for him. He made the adjustment well to Europe. He has adjusted well to the coaching and his teammates. You can´t be an NBA player in Europe. Even a few years in Europe now, he still has that swag. He has had misfortune playing with a losing team. He hasn´t lost any steps in his game and will continue to have a great career in Europe.
Before we get to the success of the season we have to talk do or die and Bayreuth. You have them home after losing in Bayreuth 86-80. What memories do you have of that game? The stats were pretty even except for the 5 extra possessions of Bayreuth.
That first game was tough. We had been leading the whole game and they closed out the game with their experience and executed well winning. We learned a lot from this game about how we have to close out games. Since that loss we have been closing out games better. Bayreuth is a very good team all across the board. They have a good bench and good coach. It will be a tough game as they are playing for the fourth seed.
Bayreuth is playing a lot better ball after a bad phase in March losing three in a row giving up more than a 100 points each game. Since then they are 5-2 and stepped up their defense. What will be key to getting the win?
We are a good defensive team and have to stick to what we do well. We have to contain them well and make everything tough for them. It will be a tight game until the end. It will come down to the last two or three minutes and who executes the best.
How excited are you to battle guards Gabe York and James Robinson for the win? Do you feel like your intensity and will to win will get you over the hump just a bit more as they are in the playoffs and you are on the door step looking in?
Our team togetherness and will to win will get us over the hump. We have to prove that we can get over the hump. It is always fun playing against top players like Robinson and York. It is always fun competing against guys like them and trying to shut them down, but it isn´t an easy task.
Let´s talk about the team. Robin Benzing was out which put a shift into the team. Suddenly Wurzburg won four of five games. Was this a blessing in disguise?
I don´t know if it was a blessing in disguise. When you lose a great player like a Robin Benzing, you have to make adjustments. In our case we had many guys step up. But it could of gone either way. We could of also lost games, but everyone stepped up. Cliff Hammonds stepped up, the new guy Kam Taylor stepped up, Mo Stuckey stepped up, Owen Klassen stepped up and EJ Singler stepped up. I can go down the list. It worked out for the best. We stayed together as a team as Robbie was out. But Robbie was supporting us so much. He pushed us so much that it helped out team spirit.
What did s.Oliver Wurzburg learn about each other playing without Robin Benzing and how did it become a better team without him?
We learned that we have a very good will to win no matter what the circumstances are and we can´t ever rely on only one player for success. We have a very good team. Anybody can score 20 points on any night. We had the will as a team to figure out how we could get the job done together. Even if we didn´t always have the best odds the last month, we found a way to get the job done. Now we are better prepared for tough moments and are even stronger with Robbie back on the floor.
It seemed like before with Benzing the team relied too much on him and it affected everyone´s else play. With him out it seemed like the team started to play genuine team basketball?
We had to make adjustments when he was out. He is a very good player and it is common when a team has a good offensive weapon, they use it. You see this in the NBA with guys like Lebron, Curry or Westbrook. In the Euroleague it isn´t any different. A Nando de Colo does the same thing with CSKA Moscow. We relied on coach to make the right adjustments. We changed our style. We started to play more pick and roll without Robbie. We didn´t have that guy that we could throw into the post anymore so we relied more on the pick and roll and our shooting. Some might have said that we looked better with this different style without Robbie, but we only saw it as a different style. We won 4 in a row with this style, but also won 5 games in a row when Robbie was here playing that style. At the end of the day all that matters is that we win games no matter what style it is. We stuck with what was hot at that moment. Basketball is a game of adjustments.
How refreshing was the addition of Kameron Taylor been? Is he the best example that there is huge talent in the Pro B and NCAA2?
He is a good example of that. Kam is a good offensive player that can get us a bucket at anytime. He is a really good guy and everyone has embraced him here. He is a good dude that is always positive and plays hard every possession. It doesn´t matter where he has played, when his number is called, he is always ready and has played well. This experience has helped him.
You stated in our last interview a few months ago that you aren´t a stat guy as you are a guy that will get the hockey assist. How do you feel did your playmaking grow in the short time where you didn´t have the main scoring threat of Benzing in the lineup?
Coach Bauermann used me more in Robbie´s absence to make more plays. Coach needed me to step up more than before and I accepted. But it wasn´t only me, but everyone else also took the initiative to step up. Having to make more plays than before also helped my confidence. This new experience has helped me with my consistency making plays in crunch-time situations. Every player have been doing what the team needs most at that moment. I just continue to try to get better. Every game is a new learning experience for me.
How has the defense and all around efficient game of Kameron Taylor helped pick up your game?
His defense has helped me a lot. We have good chemistry and play off each other. On offense I have figured out where he wants the ball and where he likes to finish. A big strength of Kam´s is that he gives us another good guard to take some of the load of Cliff Hammonds and Mo Stuckey, because we don´t want them to run each other into the ground.
Who has been the toughest guard that you have battled this season in the easyCredit BBL?
Jared Cunningham was pretty good. He was very tough to guard. Peyton Siva is always tough to guard.
Did you agree with Alba Berlin Mr everything Luke Sikma as the well deserved 2018 MVP? Is there anything that that guy can´t do on the floor?
I do agree. Sikma deserved the MVP award. He makes Alba Berlin go. He is an overall very good player and a lot like his dad. Alba Berlin is a good team because of him.
How did you experience the 2018 NCAA March Madness? What was the most spectacular upset in the tournament?
Loyola Chicago getting to the Final 4 was the biggest surprise for me. Even Michigan getting to the final was a surprise. I didn´t have them going so far
Deandre Ayton seems lie he could be the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. But having been in Europe this season you must of seen some highlights of Real Madrid´s 19 year old stand out Luca Doncic who belonged to the best players in the Euroleague. Should a guy like that be the automatic #1 pick just from sheer experience and talent?
I think Doncic is the best in the 2018 NBA draft. Will he be drafted #1, I don’t know? Basketball is a business and there is so much more involved. The overwhelming athleticism tends to woo many general managers so they are faced with tough decisions. What Doncic is doing for his age at this level and the confidence he has shown, shows he is the best. If he goes #1, then he deserves it.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
Lebron is like a point guard now as he dominates the ball so much. It is so hard nowadays to be only a point guard as there are so many hybrid point guards. Lebron tries to do so much like guys like Westbrook and Lillard. He can get as many assists as he wants to, but he is more focused filling the stat sheet. There is a different era of basketball now in the NBA.
Lebron James came through scoring 45 points in game 7 getting bay the Indiana Pacers. Did this silence some of his haters who say he doesn´t show up when it counts and can the Cavs get by the Toronto Raptors?
The Cavs can get by the Raptors. It will be tough, because they may be a little tired now. I have the Cavs playing the Sixers in the Eastern Conference final
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
Yes it was. I liked it.
Thanks Abdul for the chat.