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Originally published October 28, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Abdul Gaddy to sign with Huskies basketball

Bellarmine Prep star was going to play for Arizona until health issues forced coach Lute Olson to retire

Seattle Times staff reporter

Arizona's loss became Washington's gain Tuesday night as guard Abdul Gaddy of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, the highest-rated recruit in the state, announced he will sign a letter-of-intent next month to play basketball for the Huskies.

The 6-3, 170-pound Gaddy, rated by Scout.com as the No. 2 point guard in the nation, had previously committed to Arizona. But he reopened his recruitment last week when Arizona coach Lute Olson announced his retirement for health reasons.

Gaddy's father, Abdul Gaddy Sr., said Tuesday night his son was worried about the "inconsistencies" of the coaching situation at Arizona, which he said had been his dream school for years.

Once Arizona was no longer in the picture, Gaddy again seriously considered UW along with UCLA, which he had also visited.

"We came back to the drawing board and (UW) coach (Lorenzo) Romar has always been there," Gaddy Sr. said. "He's followed him since he was a freshman in highs school. And it will be a great opportunity to play in front of family and friends. It was just kind of a no-brainer at the end."

Gaddy will sign a letter with UW during the early signing period, which begins Nov. 12.

His commitment is a coup for the Huskies, who already had three commitments but were in danger of missing out on the top players in the state, such as Gaddy's Bellarmine Prep teammate Avery Bradley (Texas) and Franklin's Peyton Siva (Louisville).

UW's other commitments are from guard C.J. Wilcox of Provo, Utah; center Charles Garcia Jr., of Riverside (Calif.) CC; and forward Clarence Trent, formerly of Gig Harbor and now playing at a prep school in North Carolina.

The Huskies had just one scholarship left to give before Gaddy's commitment.

Gaddy averaged 23 points a game last season for Bellarmine and won the Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award after leading the Lions to a third-place finish at the state 4A Tournament.

He will turn 17 in January and Gaddy Sr. noted that his son has to stay in college for at least two years before considering the NBA due to the league's new age requirements.

"He's not going to be a one-and-done kid," Gaddy Sr. said. "So he's excited to go play there and have that opportunity to have a degree. This will be an opportunity to spread his wings a little bit but not be too far away."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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