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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Abdul Gaddy counts to 18,000 shots

By Eamonn Brennan

The best college hoops players don't take breaks. Their offseason is a mix of camps, workouts, exhibitions, workouts and more workouts. But the best players don't just work out. They construct finely tuned plans for their development, focusing on specific, tangible goals. You don't try to "become a better shooter." You try to make 18,000 shots before the start of practice in October.

Or, at least, that's what Washington guard Abdul Gaddy is doing. On Tuesday, Gaddy tweeted the following:
"18,000 Makes before preseason... Been tallying since I started... Getting closer... This how much I got now.."

His progress to this point was included in a Twitter photo, which you can see here. It's just a list of numbers written in pen on notebook paper with the title "Makes Before Preseason," which seems like a slightly spartan way to keep track of this much data. There's got to be an app for that, right?

No matter. The message -- Gaddy has already accumulated 8,280 makes this offseason, with a goal of reaching 18,000 by Oct. 15 -- is much more important than the medium. The Huskies guard struggled from beyond the arc in his freshman season but morphed into a 40 percent 3-point shooter before his sophomore season was derailed by a season-ending injury. Despite the limited time on the floor, Gaddy's sophomore year was hugely promising: He posted a 123.1 offensive rating, an effective field goal percentage of 57.4, a true shooting percentage of 59.0 and an assist rate of 26.8. Compare it to former teammate and Washington star Isaiah Thomas's season statistics, and even if you factor in some statistical decline thanks to more playing time and a greater role in the offense, there's still good reason to think Washington's backcourt won't suffer much of a drop-off without Thomas in 2011-12.

In the meantime, we know Gaddy is in the gym, firing up thousands of shots, recording each make in his notebook. The stats are good enough already. If he turns all this offseason work into legitimate improvement -- if he becomes a deadly outside shooter as well as an efficient distributor -- look out. Washington fans may have another backcourt star on their hands.