Ex-Memorial star Quincy Pondexter gives back as he works back into NBA shape

The Fresno BeeJune 20, 2014 

Quincy Pondexter, center, is eager to justify to Memphis Grizzlies fans that he merits his four-year, $14 million contract. The former Memorial High star didn't get much of a chance last season, when he got injured in a Dec. 7 game. The 26-year-old guard/forward is in town for his second annual camp next week.

MARK J. TERRILL — ASSOCIATED PRESS

When rising NBA standout Quincy Pondexter suffered a season-ending injury in December, he naturally was upset.

Angry because the ex-Memorial High star had only recently signed a four-year, $14 million contract extension with the Memphis Grizzlies and wanted to prove to the organization and its fans that he was worthy of that kind of financial commitment.

The 26-year-old guard/forward suffered a stress fracture in his right foot against the Golden State Warriors on the first play of a Dec. 7 game in Memphis.

"I know what kind of player I am," said Pondexter, back in Fresno for his second annual basketball camp, which begins Monday at Bullard High. "Going back to the last playoff series (of the 2012-13 season), I was coming into my own.

"I wanted to go out and show people my work. Coming down with the injury and (with an offseason) coaching change, there was so much adversity that was going on that I didn't get a chance to get back in my comfort zone."

But the confidence is back: "After this year sitting out, watching the game, getting acclimated to a new system and everything else, I think sky's the limit."

Pondexter still is rehabilitating, working to get back to full strength ahead of getting back on the court competitively when training camp begins in late September.

His scoring rose in each of his first three seasons in the league, and he averaged 8.9 points per game on .489 shooting in the 2012-13 postseason before slipping back just a bit in his limited 15-game run this past season.

"I've been working extremely hard," Pondexter said. "Getting healthy and making sure I'm a great player when I come back. I think it's kind of cool to be the guy that's being forgotten about, and I'm going to do some special things this season."

Pondexter has been doing that rehab work with the help of his former Memorial High coach — ex-Fresno State star and camp director Wil Hooker.

"His rehab and offseason strength/conditioning program is going well," Hooker said. "He's working his tail off to come back better than ever. Not only is he working hard, but he's working smart. He's listening to his body, resting when he needs to, and eating better. He's taking the necessary steps to make himself a better player."

Pondexter, a first-round NBA draft pick out of Washington in 2010, also is looking to give back by helping others, which is the reason why he is putting on his camp for a second straight year.

Pondexter will be joined by Lakers forward Xavier Henry and Kings guard Ray McCallum. There might even be sightings of Brook and Robin Lopez, Pondexter's teammates at Memorial who have become established NBA players with the Nets and Blazers.

"We're anticipating having a good number of kids to work with," Hooker said. "The kids will enjoy their four days of camp. Quincy will also have some of his NBA friends stop by to speak to the group and participate in camp."


SECOND ANNUAL QUINCY PONDEXTER YOUTH BASKETBALL CAMP

Monday-Thursday: Doors open 8 a.m., camp at 9 a.m., at Bullard High

Eligible: Boys, girls grades K-12

Cost: $100, which includes a T-shirt, basketball, bag and autographed picture from Pondexter, who plays for Memphis of the NBA. Fees accepted at the door.

Details: Wil Hooker at (805) 440-7067

 

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6042, agalaviz@fresnobee.com or @agalaviz_TheBee on Twitter.

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