SEATTLE — The last time Quincy Pondexter felt snubbed, he swore off McDonald’s forever. His favorite breakfast spot was off his list after the McDonald’s All-America team left him off theirs following his senior year at Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial High School in 2006.
That boycott was lifted last summer, when Pondexter was playing for a U.S. World University Games team in Serbia and the food options were limited.
After this week’s news, he might be ready for another one.
The Pac-10 named Cal’s Jerome Randle as its player of the year earlier this week, and it’s safe to say that Pondexter felt snubbed by the selection.
“I can’t hold a grudge against the conference that made me who I am,” he said Tuesday, one day after the award was announced. “It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. I know people around Seattle will probably remember it a lot more than I will.”
Teammate and fellow all-Pac-10 selection Isaiah Thomas went one step further Tuesday, saying he “didn’t like” the conference’s pick.
“Pondexter didn’t get player of the year, and he deserved it,” Thomas said. “I feel for him because he’s done everything he possibly can for this team. He had an exceptional year, and I feel like he deserved it. It was an honor for me to get the individual award, but that was one that really hurt.”
At the beginning of his weekly press conference Tuesday, Pondexter was saying all the right things when asked about the award.
“The coaches made a good decision,” he said. “Jerome Randle’s a tremendous player. He did a good job of leading his team to a 21-9 record. He’s a good player. There’s nothing to take away from him.”
When it was pointed out to Pondexter that he, too, led his team to a 21-9 record, he grinned.
“They made their decision; there’s nothing I can do,” he said. “It’s out of my hands, it’s out of their hands, and we’ve just got to move on. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. You just have to take it with a grain of salt and move on.”
The last time something like this happened to Pondexter was in 2006, when the selection committee for the annual McDonald’s All-America game left his name off its 24-man roster.
“Then you hear the list and hear names like (current UCLA player) James Keefe and (current Baylor star) Tweety Carter and guys that you think you might be better than, and it just sucks,” Pondexter said of the players picked ahead of him for the McDonald’s team. “But at the same time, you have to know use that as motivation and move on.”
It took almost four years for Pondexter to get over that snub. Only when he was faced with Serbian food like “soup that looked like it had pigs’ eyes in it,” and spinach that “looked like Gac — you know, the green stuff kids used to play with,” did Pondexter break down and make a trip to the Golden Arches.
“I couldn’t die,” he said. “It came down to that point. It was either death or McDonald’s. And I ended up going with McDonald’s.
“It was four years, and I didn’t eat it a day. And I used to eat it, literally, every day.”
Rather than staging another one-man boycott against one of the largest food chains in the world, Pondexter might find another to prove himself after this week’s so-called snub.
“It adds more fuel to our fire,” Thomas said. “As I told Quincy (after the news came out Monday): ‘You’ve still got people doubting you. You’ve just got to show them (at the conference tournament this week) who’s the Pac-10 player of the year.’”
Romar said that sophomore walk-on Brendan Sherrer, who hasn’t played in almost three weeks due in part to an undisclosed infection, will probably not make the trip to Los Angeles. … Pondexter has been fighting a cold this week but said it will not keep him out of action.