Andrew Andrews probably wouldn’t be listed No. 13 in our Washington countdown if he were playing this season. However, this is a good spot for the Husky point guard because he’s going to redshirt his freshman season.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said Andrews could help the Huskies this season, but he’s more excited about what the team will receive next year and when the 6 foot 2, 195-pound point guard matures. Romar also said redshirting will benefit Andrews if he stays all five years at UW.
Andrews won the 2011 Oregon 5A State Co-Player of the Year award after averaging 24 points, five rebounds and five assists per game at Benson Tech in Portland. He helped Tech to the Oregon Class 5A State championship game where he scored 41 points, hitting six 3-pointers along the way, in a 79-73 double-overtime loss.
Washington has the luxury of sitting the three-star prospect (ESPN gave Andrews two stars) because junior co-captain Abdul Gaddy returned from a knee injury and the Huskies signed consensus five-star recruit Tony Wroten Jr. They’ll likely receive most of the minutes at point guard and might have pushed Andrews out of the rotation.
Still Andrews has been impressive in open runs and summer league competition. Playing with and against UW teammates and local NBA players, at times he’s been the best guard on the court. He isn’t the flashiest of players, but in a short time he’s proven the Huskies will be in good hands next year if Gaddy or Wroten leave after the season.
Here’s a transcript from a recent interview with Andrews.
(Did you know if you Google your name, you get about 100 pictures of [ESPN broadcaster] Erin Andrews?) “[Laughs] Nah I didn’t.”
(Really?) “I’ve never tried it.”
(Never went online and googled yourself?) “No. [Laughs]”
(I did it to learn more about you and the surprising thing is, there’s not a whole lot out there. Why is that?) “I don’t know. Most of my high school life when I was playing basketball I was just under the radar. It’s just typical for me and that’s why I kind of have a chip on my shoulder. Not really being recognized. But it’s a lot better being unrecognized and proving people wrong than being recognized and not living up to other people’s expectations.”
(You’ve talked about the chip on your shoulder before and it seems like it’s something that helps keep you focused.) “Yeah definitely.”
(How so?) “Everyday at practice or in open gym, we go at each other. And I go out there and I try to earn the respect of my teammates. We all have mutual respect for each other, but it’s kind of just my motivation to keep getting better.”
(You told me earlier this summer that you decided to redshirt. Have you changed your mind?) “Nah. I’m still going to redshirt.”
(Do you think you might change your mind?) “I don’t know. Probably not.”
(I’m sure you’ve heard it from a lot of folks who think you shouldn’t redshirt because you have the talent to contribute immediately.) “I’ve heard that from a lot of people. It seems like it’s the talk of the town. But me and Romar we talked about everything and how the season is going to play out and I feel comfortable with the decision I made.”
(Is it flattering to hear folks say you shouldn’t redshirt?) “It’s cool and all, but I just have to stay focused and keep my eye on the big picture.”
(What are you going to do this year?) “As far as basketball or as far as school?”
(With basketball?) “Just working out with (strength coach Matt Ludwig) and get my body right. Just toughen up. Learn the offense and defense and be ready to go next year.”
(What type of player do you think you’ll be?) “I’m going to be a cheerleader pretty much. Just cheer for my team, the bad and the good. And be there when they need me.”
(Can you get where you want to be without playing games?) “Yes I think so. We have a competitive group of guys. From the point guards to the big guys. We have a lot of NBA players who come and watch us play and play with us. They help us. We have a great coach in Romar, (Jim) Shaw and (Raphael) Chillious. So there’s a lot of dudes that are in my favor.”
(Have you talked to the other guys who have redshirted about what the experience is like?) “Definitely. I talked to Darnell (Gant). He was one of the first dudes I talked to. He said I shouldn’t redshirted and I had a good opportunity to play. But he also said it would be a good opportunity to redshirt because I can learn the offense and I won’t be so stagnant when it comes to actually playing the games.”
(Romar said when Abdul Gaddy was hurt last season, he sat on the bench and watched the games like a coach. Do you think you’ll do that?) “Yeah definitely. That’s what I plan on doing. So when I get out there, I’ll have the experience without being on the coach. You can tell when Gaddy practices, he knows where he’s going with the ball. He knows what he’s trying to do with it before he does it.”
(How long have you been around the guys now?) “For awhile. All summer.”
(What has it been like?) “We have a good group of guys. We all get along. There’s no bickering really between any of us. We’re all friends. It’s been fun for me and I’m enjoying it.”
(Who’s helped you the most make the transition?) “I’d say it’s a team effort. We all do team bonding stuff. When we go somewhere, we all go together. We all go out to eat together. After a long day of practice, we all hang together. It’s just a team thing.”
(Who’s your roommate?) “Shawn Kemp and Hikeem Stewart.”
(How is that going?) “It’s good. We have our own rooms. We keep the house clean between three people. It’s been good.”
(Is this your first time away from home?) “Yeah. The longest I’ve been away from home has been like two weeks. It’s cool. It’s only Seattle so if I ever have a problem I can just drive back.”
(How far is that drive?) “Like three hours.”
(Have your family come up to give you some love?) “Yeah they have, but I’m not really homesick at all.”
(What was it about Washington that made it your choice?) “Well the fact that we have really great players that will help me develop. We have a really good coaching staff. And the fact that it’s close to home.”
(I asked you before, but I’ll do it again who has surprised you the most?) “I’d still say Scott Suggs.”
(Why?) “He can do it all. He can shoot, dribble and pass.”
(You said before you hadn’t really seen that from Suggs last year.) “Yeah. I didn’t see that. When I came here, I thought he was a shooter. And he was hurt when I was looking at Washington.”
(What has surprised you about the college game?) “Just the tempo. It’s a lot faster. And just how hard you have to go everyday.”
(Has it been difficult?) “There’s times you wake up and you don’t want to do it, but that’s when you have a drive from loving the game. So it pushes you through it. So it’s not difficult from that standpoint of doing it every day. It’s mind over matter.”
(Of the new guys, who has jumped out?) “Probably Tone (Tony Wroten Jr.). He’s a really good passer. He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s a good player.”
(Has there been many battles between you, Wroten and Stewart?) “We go at it everyday. We go at it in practice. We go at each other in open gym. We’re trying to make each other better.”
(For folks who haven’t seen you play, what are the strengths of your game?) “I can see the floor I guess. I can shoot it from the three. I’m a good dribbler. I can pass the ball. I’m just an overall point guard.”
(Who is your favorite player?) “My favorite player is Kobe (Bryant), but my favorite point guard is probably Chris Paul or Deron Williams.