Senior guard Andrew Andrews is having a storybook season with eye-popping numbers for Washington men’s basketball. “He’s playing like an All-American,” said coach Lorenzo Romar.
Lorenzo Romar put it out there and he didn’t flinch.
When the subject turned to senior guard Andrew Andrews, the Washington men’s basketball coach is an unabashed cheerleader.
“In the summer, we knew how important Andrew was going to be to this team,” Romar said. “Thank goodness Andrew is here. Thank goodness Andrew redshirted, because if Andrew hadn’t redshirted, we wouldn’t have this luxury to have this fifth-year senior who not only to me is having an all-conference and player-of-the-year situation, but an all-American season.
“You can say, ‘Wow, I wouldn’t go that far.’ But if you look at what Andrew has done, he’s playing like an all-American.”
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It might seem like a little bit of hyperbole from a coach supporting his star player, but the statistics say Andrews is putting together the finest season at Washington in at least 40 years.
Not since Louie Nelson scored 23.0 points a game during the 1972-73 season has a Husky averaged more points than Andrews, who leads the Pac-12 with a 21.4 average.
Granted, the Huskies (12-5, 4-1 Pac-12) are a little more than halfway through the regular season and there are plenty of games remaining, starting with the 7 p.m. home contest Wednesday against Colorado (14-4, 3-2).
Yet Andrews has been one of the biggest and most surprising story lines in the Pac-12.
“We’re not going to eliminate his points,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said this week. “He’s a good player. He’s very aggressive offensively. He’s going to get his shots. We’ve just got to make sure he works for everything.”
That’s what Arizona State tried to do last Saturday during an 89-85 Washington victory, and it didn’t work out so well for the Sun Devils.
Andrews torched Arizona State for 30 points and 12 assists — becoming the only player in the NCAA this season to post those numbers in a game.
“It’s hard to be aggressive on ball screens with him because he goes into the defender,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said. “On the ball screen, he creates the contact, so it’s hard to be aggressive. And if you’re not aggressive on the ball screen, then he’s downhill coming at you going to the rim.
“So he really knows how to play and has a really good future beyond I think this season.”
It would seem as if the NBA scouts are taking a wait-and-see approach. Andrews doesn’t appear on the top 91 senior list compiled by Draftexpress.com and was excluded from NBAdraft.net’s top 50 senior list.
Perhaps more surprising, Andrews was not included on the midseason watch list for the John Wooden Award that includes the nation’s top 25 players.
“I don’t play for awards and I don’t play for recognition,” Andrews said. “I try to play to get wins for our team. As long as that’s the focus, I’ll let the media decide what they want to call me and what they think of how I’m playing.”
Andrews is 15th in Washington career scoring with 1,463 points and at his current pace he’ll finish the regular season at seventh.
“When Andrew was recruited, he wasn’t the most highly recruited guy and he’s been a guy that’s had to fight for playing time over the course of his career,” said former Husky Eldridge Recasner, an analyst for the Pac-12 Networks. “Now it’s his time to shine and he’s doing it with a bunch of freshmen, which is probably the best story in Husky basketball in forever.”
Andrews is doing things no other player has done since Romar arrived in 2002.
The 6-foot-2 guard is the first Husky with five career 30-point games — four this season — since Todd MacCulloch (1996-99) had eight.
Andrews, who also is averaging a team-high 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists, is the first person to put up those overall numbers since Brandon Roy averaged 20 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 2005-06.
And the Huskies retired Roy’s No. 3 jersey, which hangs in the rafters at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
“Granted they’re only 17 games into it, but so far I don’t know if there’s been a guy who’s had such a season,” said former Husky Jason Hamilton, the team’s radio analyst. “We saw really great things with Brandon. We saw great things with Isaiah (Thomas).
“But they came in individual games, and it wasn’t necessarily every single game. Andrew has had one bad game and that was at Arizona. He’s been remarkably consistent.”
There’s always a disclaimer when discussing Andrews’ legacy because he hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament.
“If he can cap this year off with a postseason tournament, then not only will it go down as one of the best individual performances we’ve seen at Washington, but it’ll be the start of the next run of Husky basketball back to postseason,” Hamilton said. “If they make it this year, you have to expect that with a seasoned group coming back next year and some additions that they’re going to be poised again to go on this next little run.
“And Andrew’s team and his performance will be the catalyst for that.”
• Former Washington star Isaiah Thomas will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor. The ceremony will be March 12 before the Pac-12 Tournament title game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
|Andrew Andrews is poised to move up Washington’s career scoring list for men’s basketball:|
|Source: UW sports information|