Had a chance on Thursday to catch up with Andrew Andrews, the oldest, most experienced player on Washington’s men’s basketball roster. After averaging 15 points per game as a junior, Andrews chose to return for his fifth-year senior season rather than transfer, and he talked on Thursday about the Huskies’ young team.
(What’s it like being the older guy on such a young roster?) “It’s kind of just like the reset button. It’s kind of like when I was a freshman, you come in and see a whole bunch of new faces, you have to learn how everybody is. It’s kind of a refresh, new start.”
(Do you think you guys needed that?) “I think every program needs that when you’ve had a certain period of success and you go through the ups and downs. So I think every program does go through that, and I think it was just time for us to.”
(Was this a strange offseason for you, given all the defections?) “Yeah, definitely. It was weird seeing guys leave that did leave, and for me, the summer was just a little bit different because I wasn’t here the whole summer. I wasn’t in school anymore since I graduated, so I spent a lot of my time back home and I would come up every now and then just to work out with the guys and have my face around, so that was the weirdest thing for me just not being here all summer.”
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(Was there a temptation to explore transfer options?) “As far as me exploring, no. I mean, some coaches called out to some of the people that I associate with back home, but as far as me looking into any of that, I didn’t.”
(What made you want to come back?) “I’m just extremely loyal, and this year I would have the chance to play point guard. So that was a huge, huge reason for me, and like I said, I’m just loyal. When I first committed to UW, a couple schools offered me that I would have wanted to go to, but I had already committed, so I didn’t want to back out and decommit or any of that. That’s just the type of guy I am.”
(What do you like about this team?) “The length. And just the speed. Everyone can pretty much guard 1-4. … We’re really long. I might have the shortest wingspan and mine was like 6-7. So I mean, yeah, we’re pretty long.”
(Are you excited to get back to up-tempo, pressure style of basketball?) “That’s been my M.O. the whole time when I got here. I’m kind of the guy who’s always trying to push the tempo, always trying to pick up, deny passes. I actually used to get in trouble the past years for denying when we were supposed to be playing the driving lanes, just because I was used to trying to speed the game up and doing things that way, so now it’s kind of just going back to the natural feel for me.”
(Do you have better personnel to play better defense this year?) “Yeah, I think so. I think with this defense, it allows us to help each other a lot more. Last year, we kind of just funneled people in to Rob, which ended up being our downfall once he got kicked off, because we didn’t have a shot-blocker (like) he was. But this year I feel like with us denying, it will make a lot of teams speed up and maybe a play a way they don’t want to play, which could be in our favor.”
(What is your expectation for this team?) “My expectation is just to prove people wrong. I just saw they had us finishing 12th in our conference. … I think it was on Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report had us finishing 12th. A lot of guys are unsure about us, as far as the media goes. So I think my biggest expectation is to come out and prove people wrong and at the end of the season, have them look back and write an article saying, ‘look what Washington did.’”
(So what kind of classes do you take now that you’ve graduated?) “Yeah, it’s funny. I didn’t even set up my classes, and when I got here I was wondering, ‘when am I going to have my meeting? What am I taking?’ Then I got my schedule and they did it for me. So I’m taking a drama/theater class and then an AFRAM class which is based on ‘12 Years a Slave.’”
(What was your degree in?) “It was in Sociology.”
(Do you think the younger guys look to you for advice? Ask you questions?) “Definitely. I think the good thing about me not being here in the summer, they kind of found their own identity, as far as just the camaraderie between each other. They know what to do. When I got here, they were already running 32, they already knew most of the defense. But now that I’m here, it’s kind of just touching up on things they don’t remember, or things they have forgot or whatever. They’ll ask me questions here and there, and look to me as a leader to just help them.”
(If this team surprises people in one way, what do you think it will be?) “Our tempo and athleticism. That’s going to be the biggest surprise that people haven’t seen in a while here. That’ll be the biggest thing.”