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Andrew Andrews is leading the way

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Andrew Andrews is putting up the numbers that could make him a Pac 12 player of the year and have the Huskies in the NCAA tournament.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With Andrew Andrews' 30-point, 12-assist performance against Arizona State on Saturday night, the Washington Huskies earned a split of their Arizona road trip.  The Huskies (11-5 overall, 4-1 in Pac 12) are a surprising team so far and a huge part of it has to do with the play of Andrew Andrews.  Can Andrews keep up his great play for a full season?

The senior guard out of Portland is playing the best basketball of his college career.  He leads the Pac-12 in scoring, and the Huskies--picked to place 11th in the Pac-12--are showing signs of finishing in the upper half (dare we say top 4) by the time everyone heads to Vegas in March.  While it is still too early to look at brackets, we do.  All you need to know is that prior to the Arizona trip, the Huskies were projected in.

The surprisingly good play so far is due in large part to Andrews.  Prior to this year, Andrews was sporadic and for every good game there were games full of turnovers, bad shots, and questionable decisions with the ball.  That makes this year that much more impressive for Andrews.

Through his four years of play at the University of Washington, Andrews has played with another point guard to alleviate the pressure.  In 2012, it was Abdul Gaddy, backed by support from Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox.  In 2013 and 2014, Andrews played alongside Nigel Williams-Goss and NWG handled the ball most of the time.

This year, he shares duties with Dejounte Murray and David Crisp.  While both freshmen are continuing to blossom before our eyes, it is Andrews that is showing the savvy of a veteran point guard.

Taking a look at his stats, he’s not too far off from last year’s numbers with some very pleasing improvements.

According to ESPN stats, he is averaging 32.8 minutes per game, shooting almost 40% (.397 to be accurate) from the field and 40% from 3 points.  He is also shooting a blistering 83% (.828) from the free throw line.  The bigger areas of improvement are his rebounds, which are up by 2 this season (6.3 versus 4.3 last year), and his assists, which are up by almost 3 (5.0 versus 2.2 last year).  Of course, his points per game have dramatically increased.  Andrews is scoring 21.4 points per game versus his 15-point average last year.

At this point, Andrews leads the league in scoring with Colorado’s Josh Scott the closest follower at 17.9 points.  He’s 5th in the league in assists and 2nd in the league in Free Throw Percentage, according to the stats from the Pac 12.

By the numbers Andrews is one of the top players in the Pac-12.  His stats and the team’s record reflect that his contribution is valuable, outstanding, and deserving of player-of-the-year consideration.

Despite a couple of glaring bad turnovers in the ASU game, Andrews has shored up his decisionmaking.  He is taking advantage of the "hand-check" fouls by utilizing his quickness in driving to the rim rather than settling for an outside shot.  He is also setting up his teammates nicely and is proving to be a leader on the court.

While the Pac-12 has recognized Andrews with player-of-the-week honors, he was left off of the Wooden Award midseason watch list.  The list includes the top 25 considered for the Wooden Award.  Andrews' play deserved this recognition, and did not receive it.  Three players from the Pac-12 made the list: Arizona’s senior Forward Ryan Anderson, Oregon State’s senior Guard Gary Payton II, and Utah’s sophomore Forward Jakob Poeltl.  Perhaps being left off this list is added incentive for Andrews (on a personal playing level) to continue to push his play.

Last season the Huskies were poised (at 11-1) to do well heading into conference play.  Of course, the team implosion with the dismissal of Robert Upshaw and early losses in conference led to their demise.  This year, despite a couple of bad losses out of conference, the Huskies are 4-1 heading into two winnable games against Colorado and Utah at home.

Andrew Andrews will be a vital part of this team as the Dawgs the go forward.