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Andrew Andrews Takes the Long Road On His Way Into the Hearts of Husky Fans

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An uncelebrated star puts an exclamation point on the conclusion of his UW career.

Andrew Andrews has finally broken through into the hearts of Husky fans.
Andrew Andrews has finally broken through into the hearts of Husky fans.
Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Admit it.  You didn't like him from the get go.  And, by you, I mean most of you who follow Husky basketball with a passion.

There have been very few players in the Romar era that have been as divisive and as controversial among fans as Husky senior point guard Andrew Andrews.

No judgement here.  I get it.  The situation is like the relationship that I enjoy with my wife of 17 years.  It's complicated.

First is the fact that he was recruited, in essence, to replace Husky icon and beloved son Isaiah Thomas.  Those were big shoes to fill.

Second, he arrived as a 6'0" point guard lacking any kind of significant athleticism, a consistent jump shot, or the kind of pesky defensive skills that Romar guys seem to always have.

Third, he came into the program just as UW was beginning an extended absence - now standing at five years - from the ranks of "tournament teams".

Fourth, he rightly developed a reputation as an imperfect player in the most important position in Lorenzo Romar's scheme, often demonstrating a lack of discipline, a lack of judgement or a lack of skill in critical junctures of games that could have propelled otherwise mediocre UW teams into more favorable circumstances.

Fifth, his first and last names are the same.  Granted, there is a good reason for that, but in this day and age of Twitter zingers, who cares?

Sixth, he's from Oregon.  I mean, really?  Oregon?

Seventh... well, there is probably a seventh, but I'm tired of writing them.

The point of this article isn't to rip Andrew Andrews.  In fact, the point of this article is to do just the opposite.  If there were ever a player worthy of our admiration, it is about time that we all recognize that Andrew Andrews is that guy.

I admit it.  I love Andrew Andrews.  I'm an unabashed Andrew Andrews fan and I have been since day one.

I loved that Andrews had the humility to submit to a redshirt year to rehab a hip injury and improve his game.  I loved that he was second in free throw attempts despite not being a starter his freshman year.  I loved that when McDonald's All-American Nigel Williams-Goss committed to Lorenzo Romar, he accepted a position change and a secondary role without any of the me-first vitriol that characterizes so many young players these days.  I loved that he didn't transfer when every other rat was jumping ship and I loved that he parlayed his loyalty into a PAC 12 scoring champion title this season.  Above all else, I loved that he embraced his role as a leader of young players on his way to a first-team All PAC 12 appearance in a season in which a post-season trip to the NCAAs was neither expected or likely.

There is much to appreciate about Andrew Andrews the basketball player.  He is loyal.  He takes coaching well.  He grew two inches during his time at UW (or so they say).  His style of play is all about effort and toughness.  He embraced the notion that the best shots are the ones closest to rim and that free throws are like free money to be grasped, even when you are 6'2".  He saved his best games for his biggest rival - the WSU Cougars.  In fact, his 47-point tour-de-force last week was a record-setting exclamation point on a resume of games against WSU that includes a 35-point PAC 12 Player of the Week performance last season.

Above all, what I love about Andrew Andrews is not only that he played but that he led.  He led with the kind of character and commitment that you would expect from a coach, not a player.

I dig that about him.

With just the PAC 12 tournament and whatever string of post-season exhibitions that await the Washington Huskies, Andrew Andrews will conclude his Washington career.  He will do so having endured the kind of strategic flip-flopping  that immolates most programs but, as it turns out, might work out for coach Romar.  He will move on without ever earning the kind of admiration that players with lesser tenures - the Spencer Hawes', Tony Wrotens' and Terrence Ross' of the world - have achieved amongst Husky fans.  He will move on, sadly, without ever having tasted the sweetness of The Dance.

That bums me out.

The good news for Andrew Andrews is that even among the most fickle of Husky fans, we do tend to recognize and revere the best among us not by how they started but how they finished.  By that standard, "PAC 12 scoring champ" and "All PAC 12 first team" have a pretty good ring to them.