Desert Mountain junior Mark Andrews made a name for himself nationally as one of the top football prospects in the nation. That has stayed true this week as Andrews received one of his first Southeastern Conference offers in football from the University of Tennessee.
But for Andrews, his mind isn’t on football, it is on the high school basketball state tournament. That could not have been more evident on Tuesday as he scored a career high 24 points against Mesa to advance to the semi-finals.
“It was definitely a team thing,” said Andrews after the win. “I give credit to my teammates. They were face guarding everyone and kind of let the inside lane get open so I credit them for that.”
“Defensively we are asking him to guard a guy four inches taller than him (Mesa 6’9” center Isaac Allen) and longer than him,” added Desert Mountain head coach Todd Fazio. “That had to be a team effort but Mark is physical and tough and we knew he was up for the challenge.”
When you are a very sought after recruit in one sport but currently playing another, you would think it might be difficult at times to maintain focus. For Desert Mountain head coach Todd Fazio, that is something he and his team has never had to worry about.
“Mark is a young man of strong character,” explained Fazio. “He is a leader of our team and I haven’t had to do anything. He shows up every day, plays hard every day and it’s become a habit for him.”
“It is definitely basketball season and that it definitely where my number one focus is,” mentioned Andrews. “I’ll do anything for the team and we are doing good right now so I am happy about that.”
Andrews in both football and basketball has the luxury of playing receiver and catching passes from two very good quarterbacks. On the gridiron it’s Kyle Allen who is also one of the top football prospects in the state. But also on the hardwood, Andrews has point guard Rolondo Rhymes who is finding him the ball and putting him in position to make plays.
“You never know what Rolondo is going to do,” said Andrews. “You always have to be ready. He is a great player.”
“We’ve also told Rolondo to throw some change-up’s instead of fastballs because sometimes he will riffle it in there,” Fazio joked. “Mark’s a wide receiver, he should be catching those in traffic anyway.”
Desert Mountain has been stellar in the state tournament. They handed a very talented Mesa Jackrabbit team their worst in-state loss of the season on Tuesday. Andrews believes this team could do something special.
“I definitely expect to be in the finals,” said Andrews. “I definitely think this team can do it.”