Boys Basketball – CBA’s Pat Andree Commits to Lehigh
Christian Brothers Academy 6-foot-8 Class of 2016 forward Pat Andree announced Sunday night via Twitter that he has agreed to accept a scholarship to play at Lehigh University.
"I felt all along that Lehigh was the place that fit me the best," Andree said. "Their coaches have been recruiting me for about a year and a half and I've even had a chance to hang out with the guys on the team and get to know them. More than anything though, I thought this was the best place to become the player I want to be."
With a young team coming off of a season in which it finished two games about .500, Lehigh has the kind of roster situation that will afford Andree an opportunity to play right away.
"I really felt like the roster really fit me because they are going to have a need at my position when I get there, which means I'm going to have a chance at playing as a freshman, which was important to me," Andree said.
Andree said he chose Lehigh over George Washington, American University and William and Mary - which joined the recruitment late but impressed Andree.
"(George Washington) was interesting because it was in the Atlantic 10 and that was the most prestigious league I could have gone and played in," Andree said. "If I wanted to test my ego, I could have tried playing there.
"They were all good options and I think because every school was good academically, my decision was never really about academics because any choice I made would have given me the academic opportunities I was looking for."
Lehigh won the Patriot League in 2011-2012 and defeated Duke in the NCAA Tournament second round during the same season. The Mountain Hawks climbed back over the .500 mark last year (16-14) after a losing campaign (14-18) in 2013-14.
"The great thing about coach (Brett) Reed is that he doesn't just want to make the NCAA Tournament; he wants to win games in the tournament," Andree said. "He's not afraid to go out and play a challenging schedule because the ultimate goal is to make an impact in March and I think that's why guys want to play there."
Despite losing in the first round of the League Tournament and failing to qualify for a postseason tournament, Lehigh had both the Patriot League Player of the Year (Tim Kempton) and the League Rookie of the Year (Kahron Ross), both of whom will be eligble during Andree's freshman year.
"Coach Reed has coached some great players and when you see they've had five of the last nine rookies of the year in the Patriot League, Players of the Year, a lottery pick, it just shows you that if you put in the work, you can do some pretty great things," Andree said.
Andree is a three-year varsity starter and the first CBA player in 31 years to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career as a junior. He will enter his senior season within striking distance of the program's all-time career scoring mark, which is held by 1975 graduate Bob Roma, who scored 1,671 points.
During his junior season, Andree helped lead CBA to its first NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship since 2009. He poured in 28 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field and 7-for-7 from three-point range in the sectional final win over St. Augustine - the highlight of a season in which Andree averaged 19.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while knocking down 64 three-pointers.
There were considerable expectations for Andree from his first season at CBA, when he was believed to be the first freshman to ever start for the Colts. He was a Shore Sports Network First-team All-Shore forward in both his sophomore and junior seasons, during which he led CBA to the Shore Conference Tournament final each year.
"I've worked really hard to change my body over the summer, trying to become more explosive and more athletic," said Andree, who has been training with former Rutgers and Jets defensive lineman Val Barnaby. "I think people are going to be surprised when they see me play for the first time."
Andree and his team will be after that elusive Shore Conference Tournament championship, which has eluded CBA since 2010.
"We'd like to have a season like the one we had last year, except we'd like to get back to the Shore Conference and state finals and win both this time," Andree said. "We're going to have three starters back from a team that was one win away from winning both, so I think we'll have a pretty good chance."