Boys Basketball – Pat Andree Breaks CBA Scoring Record in Win Over Howell
MIDDLETOWN - Pat Andree decided to follow in the footsteps of his two older brothers and play his high school basketball at Christian Brothers Academy so he could experience what they and most every other Colts player has over the past three decades: winning a championship.
Andree has made it his mission to lead CBA to a Shore Conference Tournament title and while he has yet to join the club in which members of 16 CBA teams reside, Tuesday against Howell, he joined a club all his own.
During a 26-point outing in a 69-52 win over the Rebels, Andree became CBA's all-time scoring leader, breaking a record held by Bob Roma for 41 years. Andree ended Tuesday with 1,675 career points, eclipsing Roma's previous record of 1,671.
"This means a lot to me," Andree acknowledged. "I look up to guys like Bob Roma and John Crotty. I've heard a lot about those guys and what they were able to do on and off the court. It's an honor to be at the top of that list now.
"They've done a lot of great things after here - in college and some even in the NBA - and that's what I want to do. I want to win here first and do what they did while they were here. It's speaks to the tradition, that guys like that did what they did all while winning while they were here."
"He's as good as anyone who's played here," CBA coach and former Colts 1,000-point-scorer Geoff Billet said. "I'd put him up against just about anybody. Sometimes points don't tell the whole story but in his case, I think they tell a lot of the story."
The record-breaking shot was a fitting one for Andree, both in its kind and in its impact. With CBA trailing Howell by a point, Andree took a kick-out pass from senior Sam Houston and drilled a three-pointer from well beyond the arc on the right wing - a shot that has become his staple in four varsity seasons - with 4:33 left in the third quarter to give CBA a 44-42 lead. The Colts did not trail the rest of the way.
"It says a lot the way I got that shot," Andree said. "It came off a great assist off a great offensive rebound from one of my teammates and that's how a lot of my shots have come over the last four years. It just shows that it's not a personal achievement; it's a team achievement. I needed my teammates to get me here and I love them for getting me here.
"If it takes me scoring 30 points a game for us to win, I'll do it. If I need 20 assists to get usa win, I'll do it. I still haven't done a lot of things that the guys behind me on the list have done and that's my focus."
The record-breaking shot was the third consecutive made three-point attempt by Andree to open the third quarter and the sixth straight made shot going back to the second quarter. Andree interrupted his hot streak to pose for a photo at halfcourt with Billet and acknowledge a standing ovation from those in attendance.
Since become the youngest CBA player to reach the 1,000-point plateau last year, it appeared all but inevitable that Andree would eventually become the all-time leading scorer at the most accomplished program in the Shore Conference over the last three-plus decades. While there was little question that Andree would end his career as CBA's all-time leading scorer by the end of the year, few people around the program expected Andree to surpass the record this early in the season.
"About three or four games ago, it started to enter my mind more, especially with everybody telling me that it's coming," Andree said. "I never really looked at it as something I was trying to get to. I tried to help us get these four wins."
"The last two years, Pat's really developed as a player," Billet said. "He's gone from a shooter to a guy with an all-around game. The run that he had to start the year put him in this position right now, but it's still a surprise that it's happened this quickly. He's really put the time in this offseason with the weights, changing his body, becoming more athletic."
Through 13 games this season, Andree has already scored 339 points (26.1 per game). While Andree led CBA in scoring in each of his first three seasons, this year is the first in which he has averaged more than 20 points per game. At one point this season, Andree strung together four straight games of more than 30 points, including a career-high 43 against Moses Brown of R.I.
Billet has as firm a grasp on the challenges of setting records at CBA from his days as a Colts guard in the early-to-mid 1990s. Billet seized a starting job in January of his sophomore season and went on to score 1,101 career points before moving on to play for Rutgers University. Billet is now 16th on CBA's all-time scoring list and is one of the many noteworthy names - along with Roma, former NBA guard Crotty and recent University of Florida standout Dan Werner - that Andree has passed over the past two seasons.
"To be able to do it here is different than it is probably at other places," Billet said. "We try to stress that it's a team game and we don't have guys averaging forty a game. The things he's doing are still within the framework of the team. I don't think anybody would call us a one-man team by any stretch, so to do it here, to do it under the spotlight and the pressure is fun for him and I think really rewarding for him to get up around 1,700 so quickly."
Part of Andree's march toward the record book can be attributed to good timing on his part. He entered the program during a relative malaise, following a season in which CBA hovered around the .500 mark and was a No. 15 seed in the Shore Conference Tournament. With the Colts restocking their pool of talent, Andree was a starter from his first game and led the team in scoring as a freshman at a shade over 14 points per game.
"Pat had the opportunity to play as a freshman and not a lot of other guys here have had that opportunity, so that's helped him," Billet said. "But, with that being said, even if he didn't play as a freshman, at the end of the day, he's still probably going to have the record with what he's done in the last three years."
Andree followed up his freshman season by averaging 15.9 as a sophomore for a CBA team that returned to the Shore Conference Tournament final while also earning a spot on the All-Shore team. Last year, he upped his average to 19.6 points per game while leading the Colts to another SCT final appearance, followed by a trip to the NJSIAA Non-Public A final.
With everything Andree has done, there is still plenty to look forward to, both for him and his team. While Andree is fixated on leading CBA to its first Shore Conference Tournament championship since 2010 and back to the Non-Public A final, he also has a legitimate chance to hit the 2,000-point mark. With 325 points standing between him and that milestone, Andree would need to average a shade better than 20.3 points per game over 16 CBA games. The Colts have nine regular-season games remaining and if they should reach both the SCT and Non-Public South A finals, that would tack on seven extra games to their schedule.
"It's in the back of my mind, but I'm just going to play it game-by-game," Andree said. "If I go through a stretch like I had in the beginning of the year, I think it could be likely. I'm going to keep getting closer, but I'm not going to score 350 points in one game. I've just got to keep taking the good shots my teammates have been getting me and maybe it's something that happens."
Even if CBA should fall short of the championship game in one or both of the tournaments, 2,000 points remains a possibility, but Andree would prefer to get plenty of chances at the milestone if it means he and his team get to keep playing.
"It's not my first goal right now," Andree said of the 2,000-point mark. "I want to win the Shore Conference. I haven't won that yet, so that's my number one goal. If we do that and I don't get 2,000, I'll be plenty happy."
Andree will continue his career at Lehigh University next season and in his last go-round at the high school level, he is leaving a legacy at the Academy and around the state.
"I talked to (Hall of Fame) Coach (Bob) Hurley about Pat and he loves him," Billet said. "We were talking about the recruiting process and the difference between Pat and some of the guys going to play at the highest level being not that much. In some instances, Pat is better than a lot of those guys and looking at performance, he's been as good as anybody and he's had as good a career as anybody.
"For him, I just hope he can finish it off with the team goals, because he's been such a great team guy."