Boys Basketball – 2015-16 Player of the Year: Pat Andree, CBA
The burden of expectation is heavy even for the most mature of adults, but Pat Andree walked into Christian Brothers Academy at age 14 with the expectation to turn around the fortunes of a proud basketball program.
On his end, he lived up to those expectations and then some. Andree led CBA in scoring in each of his four varsity seasons and capped his career with his best campaign, which earned him the 2015-16 Shore Sports Network Player of the Year.
From the time he stepped on a high school court, Andree could shoot the ball with the best players in the area and while that part of his game improved over his four years, the improvement pales in comparison to the expansion of his all-around game between his junior and senior years. He increased his per-game scoring average by 4.4 points per game – 19.6 to 24.0 – and saw an increase in his rebounding (10.3) and assist (3.4) totals as well.
When it came down to it, though, scoring was Andree’s forte and he did it better than any player to ever come out of CBA. In a win over Howell on Jan. 19, Andree became the school’s all-time leading scorer by passing prior record-holder Bob Roma, who graduated in 1975. By season’s end, Andree had eclipsed Roma’s record by more than 300 points and finished his career with 1,984.
Beyond simply scoring more, Andree scored in more ways this year as well, taking teams inside to circumvent the defenses that tried to overcompensate for his three-point shooting prowess. In a win over Trenton Central in Jersey City in December, Andree scored 37 points while hitting just one three-pointer and frequently brought the ball up against the Tornadoes pressure defense.
That scoring spree against Trenton began a run of four straight games of 30 points or more for Andree, which was the longest streak of any player in the Shore Conference this season (Southern Regional’s Peyton Wejnert had three instances in which he scored 30 points or more in three straight games). In the second game of the streak, Andree poured in a career-high 43 points against Moses Brown of R.I. in a lopsided CBA win.
After a 31-point performance at Manalapan kept the streak going, Andree carried the Colts to an overtime win over Marlboro, scoring 35 of the team’s 69 points to help hold off a furious Mustangs rally.
The four 30-points-plus games accounted for half of his season total, and those eight games of 30 points or more trailed only Wejnert (13) for the most among Shore Conference players. Where Andree separated himself from the field was the balance of overall team success and the degree to which his play impacted that success.
For the third straight year, CBA reached the finals of the Shore Conference Tournament. In his team’s three tournament victories this year, Andree averaged 26.3 points per game, posting 30 in a rout of Middletown North before strong second halves carried the Colts past Lakewood and Manasquan in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Andree scored 25 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals in the win over Lakewood. Against Manasquan, the 6-foot-8 senior scored nine of the team’s 12 points in the third quarter as the Colts broke open a tie game at halftime to win 53-41.
CBA won the Shore Conference Class A North division title for the third straight year with 13 divisional wins. The only thing that prevented the Colts from going a perfect 14-0 was a series of snow days that ended up pushing CBA’s final divisional game of the season against Middletown North back to Feb. 25 – two days before the Shore Conference Tournament final. CBA coach Geoff Billet elected to rest his starters for that entire game and the Lions handed the Colts their only A North loss, 59-45.
CBA lost three of its final four games to end the year beginning with the Middletown North makeup game and that snow-out also may have cost Andree a shot at finishing his career with 2,000 points.
That loss was the beginning of a number of disappointments to end the CBA season, and while Andree’s individual career met the expectations of even the most optimistic person, the team’s shortcomings in the SCT final over his three years left Andree short of his own goal to deliver CBA its first SCT title since 2010.
While there is an element of “what could have been” to CBA’s last three seasons, there was also plenty that actually was thanks to Andree. In the end, he leaves CBA as the program’s all-time leading scorer with three division titles under the team’s belt and an NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship in 2014-15 to boot.
With all he accomplished in his four varsity years, not only does Andree leave for Lehigh University next year as the 2016 Shore Sports Network Player of the Year, but also as one of the great players to ever play for the storied CBA program.