Thursday, December 8, 2011

Andre Drummond: Unmasked

KISS rejuvenated their faltering careers by "unmasking" themselves back in 1983. Andre Drummond's brief collegiate career was hardly faltering, but certainly seemed a bit rejuvenated Thursday night after shedding his own mask. (And Gene Simmons could never dunk, anyway, especially in those platform dragon shoes).

Playing without his protective face mask for the first time this season, Drummond played with renewed vigor and aggression in UConn's 67-53 win over Harvard. He had 12 points -- 10 of them on thunderous slam dunks.

“That’s one of the best stats we’ve had on the year,” Jim Calhoun said. “When you’re as big as strong as (Drummond), finesse doesn’t come into the picture.”

Calhoun wasn't as pleased with some of Drummond's other stats -- just four rebounds and one block. But his most impressive stats -- 6-foot-11, 277 pounds -- are even more glaring when he's soaring above the rim for rafter-shaking dunks.

In fact, after one of his dunks, Drummond tilted the shot clock above the basket, forcing officials to fix it during a timeout.

“I didn’t notice that," Drummond said afterwards. "Next time, I’ll try to bring the whole hoop down.”

In truth, he was apologetic to ref John Cahill when Cahill warned him about hanging on the rim after dunks.

"I think John thought he was going to get a wise (response), but (Andre) said, ‘No, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean it,'" Calhoun related. "I was going to say, ‘John, he gets up that high, he’s got to hang on something.’”

Drummond said playing without the facemask was a big help.

“I could see a lot better," he said. "My peripheral vision was a lot better. I could see my defender moving.”

“I’d do anything to get that off my face.”

Calhoun also noted that on Thursday Drummond, always a great listener, started asking questions for the first time. According to Calhoun, Drummond was concerned with how well Harvard's Keith Wright was posting him up.

"He was asking, ‘How do I get around that?’" Calhoun said. "He’s seeking out how to get better. George (Blaney) calls him ‘The Natural’ all the time. He is a very naturally gifted athlete. We want him to be a naturally-gifted athlete who’s a terrific basketball player.”

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