Not short of talent

Senior Andres Andrade shows skill despite facing taller opponents


Trisha Newman

Senior Andres Andrade is escorted by senior Giovanni Gutierrez on his last basketball game against Bear Creek.

They say great players go after every rebound on both ends of the floor. Great players run the floor as fast as possible. Great players get game time.

They might even be born for that sport, especially if they are tall and the sport is basketball.

Except that’s not the case for Andres Andrade. The senior is 5’3.”

He chose basketball a sport that is played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop.

Andrade said it’s hard playing a sport where height is so important. “You can’t make up height,” he said, “and you can’t teach it.”

The passion for basketball came to him when he was scrolling through the TV guide. He said, “I was watching the Bulls play and there was this dude, I just watched them play. This dude amazed me and I just fell in love with basketball.”

Being shorter than the other guys on the team has its advantages. “I keep my dribble really low,” he said, “so when people try to reach in and take the ball from me it’s hard because they have to get lower then me and that’s close to impossible.”

He said for his height he has long arms in order to play defense against people that are taller than him. “I can play the best defense in the world but if you can shoot over me then you can shoot over me.”

Having a height difference against the opposing team is a disadvantage for him.

“You can drive at me but you won’t get past me,” Andrade said. “But if you can pull up and shoot over me and I can’t reach then that’s a huge disadvantage.”

Andrade said he loves basketball because he is shorter than everyone else on the team. He said it is competition to him.

Andrade doesn’t mind when people count him out because for him, “It’s a sport I’m never really going to get.”

A lot of people focus their attention on him and think “Oh he can’t play, he’s too small,” but he disregards the thoughts of others and just plays. Andrade tries to compete as much as he can and when he does he scores seven points.

But outside of organized basketball he’d go to parks and shoot hoops with friends or family; one on one, 21, five on five. Whatever they know they’ll just play.

Andrade just has fun with the sport. He said he didn’t actually start playing basketball until his sophomore year. “I had to make up for all this,” he said, “this skill set that I missed growing up.”

When he first started playing basketball he had a really hard time not fouling people because he said, “In soccer you can use a little bit of body contact but in basketball if you reach and you hit them it’s a foul.”

And it seemed he would always get three fouls in two seconds.

“If you love doing it then just keep doing it,” Andrade said. “Even if you are the smallest person on court or if you are too tall to play a sport it doesn’t matter.”