It hasn’t taken long for Andre Drummond to captivate the state of Connecticut. Halfway through his freshman season, it’s safe to call Drummond a “fan favorite.”
Drummond is an in-state kid, and probably Connecticut’s best prospect since Marcus Camby. Because of that, his every move is closely monitored. There haven’t many dull moments so far.
Here’s a timeline of Drummond’s brief, yet eventful, collegiate career:
Aug. 8 — The Decision. Drummond disappoints a host of college coaches and announces that he’ll attend Wilbraham & Monson Academy with AAU buddy Kris Dunn. He also narrows his college choices to Louisville, Kentucky, UConn, Georgetown and West Virginia. Of course, the option to jump from Wilbraham to the NBA is still there, too.
Aug. 26 — The Tweet (below). It comes out of left field — even catches Alex Oriakhi by surprise. It also catapults UConn back into the national title conversation.
Sept. 2 — In order to make room for Drummond, redshirt freshman Michael Bradley vows to give up his scholarship. Bradley is set to receive some institutional aid.
“I don’t want anybody to pity me,” Bradley tells ESPN.com. “That is the one thing that I don’t want. But, I’ll just say I made a lot of sacrifices growing up that were kind of forced on me. It was kind of hard, but it wasn’t too bad.”
Sept. 29 — It looks as though Drummond’s NCAA eligibility could be jeopardized by an Adidas video in which he appeared alongside Dunn during the summer.
Oct. 3 — Because the video was made prior to Drummond’s enrollment, he is not penalized. For what it’s worth, neither is Dunn, a senior at New London High.
Oct. 28 — Freshman walk-on Brendan Allen starts his career out with a bang — literally. Allen collides with Drummond in a drill and gives the prized recruit a mild concussion and a broken nose.
“I thought I was going to be vilified there for a while, bumping into Drummond like that,” Allen later said with a laugh.
Drummond spends the night in the infirmary and is forced to wear a mask (wish it was this one) until Dec. 8.
Nov. 11 — Drummond’ big debut turns out to be a big disappointment. He goes scoreless for the first time in his life, he says, in a lethargic 70-57 win over Columbia.
Nov. 17 — The big fella records his first career double-double in a 20-point win over Maine, but shoots just 1-for-8 from the foul line. Needless to say, free throws become a point of emphasis for Drummond.
Nov. 26 — In his best game of the season (to this point), Drummond posts 12 points, 10 boards and seven blocks against Florida State. But another freshman truly steals the show. Ryan Boatright sinks three free throws to force overtime and momentarily take the spotlight off Drummond. Boatright was the story against Arkansas, as well, while Drummond tallied just one point and one rebound.
Dec. 8 — Unmasked for the first time, Drummond abuses 25th-ranked Harvard (see below).
Dec. 18 — Drummond connects on 11-of-12 field goal attempts for a career-high 24 points against a clearly outmanned Holy Cross squad.
Dec. 21 — News leaks that Drummond never took Bradley’s scholarship, and was actually a walk-on. Drummond told reporters that, despite the initial reports, he came to UConn with the full intention of paying his own way.
“Mike worked hard,” Drummond says. “I’ve played with Mike since I was like 16 years old. He worked real hard to get that scholarship. That’s kind of disrespectful to take it from him. I would never do anything like that.”
Jan. 2 — “Wait, who’s Herb Pope?” The whole issue becomes way overblown, and Drummond gets understandably frustrated with the attention the story receives.
Jan. 7 — UConn loses its second consecutive game — this one a stunner at Rutgers — and Drummond commits seven turnovers. Following the loss, he remains upbeat, still smiling and laughing with his friends and family.
Jan. 9 — Jim Calhoun says the crowd got UConn going. Well, Andre Drummond got the crowd going. The freshman walk-on dominates the second half as UConn rallies past West Virginia and avoids a third consecutive loss.
“People forget — I don’t — he had no points in the opener (against Columbia),” Calhoun says. “…Andre Drummond was special tonight.”