SACREMENTO – UCLA’s Dylan Andrews is on one of the biggest stages in college basketball. The Bruins find themselves in the Sweet 16 and in the hunt for a national championship.
Just a season ago, Andrews was a star for AZ Compass Prep in Chandler. During his senior season, he helped lead the team to a 25-5 record and averaged 13.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Now he is a key figure off the bench for the Bruins, who face the Gonzaga Bulldogs tonight in an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game in Las Vegas. He has played in all but one game this season, averaging 10.8 points, and hit a pair of important free throws with 20 seconds left in UCLA’s win over Northwestern Saturday.
Andrews played his first three years of high school basketball in Los Angeles before transferring to AZ Compass Prep.
“I just wanted to be ready to play at UCLA,” Andrews said. “I felt like preparing at that level helped me be ready for this and where I am right now, March Madness.”
Andrews teamed with many talented players at AZ Compass Prep, including Arizona’s Kylan Boswell. He also faced well known schools including Oak Hill Academy (Virginia), Montverde Academy (Florida) and Prolific Prep (California).
The rise of the AZ Compass Prep basketball program has been meteoric in recent years and is regularly ranked among the top teams in the country.
Andrews said the experience playing there with high level teammates and against elite competition helped him for his collegiate career.
“Nothing can get any better than that,” Andrews said.
His time under coach Ed Gibson helped him with a seamless transition into UCLA.
“His main thing was preaching defense and he’s a defensive minded coach, the same way coach (Mick) Cronin is,” Andrews said. “There wasn’t a better place I could’ve been. I feel like I’m in the perfect situation”
Since coming to UCLA, Andrews has seen consistent playing time. He was also named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week at one point this season.
His roommate and teammate, Jack Seidler, believes Andrews has been a great fit so far.
“Not only is he a great basketball player, but he’s just a great person in general,” Seidler said. “From the second I got to campus, he was super welcoming.”
Seidler added that Andrews “is going to have a great career here. Everytime he gets in the game his defensive intensity and pressure always makes an impact.”
Cronin shared praise for Andrews as well.
“He makes our defense way better,” Cronin told the media before a practice in February. ”He continues to progress. His progression is going to be huge for us.”
Andrews and UCLA will take on the Bulldogs for a spot in the Elite Eight and a chance to continue their quest for a national championship.
For Andrews, the opportunity to play in March Madness is a dream come true.
“I’m just taking it in,” he said. “It’s what you dream about as a little kid and it’s surreal. It’s a blessing to be here.”