‘One guy I don’t want to bet against:’ Isaac Andrews continues to shine in final season with Wapahani basketball

Senior Isaac Andrews dribbles the ball against Monroe Central Feb. 9 at Monroe Central High School. Andrew Berger, DN
Senior Isaac Andrews dribbles the ball against Monroe Central Feb. 9 at Monroe Central High School. Andrew Berger, DN

Isaac Andrews hates talking about himself. 

After a Wapahani basketball game, the senior keeps his answers short and always remembers to give credit to his teammates and coaches rather than himself. When he broke the school’s career scoring record against Daleville Friday, Feb. 16, he continued the trend. 

Yet when Andrews walks out of the locker room, it’s not uncommon for a child to ask for an autograph. 

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “You gotta be doing something right if people are wanting your autograph. I’m never going to say no to that.” 

So why is a high school student – who would rather talk about many things other than himself – on the radar of the whole Delaware County community? 

It’s because of who he is and how he’s carried himself the last four years. 

Growing up around Delaware County basketball royalty 

When he was in fourth grade, Isaac and his parents, Melissa and Jeff Andrews, attended the Raiders’ game against Blackford Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. The family sat in the top row across from the Wapahani bench. 

During that contest, Grant Evans – now the Raiders’ No. 2 all-time scorer — became the then No. 1 all-time scorer as he dropped 44 points, which was the Wapahani record for the most points scored in a game. Isaac also beat that record this season with 45 points in the Raiders’ three-overtime win against Cowan Feb. 1. 

Soon after Evans graduated, Isaac started taking lessons from him. That relationship is now a friendship rather than a mentor-mentee agreement. 

“He has helped me come a long way,” Isaac said. “In season or out of season, he always wanted to get in the gym with me, and I love getting in there with him too.” 

Weeks before Isaac hit two free throws to break the record, Evans knew it was coming. It was something he looked forward to. 

However, he also had a good feeling the 18-year-old could also break the all-time Delaware County scoring leader, which is still held by Muncie Central’s Ron Bonham. 

“He's one guy I don't want to bet against. I can guarantee you he's not counting his points,” Evans said. “But when you have the program he's involved in and the leader he is and the guys on the team he has, I would not bet against it. I would say he'll break it.”

Yet, Isaac is no stranger to Bonham. His grandfather, Steve Curtis, Melissa’s dad, and the former Bearcat were good friends. Jeff's grandfather also knew Bonham very well due to them being in the same band. This formed a friendship between the two and their families. 

“I think Isaac was in fourth grade, and I remember him talking to Ron,” Jeff said. “He said ‘You can get my record one of these days. I shot 600 shots a day, every day when I was young.’ And so Isaac made sure to try to go above that.” 

Years after Bonham told Isaac that, it may become a reality. He is currently 22 (2,007) points away from the title (2,028), and while he wants it, he knows he’s in elite company.

“Even if I end up second, knocking on wood that doesn't happen, that is a huge accomplishment,” he said, laughing. “With someone like him that went to the NBA and was a very good player, it’s an honor to be up there.” 

His work ethic and knowledge of ‘ball’ 

Before Isaac knew he’d be chasing Bonham’s record, let alone breaking the Raiders’ scoring record, he was just a kid with a basketball. In sixth grade, Isaac got a copy of Kobe Bryant’s book,  “The Mamba Mentality” from his former volleyball coach, Mike Lingenfelter. 

After reading the book, Isaac wanted to put in more work. He asked Jeff if he could take him to the gym every morning. 

“It talked about [Bryant] going into the gym in the morning,” Isaac said. “I was struggling to find gym time because of other sports. I asked my dad one day if we could go in the morning. I don’t think he really wanted to, but he took me every day.” 

He has since kept that routine for his whole career. Even after practices end around 5:30 p.m., he can be found shooting in the same gymnasium for another two hours. While he softens that during the summer and closer to the state tournament, it has become a part of his life. 

Soon after Isaac began working with Evans, it didn’t take long for the former Raider to realize what his new lesson could become. Two days after their first session, Evans received a video from Jeff. It showed Isaac working on his game in their driveway.

“It doesn't matter what you do with a trainer if you don't go work on your own,” Evans said. “What you do as a trainer won't ever translate to a game. At that moment, it was like, ‘This kid's willing to at least to put the work in on his own.’”

Ten years later, Isaac hasn’t stopped. 

While his opponents may not be fond of facing him on the court, they know the work he puts into the game. After his record-breaking performance against the Broncos, Daleville senior Meryck Adams credited Isaac for what he has brought to the Raiders. 

“Over the last few years, I have realized that he is probably the smartest player that will ever come out of the Mid-Eastern Conference,” Adams said. “It’s always fun playing against the best of the best.”  

Yet Isaac’s ability to go toe-to-toe with other athletes isn’t just because of his basketball skills. It’s due to how he prepares. 

Wapahani has a period every day called ‘academic lab.’ For that time, Isaac is in assistant coach Travis Stangland’s room. A business teacher, multiple computers sit in Stangland’s classroom.

Isaac can be found parked in front of a screen watching film. He looks for everything; the opponent’s movement, their habits and he finds something that can be used against the guy he’ll guard. 

However, he’s not afraid to look at himself. 

“I’m mostly critiquing myself,” he said. “Most of the time I’ll find what I missed, what pass I missed, where I should have been on defense.” 

He tries to do this for at least 30 minutes a day. Yet it doesn't stop at the high school level. When he watches college basketball, he focuses on what the competitors do. His favorite team to watch is Purdue due to the way the Boilermakers run their offense. 

Senior Isaac Andrews shoots the ball against Monroe Central Feb. 9 at Monroe Central High School. Andrew Berger, DN

A leader on and off the court 

Even though he’s known for sinking 3-pointers and leading the Raiders’ to winning seasons, he is also the guy people want to be around. Jeff said he was an average high school basketball player, but believes the game kept him out of trouble. With Isaac being a 4.3 GPA student, the sport has done the same for his son. 

“I knew I wanted my kids to experience that, and you learn so much from the game,” Jeff said. “I think a lot of that just leads to your adult life with the lessons it teaches you. I told him [and my other sons],  ‘If you approach whatever you do after basketball the way you [approach] basketball, you're going to have success.’”

When it comes to the town of Selma, No. 20 is a local celebrity. However, some of the credit has to go to the Raiders as a whole. 

While Isaac is a favorite, anyone who wears that jersey is seen as a role model. To Evans, this has been made possible because of Wapahani head coach Matt Luce and the Raiders that came before him. 

“It's an honor to wear that jersey. When you have that opportunity to put on a jersey, it's just something you don't take for granted,” Evans said. “Growing up in a small town, especially the town of Selma, every single one of those guys is looked up to, and they're basically celebrities around town. Every young kid looks out to them.”

When it comes to Isaac, he doesn’t hide the fact that he has become more of a leader for the Raiders. 

“Last year, I shared that role with Aidan Franks, Nate Nelson and the rest of those seniors,” he said. “This year with me, Mason [Barton] and Nick [Cook], that has really helped me. The communication has helped because I’m a pretty quiet person off the court.” 

Yet the biggest way he has become the leader he is today is due to how he acts. Evans said it is not a rare sight to see Isaac’s car parked by the gym’s entrance on a Sunday. 

“It's a culture that I think coaches have established, but Isaac Andrews has 100 percent taken it to the next level,” Evans said. “He has done it by leading by example, putting in extra work when no one else is in the gym or when you're not required to be in the gym.” 

That mindset has helped the Raiders post an 82-17 record during the last four seasons. While his leadership may have improved, Isaac thinks it's the attitude the Raiders bring every day that has spearheaded the charge.   

“It’s the hard work we put in before the season and during the season,” he said. “It’s hard-nosed, everybody wants to win. There’s no tolerance for people goofing off. If you don’t want to be here, don’t be here. But if you want to win, this is the right place to be.” 

The other important factor when it comes to success: it’s personal. 

“Here, [winning] is a lot more personal,” Isaac said. “You have one-on-one connections with everybody on your team, the coaching staff, the community. I think that just means something.” 

Beyond high school basketball

As he is about to go into his final state tournament, Isaac is planning on playing in college and already has an idea of what he’s looking for.

“I’m just looking for a team that’s like a family, " he said. “I want them to want me for me. I can help them and they can help me.”

The guard is 6’1, which is something that might affect what level he plays at. However, Evans – who went on to play at Indiana Wesleyan – has talked to coaches about him. 

“He doesn't necessarily pass the eye test,” Evans said. “So it's one of those things where he'll probably fall through the cracks a little bit. But wherever whatever program gets him, they're gonna get a winner. 

“They're gonna get a guy who's gonna commit to their program for four years, and whether he sees the floor as a freshman or not, he's going to add a ton of value to whatever program he goes to.”

However, the way that college athletics have been affected by the transfer portal has affected Isaac’s recruiting process. While there have been frustrating moments, Jeff thinks his son has handled the adversity the best way he can. 

Jeff confirmed that there have been some schools and coaches who have an interest in the Raiders’ leading scorer.

“I’ve talked to schools, but that’s a secret right now,” Isaac said, laughing. 

Whatever happens, Isaac knows his games at Wapahani are numbered. While he might not want to think about it, he already has an idea of how he wants to be remembered and how it can hopefully help the same kids who want to be him. 

“That I was a hard worker,” he said. “That I was someone who set the precedent for other people. That if you really put your nose down and grind, you can get what you want to accomplish… This program has given me everything.”

Isaac will start his last high school postseason when the Raiders face Lapel Wednesday, Feb. 28. The game will start at 7:30. 

Contact Zach Carter with comments at zachary.carter@bsu.edu or on X @ZachCarter85.


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