Friday, February 11, 2005

High Character: D'Andre Bell

The west coast kid who will journey to GaTech for the 2005/2006 hoops season is evidently just another high quality, high character kid that Coach Hewitt has landed. This is a great story on Bell, showing his loyalty, character and hard work.

Coach James Paleno is just happy to get Bell back on the court.

"He's the hardest working kid I've been around," Paleno said. "He's such a kind person, such a completely unspoiled person. He's willing to help anyone. You just don't see his ego."

For the season, Bell is averaging 21.4 pts, 14.5 boards, and is 88% from the charity stripe.

Bell uses a higher standard to judge himself. He is rarely satisfied after a game because he's always striving for perfection.

"People say I do that to a fault, but I just want to be the best," he said. "When I'm playing, I think ACC. I think, 'They're not going to call that in the ACC. I need to get my shot off quicker.' "

I will forgive him about the next point - he used something Dickey V said about Emeka Okafor and playing with pain:

The stoic, professional demeanor he displays on the court was reinforced by something he heard said by ESPN commentator Dick Vitale about the way former Connecticut forward Emeka Okafor was showing pain from an injury.

"Dick Vitale said he shouldn't be wincing running up and down the court," Bell said. "He's a super star and has to be stronger, and that's part of being a leader, not showing any weaknesses."

And so Bell is doing the same, even though he's not 100%. He could have spent this month resting and healing his foot in preparation for Georgia Tech, but he didn't want to see his senior season wasted. He was in no mood to keep sitting on the Palisades bench.

"I was dying," he said.

It's likely he won't get the chance to play on a championship team in high school, but he has no regrets.

"All this made me a better player, taking on all types of responsibilities that an average player wouldn't take on," he said. "It's a lot to deal with, having to be the leading rebounder, at the same time be the shooting guard, at the same time be the defensive stopper. It's prepared me."

I can't wait to see Bell in a Jacket uniform. Maybe this is the start of a successful pipeline into Cali. Welcome aboard D'Andre!!!!