Nevada Wolf Pack’s Lindsey Drew comes from long basketball bloodlines
Hometown: Encino, Calif.
High School: Fairfax
Hobbies: Music and movies
Sports hero: LeBron James
Basketball is in Lindsey Drew’s blood.
He’s the youngest son of former NBA star Larry Drew, a two-time NBA head coach and current Cleveland Cavaliers assistant head coach.
And he has two brothers, Larry Jr. and Landon, both of whom played or are currently playing college basketball. Landon, the middle son, currently is a senior at Cal State Northridge, while Larry Jr., the oldest, played at North Carolina and UCLA, and is now playing overseas. It was only natural Lindsey pursued the game.
“Basketball was all around me,” Drew said. “You couldn’t get rid of it. My older brothers played, and I was always at the games, school and summer league. It was a trickle down effect.”
The Nevada sophomore admitted being around the game helped with his knowledge, especially with the little things, and he’s a better player because of it. He does the things that are often overlooked by the casual fan, who looks only at numbers.
And, another advantage is you get evaluated on a game-by-game basis not only by your college coach, but your dad, who played in the league.
“He hasn’t seen me play (very often) in person,” Drew said of his dad. “Being in the NBA, he has access to college film. We talk pretty much after every game, and he gives me his evaluation; things I did well and things I need to work on.
“The one thing my dad told me is that you can’t go half way. You have to put it all out there.”
On Christmas Day last year, Drew traveled to Oakland to watch the Cavaliers play the Warriors. The game is in Cleveland today, so he’ll be watching on television while spending time with his mother, Sharon, in Southern California.
Because of his dad’s job, Drew has gotten to rub elbows with NBA players, including LeBron James.
“Right after my dad got the job with Cleveland, I met LeBron,” Drew said. “My dad introduced me, and told LeBron I was playing at Fairfax. It turned out that LeBron had already heard about me. He’s definitely cool.”
Drew is an important, but often overlooked cog on the 11-2 Wolf Pack team which is starting to get some national attention. Nevada is off to the school’s best start since the 2006-07 team started 17-1 under Mark Fox.
“He is very underrated,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said about Drew after watching film prior to the recently concluded South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. “He does a lot of little things.”
Being overlooked is to be expected when you play on a team that has four players averaging double figures. Drew’s 6.2 average is nothing to sneeze at, however.
Drew can score. He’s been in double figures four times this year. Relax on him, and he will bury a 3-pointer or take it to the basket for a dunk. But, his main job is to facilitate, and it’s a role he embraces. It’s been that way ever since he played at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.
“In high school, I played with some really talented guys, and I didn’t need to always look for my shot,” he said. “I focused a lot more on getting the ball to people and playing defense.
“I’m really comfortable right now, and I’m really liking our new players.”
Guys like Drew and his team-first attitude earn the respect of coaches and teammates alike.
“Lindsey feels more comfortable leading verbally now than maybe he did as a freshman,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “Our guys kind of feed off of a lot of things Lindsey does. When you look at our assist numbers, it becomes contagious when a point guard is really unselfish and Lindsey is really, really unselfish.”
Drew said he knew he needed to step up in that area after Marqueze Coleman graduated last year.
The Nevada sophomore said he made a concerted effort to improve at the offensive end, and his numbers prove that. Drew is shooting 50 percent from the floor, including 45 percent from beyond the arc. He takes smart shots. Rarely do you see him force up shots like some of his teammates are prone to do.
“I’ve made a lot of improvement from last year,” Drew said. “Coach Muss made pictures for each player (with different messages) and what they need to work on. One of the things for me was to shoot the ball on the way up.”
Musselman shrugged off Drew’s comment.
“That is just Lindsey being nice,” Nevada’s second-year head coach said. “The biggest thing is the arch on the ball. His shot was kind of flat last year. He has worked a lot on his shot. He continues to get better shooting the basketball. He’s done a great job for us attacking the rim at times. Obviously the way he’s rebounding is phenomenal.”
The unique thing about Drew is he has the demeanor of a golfer. Watching him play, you often wouldn’t know if Nevada is up by 10 or down by 10. He has that same stoic expression all the time.
“He’s great,” Musselman said recently. “He gives you a quiet confidence. He never seems to get rattled. He has a great disposition. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big game or a Division II game or an exhibition game, Lindsey has the same attitude and he kind of moves at the same pace.
“I think a lot of times he kind of lulls people to sleep. He doesn’t really look like he has that much energy but when you look at the stat sheet at halftime of a game and say, ‘Wow, our point guard has 11 rebounds. That’s pretty amazing.’ He gets a lot accomplished going at his own pace, so to speak.”