Drummond wouldn’t take scholarship from teammate

Connecticut freshman Andre Drummond had heard all the chatter
about how he was taking the scholarship of his friend and teammate
Michael Bradley just to spend a year in school before heading to
the NBA.

The 6-foot-10 center says he didn’t want that to happen.

”I mean I played against Mike when I was 16 years old, and he
worked real hard to get that scholarship,” Drummond said after
scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds in UConn’s 79-71 win
over Fairfield on Thursday. ”That’s kind of like disrespectful to
take that from him. I would never do nothing like that.”

Drummond revealed this week that he decided to attend UConn this
year as a walk-on, leaving the scholarship to Bradley, 6-foot-10
redshirt freshman who grew up in a home for children from troubled
families in Tennessee.

Bradley had offered to give up his scholarship in August shortly
after hearing that Drummond was committing to UConn. Bradley, the
school said at the time, could qualify for other financial aid
because of his background.

UConn has only 10 scholarships this season after losing one
because of NCAA violations and two more because of a poor academic
performance rating.

Drummond had decided to enroll just three days before the start
of the fall semester.

Coach Jim Calhoun says it took 2 1/2 months for the school and
the NCAA to resolve the issue, and officially make Drummond a
walk-on.

”My first responsibility wasn’t to tell the press what was
going on,” he said. ”Of course, it’s none of your business. It’s
a private matter between two young men.”

Drummond said he was aware that people were accusing him of
taking a scholarship from an orphan, but it didn’t bother him. He
said he never planned to take it, and doesn’t worry about what
people think of him.

”I’m not going to sit there and argue with somebody,” he said.
”If that’s what they think about me, then let them think. I’m not
going to try to change somebody’s opinion about me. All I know is
that me and Mike did what we had to do.”

Bradley remains sidelined after fracturing his right ankle in
the preseason.

Drummond is averaging 10 points and five rebounds a game, but
has hit 19 of his last 22 shots from the field in wins over Holy
Cross and Fairfield.

He has not committed to staying in school past this season, but
says he’s enjoying the experience.

”I was always going to UConn,” he said, ”scholarship or
not.”