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.”