April 22, 2013
Andre Hollins’s face has been all over the media this year, with pictures and videos of the sophomore guard frequently being flashed on popular sports blogs and television channels across the nation. A smiling Hollins was featured on the front page of espn.com in January after Minnesota upset the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers at home, and on national TV after the Gophers’ NCAA Tournament win against UCLA.
Nationwide press notwithstanding, the Memphis, Tenn., native’s wide grin has found another place this year as well – on a massive banner in the university’s Hansen Hall. The placard is representative of the fact that the sophomore point guard exemplifies one of the core values of the college in addition to being an accomplished athlete– scholarship.
Hollins is currently in his second year at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, which consistently ranks among the top business programs in the nation. Despite all of the time the point guard puts into basketball, he still finds a way to excel in the classroom and is involved in student groups as well.
“I’m in the Carlson Mentorship Program and I try to meet with my mentor once a month or so,” Hollins said. “Once I figure out my major I’d like to get into a club that would get me around people that share the same interests as me. That would be nice for networking and connecting with people that have some of the same goals in mind.”
While Hollins has not yet declared a major, he says that he is leaning toward finance and his favorite class at the university so far has been accounting.
“I really liked Accounting 2050 with Charles Caliendo,” Hollins said. “I enjoyed the accounting principles and he was a great professor.”
Hollins blossomed this year, ranking first on the team and eighth in the Big Ten in scoring with 14.6 points per game as just a sophomore. He also led the team in assists. He ranked second in the Big Ten in three-point field goals made (2.4 per game), fourth in the in three-point percentage (.418) and sixth in free throw percentage (.806).
“Confidence and that extra year are the difference,” Hollins said. “My freshman year it was my first time as a collegiate point guard. It was hard, and I went through a lot of struggles. Just getting through those growing pains, getting hurt, coming back and regaining the starting spot. Having a really good end of the year (going to the NIT championship game) carried over to this year.”
That confidence was on display during Minnesota’s rematch with Indiana on February 26. After a half in which gophers power forward Trevor Mbakwe set the tone with his trademark aggressive play, Hollins caught fire down the stretch to secure the win. He scored 12 of his 16 points in the final ten minutes of the game and intercepted a Derek Elston pass at midcourt with just seconds remaining to guarantee the gophers their first victory over the No. 1 team in the nation since 1989.
“I intercepted the ball and I was just like, ‘Yes!’” Hollins said. “It sealed the deal and it was one of those moments I’ll never forget. Actually, when we were shooting free-throws through a couple of sequences back-and-forth I saw the student section creeping closer and I was like, ‘Ah, they’re about to rush it!’"
Just after Hollins plucked the pass out of the air and dribbled out the clock, fans stampeded onto the court from all sides and Hollins threw the ball into the air in celebration.
Although he played at a high level all season, the Gophers’ leading scorer was relatively new to playing point guard. Hollins played shooting guard throughout high school, but has played primarily at the point guard position since setting foot in Williams Arena. He credits the team’s coaching staff and other supporters for helping him make the transition from one position to another.
“The coaches are teaching me the ins-and-outs of the game,” Hollins said. “Also, my high school coach is there for me as well as my dad. So, I have a lot of people in my corner helping me out, telling me things that I can do better and showing me how I can improve.”
That position change has allowed Minnesota to feature a very talented guard duo of Andre and Austin Hollins in a Big Ten Conference flush with perimeter threats.
“I’ve adapted well from freshman year to now, but there’s still a lot to learn,” Hollins said.
It’s that kind of attitude that makes Andre Hollins the perfect ambassador for the University of Minnesota, both on the court and inside the classroom.
Story written by Jack Satzinger
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