WINNEBAGO - Andrew Morrissey is easily one of the most recognizable people at Winnebago High School. That's what happens when your six feet nine inches tall.
"It's kind of crazy," says Morrissey. "I've always been big so it's not like it's a new thing for me. So that's something that's always been in my life while I'm in school."
Morrissey has also been the big man on Winnebago's basketball team the past few seasons. The big man on campus is a three-year starter on varsity.
"The biggest thing now he's a lot stronger than he use to be," says Winnebago boys coach Joe Murphy. "When we was younger, a sophomore he really didn't have the strength to carry his weight. Now he's gotten into the weight room the past couple of years, and got his legs a lot strong. So now he can handle his weight better so he's quicker in the post."
Morrissey is a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to playing in the post. He's blocking shots on defense, and using his large frame on offense to score easy baskets.
"I've always been a big," says Morrissey. "It's like coach says it's like a football match down there. I mean you can get bumped and get some bruises, but it's physical and I like that style of play.
As Morrissey has grown in size so has his feel for the game the past three years.
"To be a lot smarter player. To not take stupid plays, or difficult shots. Like when you're younger you're anxious, ready to put the shot up, now it's more patience. Defense too to know what you can and can't do so experience has just a key thing for me."
But that's not the only tool at Morrissey's disposal.
"One thing unique about Andrew is he has a great shot," says Murphy. "He can inside or he can go outside. He can go outside and shoot the three. He can take the 15-footer. He's very mobile in that sense, and it's helped him out a lot."
That's not where Winnebago's chief Indian impacts the game most. His biggest asset is his ability to dominate the the glass.
"Andrew rebounds very well for us. Some people overlook that. The last two games he had 20 rebounds in each game okay. He'll get a lot of offensive rebounds too. So he'll come down with six or eight offensive rebounds then he gets 12 to 14 defensive rebounds. So that he's a big part of our team in that rebounding area."
With his ability and his experience comes a large leadership role from Morrissey. There's only one way he knows how to lead.
"If I'm working hard they work hard, and just always be a role model to them, and show them what to do now that's it my third year of experience."
"The best leaders you can have are guys who perform, and he does that," says Murphy. "When we need a big basket we'll give him the ball, and he'll take over a game."
There's one player in the NBA with a similar skill set to score in the post, shoot from the outside, and rebound at a high level. It's a guy Andrew spends time molding his game after.
"I would say Kevin Love. He's not as athletic too, I mean's he's athletic. I kind of compare with him. He has a good jump shot, and good moves in the post. I kind of like to match-up my game with his.
Morrissey will look to end his time in orange and black the way Love has the past few years. Playing for a championship.
"We have three returning starters. So we have a lot of experience. In the past we didn't have a whole lot of experience down the stretch. So we know what it takes to make a long run, but we have to sacrifice to do so."
"The pressure on him is great, and he's done a great job of handling that pressure," says Murphy. "I think here a Winnebago High School because we've had a reputation for winning ball games the pressure's on every kid out here. But he's feels it I'm sure a little more than some of the other kids."
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