Lots of hard work, practice, set McPherson up for futureBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Drew McPherson has grown up playing basketball and now that he’s a senior in high school, he’s looking to do whatever he can to continue playing the game he loves.
To that end, McPherson has put in a lot of time and hard work to prepare for his senior year at Vista del Lago, starting early last year up through today. Lifting weights, working on his individual skills or playing in any pick-up game he can find, McPherson, 18, has done it. The biggest difference in him from a year ago, however, is something he had little control over. McPherson grew a few inches and now stands 6’5” and tips the scales at 180 pounds.
“His body type is the biggest change from last year,” Vista coach Matt von Tillow said. “He’s really transformed himself in the weight room and he also grown three inches or so. Being taller, bigger and stronger has really helped him. He’s a more physical player and can come off screens and is a lot better at going to the basket. He always could shoot and teams know that, but now he’s added that ability to take the ball to the basket and that makes him tougher to defend.”
McPherson has been playing basketball since he was a second grader. His dad, John, played in high school and still coaches and plays locally and Drew is following in his footsteps.
“I grew up watching and playing basketball and I just enjoy it,” McPherson said. “I enjoy shooting the three and more than anything, scoring points.”
Scoring points is something McPherson does quite well. Last year McPherson averaged 12 points a game and was a good compliment to Vista’s leading scoring, Patrick Lowman, who averaged 18. This year McPherson is Vista’s go-to player, as he’s averaging nearly 20 points per game and shooting better than 45 percent from beyond the three-point line. While he loves to score, McPherson always looks to get his teammates involved too.
“Drew’s an unselfish player and doesn’t force it,” von Tillow said. “He understands that when he gets his teammates involved and they start making shots, it’s easier for him to get the ball back and score himself.”
McPherson added, “I’ve worked hard on my ball handling and moving without the ball. I wanted to improve my athletic ability and my game. I worked six or seven days a week over the summer, lifting weights, improving on my skills and just playing. I worked out with my dad at Broadstone Racquet Club and then I’d play any pick-up game when they had adult drop-in time.”
McPherson’s dad, John, has witnessed all the work his son has put in.
“Since fifth grade, Drew has spent two hours a day shooting at Broadstone,” John said. “Each year he’s added to his workouts and last year he finally developed physically and hit the weights. I’m proud of him for not listening to anyone tell him he couldn’t play when he was younger and believing in the process. It gave him the necessary chip on his shoulder. He’s a quiet, relaxed kid, but he has a lot of confidence in his ability when he steps on the floor. That comes from all the work.”
McPherson can score a variety of ways. When he’s not knocking down threes or driving to the basket, McPherson is more than capable as scoring on the fastbreak, as he’s thrown down a few dunks this year as well. At 6’5” with a 36-inch vertical leap, McPherson can go fly with the best of them.
McPherson hopes all the work he’s put in leads to two things: a good season for Vista’s basketball team and a scholarship to play in college. He said he’s received interest from some Division II schools.
“Our team started off slow, but we’re playing pretty well as the season goes on,” McPherson said. “We’ve got some sophomores who have really developed and I’ve been playing with Jake (Duenkel) and Mehran (Amin) since fifth grade so we’ve got good chemistry. The goal is to win league and make the playoffs and go on from there. I’m going to do anything I can to help the team. I’m a senior and this is my last season and I want to prolong it as long as I can.”