As seen on The Recorder
By Aundréa Murray
Known as the “walk-on” player, sophomore Andrew Hurd walked onto one of the most competitive basketball teams in the state and walked right into a community of supporters, admirers and die-hard fans.
Hurd’s name has made its way around campus one way or another. Students are wondering who he is, what he represents and what his purpose on an already strong team may be. Yet, whether he is being underestimated or questioned, he remains the topic of discussion of multiple conversations.
During Hurd’s freshman year, it was as if the bench did not exist. He earned himself more game time then most of his previous high school peers. No one can expect to hear him boast, however. His humble attitude stands out more than his star quality–especially since CCSU was not his first choice.
“Growing up, I always wanted to go to Syracuse but that school is really expensive.”, Hurd said.
Though the joy of his acceptance to Syracuse was short lived, Central was more than another option for Hurd. It was an opportunity to be apart of an institution that gave him a place to fit in rather than struggle to find his own placement, like most teenagers do.
“There’s a lot of negative connotation [to being a walk-on] because you’re on the team, you get all the gear, you’re at all of the games, but you don’t get paid to go here”, Hurd admitted.
“I’d like to think of myself as just another player. I’d like to bring my leadership qualities to the team. I feel like I know the game very well.. I’m just trying to compete for positions just like everybody else”.
It is still an early season for our men’s basketball team but Coach Howie Dickenman made sure to kick off November full throttle. At their opening game against Yale, all 11 players were prepared to either start or assist on what they hoped to be a great premiere game. Hurd remembers the enthusiasm Coach Dickenman instilled in his teammates.
“He’s really supportive and encourages everyone”, Hurd said. “He’s used to working with UCONN so his coaching is intense—he really expects the best from us”.
Hurd’s coach is not his only source of motivation. As the smallest player on the team, standing proudly at 5’10 while his teammates surrounding him are well over six feet, he finds himself more inspired by his peers than intimidated. Player Kyle Vinales encourages Hurd effortlessly simply by being himself.
“His work ethic is second to none. [Coach Dickenman] used to work with (basketball player) Ray Allen and compared Kyle’s work ethic to his”.
That is one heck of a comparison.
“Just being in the gym with him and seeing how hard he works, he really shows you what it takes to be great”.
It is no assumption that discipline and ambition are two of Hurd’s most prominent qualities. Before there were college sports, he remained well-involved in his academics at Windsor High. Balancing advanced placement courses with his extra-curricular activities took more skill than it did luck. All of which paid off when he was faced with challenges that college students experience everyday.
“I’m still not sure what I’m majoring in yet”, Hurd confessed. “There’s two routes I’m willing to take: I’m studying business. But I kind of want to stick with basketball and get into coaching”.
It is that kind of genuineness that is causing Hurd to stand out whether he is on or off of the court. His modest attitude towards his potential is a trait many of Central’s male basketball players share. It is a trait most can admire and it is a trait that the Hurd family has known all along.
“I’ll watch him on the bench during a game and he’ll be the first one up to congratulate somebody coming off of the court”, Hurd’s mother revealed.
“Even if [Hurd] is not in the game, he is keeping everybody up, that is playing in the game”.
Whether or not Hurd is given the chance during a game to put his love for basketball to use, his consistent positive attitude is nearly contagious. He steadily motivates himself and those surrounding him to work hard while celebrating every good moment.
“When I scored my first point [at CCSU] it was versus the number one team in the country–Indiana”, Hurd reminisced. “That whole experience was great”.
Hurd also has high hopes for the future.
“I’d like for the team to win a championship. I definitely think we have what it takes to do it”.