Andre Woolridge

Guard, 1995-1997

April 1, 2015

Written by Mitch Smith

Only one player has ever led the Big Ten in scoring and assists in the same season.

That player was Andre Woolridge.

The Iowa guard from 1995-97 averaged 20.2 points and dished out six assists per game in his senior campaign in 1997, leading the Hawkeyes to a 22-win season and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

After a 1997 game against Indiana, Hoosiers head coach Bob Knight gave a piece of advice to the media about who he thought deserved Big Ten Player of the Year honors.

“Woolridge would get my vote without any question,” Knight said. “I suggest you all vote for Woolridge, because at least now you have an idea of who can play. The kid is tough.”

Unbelievably, he didn’t win conference Player of the Year — that distinction went to Minnesota’s Bobby Jackson.

The lack of recognition didn’t discourage Woolridge, though. He knew what kind of player he was, and how hard he worked to achieve success on the basketball court.

The All-American went on to play professionally for 12 years overseas, including stops in Turkey, Italy, France, Germany, and Israel. Upon retiring from playing, he wanted to create an outlet for other kids with basketball aspirations.

Woolridge, 41, owns and operates All World Ballin’ Basketball Dojo in Sacramento, California. The training facility focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the game, working with skill levels ranging from beginner elementary-aged children all the way up to experienced high school and college athletes.

In addition to instructing on the finer points of dribbling, passing and shooting, the former Hawkeye seeks to instill work ethic, discipline and good moral values with each player he trains.

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“This isn’t just about teaching the game of basketball, I’m teaching what it takes to be a good person in the game of life,” Woolridge said. “It takes a village to raise these kids. I just try to be a positive role model, and provide others with opportunities that I didn’t have growing up.”

The Omaha native was a standout high school player, leading Omaha Benson to a state title in 1992. His collegiate career started at the University of Nebraska, but he was unhappy in Lincoln, and opted to transfer to Iowa after his freshman season.

The decision paid off.

“I have some great memories from Iowa,” he said. “A lot of times when you transfer, you don’t get a chance to upgrade. I felt like I upgraded.”andreinside

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The transfer was a breakout star for the Hawkeyes in the mid-90s. Playing on teams that included Jess Settles, Chris Kingbury, and Kenyon Murray, Woolridge facilitated Iowa’s offensive attack.

“Andre was head and shoulders above everybody else,” said former teammate J.R. Koch. “From top to bottom, nobody was better than Andre. He made our team go.”

Woolridge was either creating open shots for his teammates or scoring on his own. He averaged double figures and led the team in assists all three seasons at Iowa.

He holds the school’s single-season assists record (193), ranks 11th on Iowa’s all-time scoring list (1,525), and ended his career as Iowa’s all-time assists leader (575).

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The career assists mark has since been eclipsed by Jeff Horner, but Horner needed four years to pass a record Woolridge set in just three years with the program.

While Woolridge is incredibly proud of his individual accomplishments, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing he’d made an impact on someone else’s life.

Whether it’s watching the kids he’s trained playing high school basketball, earning college scholarships, or even just exhibiting a newfound confidence, witnessing that development and knowing he’s left a lasting impression means the world to the former Hawkeye.

The success stories also remind him he has more work to do. He continues to improve his facilities and evolve his training techniques so he can be the best trainer possible.

Woolridge is driven not only to help others achieve their basketball dreams, but to provide skills and values that will translate to all facets of life.

“I want to be a great role model to these kids and inspire others,” he said. “To teach about life and basketball and have a positive impact on kids feels great. Not every kid is going to be play Division-I basketball, but I hope to play a role in helping a kid not give up on their life.”

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