BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) It's a fact of life in college basketball: you get four years to play, and then you have to move on and let someone else take your place. Typically players recruited out of high school fill the open spots on the roster, becoming more impactful as they age, but the transfer game has become increasingly important in recent years.
"You just want to prove everybody wrong, the people that doubted me and I had a great three years in Arizona and now I'm ready to make it work at Vermont."
Meet Bernie Andre, a native of South Florida who worked his way up from prep school to junior college to D1, and has now committed to join the Vermont men's basketball program as a grad transfer.
"I didn't really care if it was in California or Canada or Alaska," Andre said. "Wherever the best fit was for me, that's where I was gonna go."
So what attracted the double-digit scorer from Northern Arizona University to join the Catamounts?
"Winning," he said. "The winning was something that kind of stood out to me a lot. I developed a great relationship with Coach Becker and Coach Ryan as well. And they've pretty much established themselves as one of the best midmajors in the country."
Andre says he has already reached out to members of this year's team to introduce himself and learn a little more about the program.
"Stef (Smith) obviously being a guy I'm gonna be playing with next year, kinda just picked his brain a bit about like the system and stuff like that and he was a great person to talk to."
He also spoke with Daniel Giddens who was in his shoes last year as a grad transfer...and the Georgia native made sure this Floridian knew what he was getting himself into.
"Yeah he told me it gets really, really cold up there so that's something that I gotta make sure I'm 100% prepared for," Andre said.
As for what Cat fans can expect from Andre next year, he sees some similarities with a departing star.
"When you look at the many things that (Anthony) Lamb was able to do, you know using his big body, he was able to stretch the floor out with the three ball," Andre said. "We have very similar games. So I think my versatility is pretty much the main thing that's gonna help the team a lot this year."
And his goal for his one year in Burlington is very much in line with the rest of the Cats.
"NCAA Tournament," he said instantly. "I mean, Vermont has a winning culture, they're used to having a winning culture and I'm coming in to kind of fill that void of losing Lamb who was a great player for you guys for four years. So just to keep the train rolling, continue the winning down there and going back to the NCAA Tournament. I'm super excited to be a part of the family there and I can't wait to get started."
Andre is still trying to coordinate a visit to get up here and meet his new teammates in person and get to know his coaching staff better. But obviously that's on hold right now with the coronavirus. Hopefully he and the rest of the Cats though will be able to be back onto the court at Patrick Gym soon.