The Union Recorder

January 17, 2014

UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Basketball in JMA freshman’s blood

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The words “gym rat” are tossed around often.

Basketball players that literally always want to shoot and work on their games earn the designation.

JMA boys’ head basketball coach Thomas Craig said freshman Andrew Prestwood personifies that attitude.

“He always wants to borrow your keys to get in the gym,” Craig said. “He’s always calling on the weekends saying ‘coach can you unlock the gym for me?’”

The Trojan coach said the freshman takes pride in his game.

Prestwood relishes the work. The freshman said he loves putting shots up.

Those qualities and a 24-point night in a 69-59 win against Trinity Christian Saturday earned Prestwood Athlete of the Week.

Craig said Prestwood critiques himself after each game, always expecting more.

The JMA student-athlete averages 17 points per game as the Trojans sit 7-3 this season.

Brantley Attaway was the No. 1 scoring option during his high school years. His departure left a gigantic question mark preseason.

Craig said Prestwood could be the answer for the next four years.

“We miss Brantley don’t get me wrong, but we have a special one. I’m excited to have him,” the coach said. “Teams are already having to keep the ball out of his hands.”

The Prestwood name brought some expectations with it when the freshman and his junior brother Amos signed up at JMA this summer.

“It motivates me and makes me want to do better,” Prestwood said.

Both boys played for the Macon Area Christian team comprised of homeschoolers last season.

Prestwood knows his role. He made sure he didn’t step on upperclassmen toes upon arrival.

The Trojan transition is more team focused than the Macon Area ball of the past. Teammates need Prestwood, but he has to fit into a system for group success.

By all accounts, the freshman slid in place quickly.

“My teammates are great. They’ve been supportive,” Prestwood said. “We play really good together when we put selfish things aside.”

So far, Andrew scores in bunches, and Amos is the defensive specialist.

The siblings fit into a physical and fast paced Trojan game plan.

“I’ve caught up with Amos, but he’s still got me by a little bit,” the Athlete of the Week said. “Amos is a tremendous defender. I’m still catching up on that.”

Seemingly, the brothers know each other’s next move on the court.

The bond shows.

“They feed of each other. Both have played together for so long,” the JMA boys’ coach said. “In our style it helps to have two guys that have played their whole life together. I wouldn’t trade them for the world no doubt.”

Dealing with some notoriety is a change of pace.

“At the beginning of the year, nobody knew who I was,” Prestwood said. “Last game every time I ran down the court, they were yelling shooter. It’s been a lot different. Teams pay attention and get on you.”

There’s no time for a “big head.” He hopes fellow players, coaches and fans see the right traits displayed each competitive night.

“I want them to see a Christ-like individual,” he said. “I slip up once in awhile, which everybody does.”