Things happen quickly when Eleanor Roosevelt guard Andre Fox shoots a three-pointer: there’s a quick, soft “thump” as his feet square up, almost simultaneously popping him into his jump then — ZIP! — the ball’s on a short-lived line for the basket, or more specifically the front of the rim, which it narrowly clears on its way through the net more often than not.
His backcourt and classmate Trae Butler’s deep ball takes a different trajectory, more of a lobbed grenade than a missile, but one just as effective as Fox’s when Butler’s got his target locked in. Together, the senior duo — with the help of junior marksman Larry McCan — have made the Raiders one of the area’s most prolific three-point shooting teams. Eleanor Roosevelt averages 7.1 threes per game, sixth-most in the D.C. area.
“We have three of the best shooters in the league,” Raiders Coach Brendan O’Connell said. “Larry and Tre have been knocking it down a lot. Larry’s been close to 50 percent and Trae — it’s hard to devote a lot of attention to [Andre].”
Hard, maybe, but if teams want to beat the Raiders (16-6, 14-3 Prince George’s 4A), devoting defensive attention to the 6-foot-3 senior is necessary.
With 71 threes through 21 games this season, Fox is second in the area. He’s tied for fourth in threes per game (3.4), and leads Prince George’s County in both those categories by a wide margin. Fox, who averaged just more than five points per game in the Raiders’ state championship season last year, has exploded in his senior season, leading Prince George’s County with 21.8 points per game while shooting around 50 percent from three, according to O’Connell.
“I did think I could do this,” Fox said with a smile after still scoring 19 points in a win over Northwestern despite a rare off-night from long range. “I thought I could do it, and I worked hard over the summer to make sure I did.”
Butler said he’s seen Fox mature from last season to this one, resulting in better decision making and composure. Despite his three-point prowess, Fox does have decisions to make, as he’s just as quick to cut his way to the rim for a close range shot as he is to take aim and fire it from deep.
“He can score a lot of different ways: inside, outside, free throw line,” O’Connell said. “He’s probably the best shooter in the league, too. I didn’t expect him to shoot threes this well. He’s a great shooter but 50 percent is ridiculous.”
Ridiculous, but not unheard of on his own team. O’Connell said McCan, a junior, is shooting at the same remarkable pace, and Butler, who committed to the University of D.C. earlier this month, isn’t far behind.
“If I have a bad night, we’ve got Trae and Larry,” Fox said. “We’ve got some players here.”
Having just fully announced himself to the Maryland high school basketball team over the past few months, Fox has yet to rack up the kind of scholarship offers his scoring aptitude might normally garner. He got an offer from Bowie State last week, and will likely find more coming his way as he bolsters his academic and athletic resume in the coming weeks.
He and his Raider teammates hope that resume will include another deep run into the state tournament, something that seemed unlikely at the outset given the loss of six of the top seven scorers from last year’s team. But as the regular season closes out this week, the Raiders are in second in Prince George’s County 4A despite losing two of their last three. Fox has dropped 25 or more in three of his last four games.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 6
Fox’s season high for threes in one game this season, achieved twice. He’s hit five deep balls in four games, and three or more in 10 straight games.
— Big news in the Maryland high school football world: Quince Orchard Coach Dave Mencarini is leaving the Cougars to coach Urbana.
— Read the story of Model kicker/punter/tight end/defensive lineman/quarterback/running back Arthur Hart, who signed with the University of North Carolina-Charlotte last week, to see which position he’ll play with the 49ers and why being deaf wouldn’t have mattered at any of them.
— Dominique Tham threw down a rare in-game dunk, then helped Wakefield throw down No. 12 Edison to clinch the Conference 13 regular season crown.
— Jayda Gilmore’s big fourth quarter helped the Howard girls avenge an earlier loss to Centennial in a battle of Howard County contenders.
— The Dunbar girls and Gonzaga boys claimed titles at Wednesday’s DCSAA indoor track & field championships.
— The Potomac (Va.) boys’ basketball team completed a perfect regular season last week and hopes to continue that streak all the way to a state title.
— While Fox’s Raiders will again have to retool after he and his classmates graduate, the No. 1 Roosevelt girls are loaded — and won’t lose a single senior.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Did you miss the craziness of last week in DMV high school basketball? Well, here’s the best of what you missed:
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Let’s be real: with a major “winter event” headed our way, every game scheduled for the next 24 hours in the D.C. area will probably be cancelled. If you’re hopeful, there’s a full slate of Loudon County and SMAC games scheduled for tonight — and a Winter Weather Advisory likely to wipe them all out! If you’re thirsting for D.C. area high school competition, feel free to leave your prediction for which Post coverage county cancels school first! (I’ve got Loudoun…)