There’s no hiding from the fact that the Bradley Braves are struggling through one of their worst seasons in recent history.
Call it the silver lining, but there is no denying the fact that Bradley senior Andrew Warren has gone on a prolific tear throughout this season that has seen more then its share of disappointments.
While Warren was having great to extraordinary performances, the team as a whole was struggling to find its way through a lengthy conference losing streak.
“The losing streak was tough because we were so close in a lot of games,” Warren said. “But pressure never increased. We just knew that we had to continue to stick together as a team…that’s what we did and that led to our first win.”
The blizzard that slammed several states earlier this month shut down post offices, government buildings and schools across the nation. One thing it wasn’t able to shutdown was the Braves, and especially Warren.
“It was very odd hearing at 10:30 a.m. that morning that we were going to play at 3:00 p.m. that afternoon,” Warren said. “There were more fans there than we expected and they were pretty loud.”
As Mother Nature was pelting central Illinois, Warren was doing the same to Creighton in front of a crowd that sparsely filled the lower bowl. No matter, the Braves were sparked by Warren’s 23 points and eight rebounds and won their first conference game of the season.
“I hope there are more blizzard games in the future,” Warren said.
The very next game, the Braves found themselves down four at Southern Illinois. With just 18 seconds left, sophomore guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards got the ball to Warren.
“I live for those moments,” said Warren. “Not necessarily to be a hero, but because I have so much confidence in myself to make those shots.”
Warren drained a three and the lead went down to one. Warren’s defensive rebound and his free throws with just four seconds left iced the game and the Braves were off on their first conference winning streak.
Of course, things could have gone differently this season if not for losing senior guard Sam Maniscalco and junior forward Taylor Brown.
Warren had the same situation going into his junior year. After breaking his foot, he missed an entire season and had to watch from the bench.
“When you go through a season ending injury you have a tendency to feel as if your distant from the team,” Warren said. “I’ve been able to help Sammy and Taylor by just keeping them upbeat and doing all that I can to continue to make them feel part of the team.”
With luck, Brown and Maniscalo will come back next season with medical red shirts like Warren. With the red shirt, Warren was able to graduate Bradley last year, but one shouldn’t think he’s been wasting anytime now that he’s out of school.
“I am able to place a lot more focus on basketball,” Warren said “I watch a lot of extra film and I get up a lot of extra shots.”
The extra work has been apparent on the court. From the way his three-point shots have that perfect arch, to the intensity he plays with in the game’s final minutes; Warren’s no-holds-bar attitude has shot himself into the record books with some impressive names.
“Because we are in season I have tried not to pay too much attention to numbers” Warren said. “But I’ve heard that I am moving up that list … it does mean a lot to me to be up there in the ranks with some NBA players and Hall of Famers of this historic program.”
After five years at Bradley, is just 79 points short of being a top ten scorer in Bradley history.
“I’ll have enough time to look back at it once my career here is complete,” Warren said.