McFarland Discusses Commitment to Idaho

As the new-look Vandal basketball team works to install first year Idaho head coach George Pfeifer's philosophies and playing style, eyes are also on the future of the program. Critical to the success of any program is solid recruiting, and Idaho recently received a key commitment from 6-5, 3-star forward ANDRE MCFARLAND. He picked Idaho over Iowa State, and discusses that decision with Scout.

PLAYER PROFILE: Andre McFarland

On the heels of one of the worst basketball seasons ever at the University of Idaho, Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear made the decision to release former head coach Leonard Perry (a former Vandal basketball player), and go in a different direction with new head coach George Pfeifer. Not only was the coaching staff changed, the team was as well as just three players remain on the roster from last year's squad.

This year's squad reflects the change in coaching style and philosophy at Idaho, one that will be shaped this season by a whopping 11 new recruits to the program. They have experienced ups and downs already in this young season, but the infusion of better skills is already evident.

Keeping that pipeline of improved talent rolling onto the Idaho campus through aggressive recruiting is key, and Idaho received a huge boost recently with the signing of 6-5, 205 pound guard/forward Andre McFarland out of Nevada. Listed as a 3-star prospect by Scout, McFarland originally committed to Tim Floyd at USC (yes, that is the same Floyd who previously was the head coach at Idaho) in 2005. But communications broke off and McFarland transferred to Brewster Academey (a prep school in Wolfeboro, NH) this season. From the official UI website, it should be noted that McFarland has been ranked No. 41 on the list of the nation's top fifth-year players by hoopscooponline.com and No. 110 on the Bob Gibbons' All-Star Report list of the Top 250 Seniors in the nation. Clearly he's an impressive talent that will likely have an immediate impact at Idaho next season.

At Brewster, McFarland is playing on a loaded team. Teammates Craig Brackins signed with Iowa State and P'Allen Stinnett signed with Creighton, and the trio have been discussing college choices this fall (in addition to these three, Andre Walker signed with Vanderbilt, and Dogus Balbay signed with Texas - pretty good company for the future Vandal). Idaho was recruiting both Stinnett and McFarland, and after making their University visits, Stinnett picked Creighton, while McFarland chose the University of Idaho.

Scout caught up with McFarland to discuss his commitment to Idaho and learn more about his decision to join Pfeifer's rebuilding program...and the pre-med program at the University of Idaho (in a previous article he pointed to the strength of the biochemistry and microbiology programs at Idaho).


You've committed to the University of Idaho?

Andre – "Yes."


Did you take a trip to the University of Idaho?

Andre – "Yeah, I did."


When did you do that?

Andre - "The beginning of September...The second week of September."


Why did you choose the Idaho Vandals?

Andre - "I was impressed with the school and the coach, and I had a good time. I liked what he had to say - with what he wanted to do with the program - and academically, I could achieve what I wanted."


Academically what do you want to do?

Andre - "I want to be a doctor one day."


Who else was recruiting you?

Andre - "Iowa State, Michigan, Creighton, San Diego State and Ohio."


You've chosen the University of Idaho over some programs that have basketball notoriety, and the Vandals have been struggling as of late. Why is it you chose Idaho over these schools?

Andre - "I wanted to do something different. Everyone was expecting me to go to Iowa State when it came down to the decision, but I felt I wanted to challenge myself and change the program at Idaho."


You were offered by USC out of high school. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened there?

Andre - "It fell through. The relationship with the coaches was on the brink. We weren't really talking and we lost faith in each other."


How did Idaho get you on the radar?

Andre - "I had some tourneys in May and April that Coach was at. And DeMarlo Slocum, who was at USC, is now an assistant at Idaho. So he told Coach about me, they came and watched me play, and I guess I impressed them."


When you went to Moscow, Idaho, were you looking around thinking there wasn't much out there?

Andre - "I'm kind of getting used to it. Where I live now is Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. I think there is, at the most right now, 3000 people in the city. So the small town is no problem for me. It's kind of comfortable."


Are you expecting to play right away?

Andre - "Hopefully I will play right away."


What kind of game do you bring to the University of Idaho?

Andre - "Leadership at a young age... I plan on coming in there and leading the way to making a change. I've seen how Idaho has been in the past. I think they won maybe 3 or 4 games last year. I plan on building on that."


Who was most instrumental in getting you to sign with Idaho?

Andre - "DeMarlo Slocum."


Was a redshirt mentioned?

Andre - "No redshirt was mentioned. They told me I would have a chance to play if I come in and work hard. Nothing will be given to me, so I come in there with the intentions of working hard and earn my playing time."


What do you think about playing in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC)?

Andre - "I'm excited to play in the WAC. It's a smaller conference, but I'm looking forward to playing in it. There are good teams in the WAC."


Iowa State was recruiting you hard. What was it the difference in the two?

Andre - "The only differences were the fans at the [Iowa State] football game. They were chanting my name and things like that. But Idaho was welcoming as well. People already knew of me before I got on campus."


What's in your ipod?

Andre - "Right now? –Lil Wayne's in my ipod. I like Kanye West."


What other hobbies besides basketball?

Andre - "I like to go bowling a lot."


Are there other sports you excelled at in high school?

Andre - "At my high school they wouldn't let us play any other sports. It was strictly basketball. But when I sit down on Sunday mornings and afternoons I like watching football."


When do you think you are arriving in Moscow?

Andre - "Next summer I'll be there."


Many thanks to Andre for this interview, and best of luck to him at the University of Idaho.

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