Andrew McAuliffe is a 6'-8" forward at Glenbrook North High School, the school coached by Bruce Weber's brother, Dave. McAuliffe recently visited Illinois to watch the game with Wisconsin. Although Illinois lost a heartbreaker, he still enjoyed his time at the Assembly Hall.
"I went down with my AAU coach, who helps me out with recruiting stuff, and my friend and his dad. It was definitely cool. I've never been to an Illinois game before, but I'd always heard about how they have a pretty cool student section.
"It was cool to see the atmosphere of a high-major college and what it's like, especially since I was sitting on the floor level. I could really tell how the sound is projected on the court. It was just really cool to see the atmosphere of the game and how loud it gets in there."
Although McAuliffe admitted Illinois is not pursuing him very hard right now, he still talks to assistant coach Jay Price from time to time and enjoys what he has to say.
"We don't talk often, but when we do I enjoy it. He is a great guy, just a quality, nice friendly guy."
McAuliffe has been sidelined almost his entire junior season due to a broken knee cap. He discussed how his recovery is going.
"It's feeling pretty good right now. I was planning to play last Friday, but it wasn't 100% so I didn't play. My rehab stuff is going pretty well, so I am hoping to play Friday. This is a day-by-day process."
McAuliffe shared his style of play and several things he needs to work on to improve his game.
"For my AAU team and high school, I'm more of a traditional post player. But I understand at the college level, I'm not tall enough to be just a post player.
I have a mid-range jumper, but I'm trying to extend my range to the three-point line. And I've been working on my ball handling so I can fully incorporate my three or four game in there.
"I wouldn't say my agility and conditioning are terrible, but I have been needing to improve those as well. I've never been at top-level with that."
While the junior will need to adjust several aspects his game for the college level, he still brings some positive qualities that will help him adapt easier.
"I worked a lot this fall on my post game, so I feel like I'm good there. Also, I think handling double-teams is a strong point because I've been dealing with it the past couple years. And I think I'm pretty good at finding other guys when I need to and knowing when the right time is to do that."
McAuliffe played for the Joy of the Game Rising Stars this past AAU season.
"It went well. Our team has been playing together for six or seven years, so our success comes from our team chemistry. We went down to Nations in Orlando last year and finished seventh in Division-1, so it was a great accomplishment for us."
However, he is unsure about his future with the Rising Stars.
"Honestly, I don't know who I will be playing for next year. It's a tough decision, and I'll be making that in the next week."
Which schools have been targeting him?
"Mostly mid-major schools, but I'm getting some letters from high-major schools. My recruitment has been slow because of my knee injury, but I have offers from Loyola, Davidson, and Drake."
Besides his Illinois visit, McAuliffe has traveled to Davidson and Loyola recently. He plans to take a few more, but not until after the basketball season.