Loyola men’s basketball senior Jaylin Andrews recently chatted with PressBox about his memories at Boys’ Latin, choosing to come to Loyola as Tavaras Hardy’s first recruit and more. The 6-foot-4, 186-pound Andrews averaged 11.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals last year.

PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Jaylin Andrews: My dad, [Brian], used to coach collegiately at a D-II in Virginia — UVA Wise. I was always around the game when I was little because my older brother, [BJ], played a lot of AAU ball. When I was about 3 years old, I was always bouncing a ball around or doing something with a tennis ball just to have a ball in my hand. I had a Little Tikes hoop in my room, so I would play on that and I started getting into rec leagues. About 6 years old, started playing rec leagues. I always liked it and then I grew to love it when I got to about 13 or 14 years old. That’s how I kind of started with it.

PB: Did you grow up in a competitive environment with your dad and brother?
JA: Extremely competitive. I wouldn’t leave the court until I beat [my brother], and he would have to end up letting me win at the end late or I would go home crying.

PB: You were teammates with Pat and Cam Spencer at Boys’ Latin. What are your favorite memories from playing at BL? (Pat played lacrosse at Loyola and basketball at Northwestern, while Andrews and Cam are hoops teammates at Loyola.)
JA: Definitely freshman year, winning the [MIAA B Conference] championship with Pat Spencer my first year. He showed me a lot of the ropes and showed me the way. I think my senior year was my most fun playing with Cam because I could see him growing as a player. That was when I was a leader, basically, of the team. I had a lot of accolades that year. We had a great season. Ended up losing in the championship, but that was where I could see him growing into the player he is now. I was able to finish by getting the all-time leading scorer record at my school and a lot of awards, and so did he. I was excited to see his growth. Winning was obviously the most important thing.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Loyola as head coach Tavaras Hardy’s first recruit in 2018?
JA: That’s kind of what sold me on it. When Coach Hardy got the job here, he called me the first day he got the job. He was in Indiana for the Final Four. He called me and wanted to come watch a workout. From that workout, he gave me the offer. We had a lunch later that weekend because I had to do a visit. We kind of just connected instantly. He told me he liked my game and everything. The most important thing he told me was I would have an opportunity to play and it just depends on how hard I work and how much I’m in the gym and how good of a player and person that I am. That’s the best thing you can hear from a person. Being from Baltimore, I kind of was sold on just playing in front of my home fans. It’s close to the BL community. They gave so much to me, I wanted to bring the PL ‘chip back here and a March Madness event, so [those are] kind of the goals.

PB: What is your favorite memory at Loyola so far?
JA: There are a couple of different ones. Holy Cross my freshman year, we played at Holy Cross and we won in overtime by one point. The atmosphere of it, it was a hostile environment. To get into overtime, Chuck Champion hit a pull-up going left. That got us into overtime, and at the end of the clock in overtime, we had a play drawn up and it worked perfectly. [Andrew Kostecka] had a layup at the buzzer. We were just energetic the whole time. That might be one. Definitely Army in the [Patriot League] semifinals last year, seeing Santi [Aldama] just be a pro and go for 30, and watching him get drafted.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
JA: The whole group are my brothers, obviously, but … you’d probably see me the most with Markese Redding. You’ll see me and him walk around everywhere the most because we’re roommates. He was a walk-on his freshman year and sophomore year and he kind of just was always a great teammate, a great person. That’s how our friendship started. We were walking on campus the first day during orientation and then we kind of just said, “Wassup?” and connected from there. But I love all the guys pretty much equally. Cam could be my best friend, too, because we grew up together from playing at BL. Alex Jackson, who’s a walk-on on the team now, [too]. It’s just a lot of guys. It’s a lot of love over there.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
JA: Early in my college career, definitely Andrew Kostecka. He kind of took me under his wing from Day 1 when I got here in the summertime. … I took really just how to be confident like him. He would always push me during practice. He always said, “Your time is going to come,” as a freshman. He always saw something bigger in me. Just how he would go about his business, his work ethic. He would work hard all summer. It seemed like he didn’t get tired when he played. … He would fear nobody and was just always a competitor, which I loved about him.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
JA: Definitely run your own race. It’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing around the country, being a college basketball player and seeing it all the time. But it’s important to keep your head down and work. Just always be in the gym, live in the gym. And be a good person. I think a lot of the time we get caught up in just being an athlete and not thinking about the being-a-good-person part of it. Definitely for sure run your own race and your time is going to come.

PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
JA: I want to definitely get involved with business and marketing in some sort. Honestly, that’s going to be the important part, but I just want to be here with my family a lot. Being a basketball player your whole life, you can miss out on a lot of family opportunities because you have to sacrifice that. Definitely just being around with my family and enjoy time with them.

Photo Credit: Carlisle Stockton

Issue 271: October/November 2021

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10