THE NEBRASKA 100




No. 88
No. 86


87. Andre Woolridge

Basketball / Omaha / Born: 1973

QUICK FACTS:


Played for: Omaha Benson High, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Iowa Hawkeyes

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Bellevue West's Erick Strickland, now with the Milwaukee Bucks. "He was a great all-around athlete and did it in three sports."

Early sign of greatness: The first game of his freshman year he scored 17 points for Benson's varsity against Omaha Central.

Best moments as an athlete: Scoring 50 points in Omaha Benson's win over Hastings in the 1992 Class A state championship game and playing in the championship series in France.

Andre Woolridge seemed destined for a career in the NBA.

The 6-foot guard earned All-America honors for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 1997 after becoming the first player to lead the Big Ten in both scoring and assists.

Woolridge, who led Omaha Benson to the 1992 state title, never made an NBA team. But that has not stopped him from making an impact in pro ball.

Now 31, Woolridge has played professionally in Turkey, France, Italy, Greece, Venezuela and Israel. Everywhere he has played, he has excelled. He's never averaged less than 15 points per game at any stop in his eight-year pro career.

"I only had two dreams," Woolridge said. "One was to play in the NBA and the second was to be a millionaire. I am well on my way to the second dream. The money in Europe's been good. I've been playing for six-figure contracts."

Woolridge, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., has tried out for numerous NBA teams and participated in training camp with the Denver Nuggets in 2000.

He signs one-year contracts to keep his options open. One of those options is still the NBA.

"There is always a chance," he said. "You never know. I can't complain too much. Everything's gone pretty well overseas."

Woolridge, who played in Israel this past season, is weighing his options for next season. His travels have taken him to Paris and Rome, and even Russia.

"I've had a chance to see the world and see some really neat places," he said. "I've seen all kinds of different cultures, eaten all kinds of food and met a lot of interesting people. It's been a great experience."

-- Craig Sesker


QUICK FACTS:


Played for: Omaha Benson High, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Iowa Hawkeyes

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Bellevue West's Erick Strickland, now with the Milwaukee Bucks. "He was a great all-around athlete and did it in three sports."

Early sign of greatness: The first game of his freshman year he scored 17 points for Benson's varsity against Omaha Central.

Best moments as an athlete: Scoring 50 points in Omaha Benson's win over Hastings in the 1992 Class A state championship game and playing in the championship series in France.