Andre Woolridge got to see the world through basketball.
While a career in the NBA never materialized for the Omaha Benson and Iowa graduate, Woolridge played overseas for 13 years. Leagues in Turkey, France, Germany, Venezuela, Israel and Cyprus. And the money was good.
"To do what I loved professionally for 13 years, I can't complain about it," he said in 2013.
Woolridge still owns the Class A career scoring record of 1,911 points, the last 50 coming in Benson’s 1992 state-championship victory over Hastings.
The two-time All-Nebraska pick was the No. 2 point guard prospect nationally in his class, behind future NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. They dueled in a summer tournament in 1991, when Woolridge was playing for the Valentino's Nebraska All-Stars. Woolridge scored 30, but Kidd won the game on an overtime tip-in at the buzzer.
"I killed him," Woolridge said. "Just to be honest. ... And he fouled out that game, but he was the king — especially on the West Coast — so they gave his foul to somebody else. I still have it on tape. If they would've fouled him out, we would've won."
Woolridge was on the All-Big Eight Freshman Team at Nebraska, but transferred to Iowa for his final three seasons.
He chose Iowa partly out of loyalty. The Hawkeyes had sent him his first college recruiting letter, when he was a ninth-grader playing on the Benson varsity. When Woolridge signed with Nebraska, a Hawkeye assistant called and congratulated him.
"Then he said, 'When they do you wrong, we'll still take you.' I remembered that," Woolridge said.
The 6-foot guard earned third-team All-America honors in 1997 after becoming the first player to lead the Big Ten in scoring and assists. He scored 29 points in his final game as a Hawkeye, a second-round NCAA tournament loss to Kentucky.
After not being selected in that year's NBA draft, Woolridge tried out for numerous NBA teams and participated in training camp with the Denver Nuggets in 2000.
Woolridge lives in Sacramento, California, where he runs a basketball academy, All World Ballin'.
"I called it a basketball dojo, because I like to have the discipline of karate," he said. "I’m still around basketball every day. I can’t ask for a better life."
Played for: Omaha Benson High, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Iowa Hawkeyes
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Bellevue West's Erick Strickland. "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.
At Benson: 1,911 points
At Iowa: 1,525 points, 575 assists
Woolridge was No. 87 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »