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Boys basketball Metro Player of Year: Much heftier, much better hooper

Jackson McAndrew is still growing. So is his game.

A 6-9 senior forward for Wayzata, he has added 45 pounds to his scrawny frame of two years ago. He doesn't mind going inside and mixing it up with the big boys now.

His all-around development makes McAndrew the 2024 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in boys basketball.

"I made it a priority to get in the weight room," said McAndrew, who weighs in at 215 pounds, up from 170 as a sophomore. "I still have to develop more physically in order to get ready for the next level."

The next level is NCAA Division I, at Creighton.

"It's going to be a big jump," McAndrew said. "I like their player development, and the way they play is a good fit for me. I'm excited for it."

The same is true for his quest to win back-to-back Class 4A championships. The Trojans (27-1) are ranked No. 1 in the class by Minnesota Basketball News and are seeded first in the tournament, with a quarterfinal Wednesday morning against Rogers.

"Our goal was to get back to state and win it all again. We want to go back to back," McAndrew said. "I enjoy the team aspect more than the personal awards. I put that ahead of everything else. It's all of us coming together to achieve one goal."

McAndrew is averaging a double-double (23.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game) with 1.5 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals a game. He is a 52% shooter, 80% from the free-throw line.

"Jackson is a very skilled player," Wayzata coach Bryan Schnettler said. "He made another big jump this year as a senior and more importantly as a leader of this team."

McAndrew started to make that step at the end of last season, when he lifted the Trojans to the Class 4A championship. He had 25 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in Wayzata's 75-71 overtime victory over defending champion Park Center in the final. McAndrew scored 13 of the Trojans' final 14 points. He was 21-for-40 from the field and 15-for-16 from the free-throw line in the three state tournament games.

"It was the first time a lot of people found out about me," McAndrew said. "Other people were able to see what I could do."

Creighton coach Greg McDermott identified McAndrew's ability long before that.

"In addition to his ability to shoot, he has made vast improvement in every part of his game in the last 18 months," McDermott said.

Schnettler has seen it firsthand, every step and every pound of the way.

"I have never seen a kid improve as much as he did between March of his sophomore year and March of his junior year," Schnettler said. "He has worked very hard to get stronger and has continued to improve his post game throughout that time. Jackson has become the player he is through working very hard."