Andrew Drone could have stayed closer to home and signed with Wright State and Southern Illinois, but neither of those schools could offer the 6-foot-11 center an education in audiology.
Drone, who will be a senior this fall at Gallatin County High School, became the Rice Owls first 2013-2014 basketball commitment. Drone averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks a game last season. He was also selected to the AP Class 1A all-state second team.
Besides Wright State and SIU, Drone reportedly considered Illinois State, Bucknell, Loyola-Chicago and Ball State. What swung the ball in Rice’s direction was academics and comfortably.
“I talked to all the players at Rice, and they just said you know when you’re home,” Drone told The Southern newspaper in Carbondale Ill. “I felt like Rice was the right fit for me.”
Drone’s interest in studying audiology stems from a medical situation with his father. An article by Michael Dann with the Daily American News in West Frankfort, Ill. explains Drone’s father had a surgery where a hearing aid was implanted in his right ear, but post-surgery, something went wrong and the device quit working.
“I feel it’s just something I could go into and learn about, so I could try to help people from having to go through what my dad did,” Drone said about audiology in the Daily American News article.
Drone may be the first Owl big man to commit surrounding by people eating spicy chicken sandwiches and frosties.
According to Dann’s article, Rice assistant coach Adam Cohen called Drone to offer a scholarship while Drone was eating at a Detroit airport Wendy’s.
"I think we were on our way to Bucknell or Ball State for a visit,” Drone told the Daily American News. “All I know is that I'll never forget that Wendy’s."
Rice went 19-16 last season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.