Posted: Monday January 14, 2008 1:11PM; Updated: Monday January 14, 2008 1:11PM
It is his basketball education, though, that truly sets Drew apart from his peers. During Larry Sr.'s 13 seasons as an NBA assistant coach, he has been with the Lakers, Pistons, Wizards and Nets, enabling his son to shoot around with Kobe Bryant, dish passes to Jason Kidd and post up Michael Jordan. The prospect of facing a lineup of teenagers doesn't seem so daunting in comparison.
"I can't tell you how many great players I met and learned from growing up," says Larry Jr., who is averaging 13.4 points and 8.1 assists for Taft this season. "I talked to everyone from Allen Iverson to Steve Nash. Then again, I've been doing that my whole life. That's all I've known."
Drew's fearlessness on the court at an early age allowed him to take over for Farmar as a freshman after the current Laker graduated in 2004. In a matter of weeks Drew went from the freshman team to the leading scorer on a varsity squad that went deep into the playoffs. It's a position he might find himself in again if Ty Lawson leaves North Carolina after this season.
"At an early age I was always playing older kids so when I got to high school I knew it would be no different," says Drew. "So now going into Carolina, playing as a freshman, I know I'll be able to handle that."
While Drew seems prepared for every situation, he couldn't have predicted what would have happened to his team last season. After going 20-4, Taft was banned from postseason competition and forced to forfeit 16 of its wins because of an ineligible player.
"I couldn't believe it," says Drew. "I was angry but it motivated me for this year. I want to win city and state and prove to people that I'm one of the best point guards in the country."
After the disappointment Drew gathered the juniors together and let them know that the only way to erase the memory of their lost season would be to make their senior season memorable. So far, Taft has beaten their first two league opponents by an average of 50 points.
"Once the summer came Larry, Terran [Carter] and myself hit the weights, ran stairs and went to the sand dunes in Manhattan Beach every weekend," says Taft senior guard Bryce Smith. "We followed a program that Larry's dad used when he played and went as hard as we could knowing we only had one year left to win a ring."
As Drew finishes out his career at Taft, his brothers, Landon, 13, and Lindsey, 10, are waiting in the wings. While Landon will a freshman at Taft next season, Lindsey is the team's unofficial water boy, studying his brothers' every move from the sideline and waiting for his chance.
"I think of the three, Landon is the gym rat," says Larry Sr. "At 13 -- and Larry won't agree with me -- he's better than Larry was at that age. He's on track to be a great player. And I think Lindsey is a carbon copy of Larry. I think at 10 he's probably more skilled than what Larry was at that age but when I see him, I see Larry all over again. I think they're going to be similar players."
While each brother claims to be the best player from the self-described "Drew Crew," it will be years before anyone will truly know. Until then Sharon Drew will continue to be in the stands, cheering on the Drews for the foreseeable future.
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