ARLINGTON, Va. – Andre Coles went from being cut from his high school basketball team to being a member of the Marymount Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Coles grew up playing youth basketball in hoop-hotbed Prince George's County, Maryland. But he was cut as a sophomore from the basketball team at Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland.
"I ended up playing in a summer league for National Christian Academy my junior year," Coles recalls. "Then by the time my senior year came I moved with father down to Waldorf" in Charles County, Maryland.
"I pretty much walked onto the team (at Thomas Stone High). No one knew where I was coming from. I did pretty well," added Coles, a power forward in high school.
Coles didn't get a lot of attention from college recruiters. He considered walking on at Division I Old Dominion University in Norfolk but that didn't work out.
"I didn't get a lot of looks. No one knew me. I was out of the blue," he notes. "It was not like these days when you can put a tape out and get a lot of eyes" from possible recruiters.
After he graduated in 1997, Coles was invited to a workout session that summer that included high school teammate Shaun Perkins, an all-league player in Charles County who would eventually play at Division I Maryland-Eastern Shore and then Marymount.
It was there that Coles was spotted by Chuck Driesell, at the time the head men's basketball coach at Marymount. Driesell went there to look at other players but was impressed by Coles.
Driesell invited Coles to attend MU and he had a fine four-year career, leading the Saints to a CAC title his junior year.
"I played all over," he recalls.
His freshman year he spent a lot of time at the point guard spot. Coles did not start the season in the starting lineup but eventually became a starter.
The Saints got a strong point guard the following season, so Coles went back to his normal power forward slot.
As a junior and senior, he played small forward and power forward.
And during that time, he received a compliment from Hall of Fame basketball coach Lefty Driesell, the father of Chuck and the former coach at the University of Maryland.
At the time, the elder Driesell was the head coach at Division I Georgia State in Atlanta.
"You are pretty good. Sure you don't want to play for me," the elder Driesell said half-seriously, according to Coles.
But the Saints didn't lose a player to the father of their former coach, while Chuck Driesell, a former player at Maryland, eventually became the head coach at Division I Citadel.
Those were not the only Maryland connections for Coles while at MU.
An assistant coach at that time for the Saints was Kevin McLinton, a former player at Maryland who eventually became a high school coach in Northern Virginia at St. Stephen's/St. Agnes in Alexandria.
Coles graduated from MU in 2002 with a degree in Computer Information Systems. During his time in North Arlington, he was part of the Black Student Alliance and was involved in some fashion shows on campus.
He now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and works for Microsoft Corporation, which has offices in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Coles enjoys reading, traveling and he works out to stay in shape though doesn't play in an adult basketball league.