Amos more than hotshot

Friday, January 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:25 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Andre Amos, a Columbia College senior, gives some spectators an inaccurate first impression.

His seemingly unlimited shooting range makes labeling him a 3-point specialist easy. He made 12-of-18 3-pointers combined in the Cougars’ Jan. 8 win against Peru State (Neb.) and their defeat of Lyon (Ark.) on Saturday. He scored a career-high 38 points, including 26 in the first half, against Lyon.

Amos’ outstanding shooting in those contests helped earn him NAIA Player of the Week for Jan. 4-10. He said he was proud to receive the national award but even more pleased with the Cougars’ ascension in the latest NAIA poll and their 18-1 record.

“I was a little surprised, actually,” he said. “I’m happy all the hard work has paid off, but I was more happy the team moved to No. 7 in the nation.”

Bob Burchard, the Cougars’ coach, said he was ecstatic when he heard about Amos’ award.

“That’s quite an honor,” he said. “Obviously, we felt he was really deserving, but Andre’s a special part of our program, and to see somebody get that kind of recognition is fabulous.”

Amos and the Cougars play East-West University at The Arena of Southwell Complex on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Although his stellar 3-point shooting is what likely grabbed the attention of NAIA voters, Amos is one of the most well-rounded players in the country. He and his roommate, senior Khamari Ballard, are tied for the national lead in steals with 48. Amos also leads the Cougars in assists, rebounds and free throw percentage.

He said he wasn’t a good defender until transferring to Columbia College.

“When I first came in, I was pretty much just a 3-point shooter,” he said. “Coach Burchard worked with me on everything else. He felt I was more of an all-around player, and he kind of brought it out of me.”

Burchard said Amos’ work ethic, basketball savvy and willingness to learn has made him a great defender and a more versatile offensive player. Despite his torrid shooting against Lyon, Amos didn’t force bad shots. He said it’s fun to play on a team that shares the ball as well as the Cougars.

“That’s always been one of my strong points, taking good shots,” he said. “We do a good job of screening for each other and finding the open man. I happened to be the open man more often (against Lyon).”

Burchard said Amos and Ballard, the Cougars’ leading scorers, are unselfish, and their attitude spreads throughout the team.

“When arguably two of your best players are that interested in sharing the ball, then your other guys have to,” he said.

Amos and Ballard also were teammates at Northwest Mississippi Community College before transferring to Columbia College as juniors last season. Amos said having Ballard join him in Columbia made the transition much smoother.

“He pretty much knew my game, I knew his game and our teammates welcomed us,” he said. “They felt like we were pretty good players, but we were just happy to be there. We felt like we were contenders for a national championship last year. I feel like we’ve got an even better chance this year.”

Burchard said Amos leads by example and doesn’t take days off in practice or games. He also said Amos, who wants to pursue a career in social work, has an infectious concern for people, including his teammates.

“It is a pleasure to have somebody with quiet confidence like that,” he said. “He doesn’t need to tell you he’s a good player.”

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