Submitted by National Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
When Tuesday's game ended, Andre Drummond walked straight from the United Center court to the stands.
“I went to hug my mom,” Drummond said. “She is my biggest supporter. She's been there since day one. She always tells me I can do it and when my number is called I'll be ready.”
Drummond was more than ready in the Chicago Bulls' 118-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Drawing his first start as a Bull with Nikola Vucevic sidelined with a groin strain, Drummond made franchise history.
He became the first Bull to record 24 points, 25 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a game. He is also only the sixth player in NBA history to post those statistical benchmarks, joining Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Roy Tarpley, Chris Webber, and Dwight Howard.
“He was great,” coach Billy Donovan said. “I'm very happy for him personally because every day he comes in and works and talks about the team. And a guy of his caliber and what he's done in his career, he probably deserves more minutes. But whatever minute he's given – wise he's kept himself ready to play.”
Drummond is a two-time All-Star and has consistently produced in limited playing time playing behind Vucevic.
“My mentality is I'm not a backup,” Drummond said. “I still think I'm a starter in this league.”
When asked how difficult it was to stay positive and prepare while averaging about 13-14 minutes per game, Drummond didn't hesitate.
“It's not hard to be a good teammate,” Drummond said. “It's not hard to support your teammates. It's reciprocated when it's my turn. So all the love here.”
Ten of Drummond's 25 rebounds came on the offensive end. Drummond is the first Bull to have at least 25 rebounds in a game since Ben Wallace on December 15, 2006.
“It's just a talent I have. It's a skill. It's an art,” Drummond said. “It's something I take pride in. It gets me in the game when I get offensive rebounds and make 3s.
“When I got into the NBA, I wanted to be the best football player ever. And I set out to do that.”
Whether Drummond achieves it or not, his coaches and teammates appreciate him.
“He sacrificed a lot and worked hard,” Donovan said. “And it's great to see a professional like that staying prepared.”
Drummond said that part is easy.
“You cannot take this match for granted. You never know when it will be your last time on the field,” he said. “I really respect the game and every opportunity I get.”
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