Andrew Fleming was considered a force to be reckoned with coming out of Oxford Hills High School. Named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Maine during his senior campaign, Fleming averaged 27.8 points and 14.4 rebounds while leading his Vikings to a 15-5 record and the Class AA North semifinals. After fielding offers from various schools, Fleming brought his talents to Orono, looking to build on to the success he found in high school.
A stellar rookie campaign is an excellent way to describe Fleming’s first season as a University of Maine Black Bear. He averaged close to 11 points a game, along with a team-leading 6.5 rebounds. I had the honor to interview the America East All-Rookie Player on Wednesday at the Black Bear men’s basketball Media Day. As a second-year player, Fleming is looking to add on to what has already been a promising start. The 6-foot-7-inch South Paris, Maine, native looks to be a solid contributor to the team again this season, and he gets his first chance to prove it on Friday, Nov. 10 as the team travels to Boston College for their season opener against the Eagles.
Sam Wheeler: In your first season, you led your team in rebounds and averaged close to 11 points. How did you adjust from playing high school basketball to college basketball?
Andrew Fleming: It’s a big adjustment, just the physicality and speed, it’s a lot different. Getting adjusted to that as quickly as I could really helped with how I performed throughout the season.
SW: Was Maine the clear choice for you? How was the decision making process?
AF: I had a couple of Ivy League schools that were calling me. But the opportunity that Maine has given me and all the goals that I want to achieve while I’m here really made the decision easy.
SW: How long have you been playing basketball?
AF: I’ve been playing pretty much as long as I can remember. I’ve been playing since I was 4 or 5 and my dad always played, so that really inspired me to play.
SW: Do you prefer NCAA or NBA?
AF: That’s tough, I’d probably say NBA though. I’m more of a players guy.
SW: Do you have a favorite player or players?
AF: I like Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.
SW: Do you have a favorite team?
AF: I’m a Celtics fan, but honestly I just love the game.
SW: Outside of basketball, what are your biggest hobbies?
AF: [long pause] I don’t really know. I hang around my family and we play a lot of sports. I guess you could say I’m just a family guy.
SW: Do you have a favorite pre-game song that you listen to before games?
AF: Not really. I like country music, so my playlist is all country and that’s how I try to get focused.
SW: Who’s your biggest inspiration?
AF: Definitely my dad. He played basketball when he was a kid and from as early as I can remember I always had a basketball in my hand. I always just wanted to make him proud.
SW: If you could travel one place in the world where would it be?
AF: I’d probably have to say France. I like the cities there. I think it would be fun to go to.
SW: If you could own a dream car what would it be?
AF: I have a Kia Optima, so that’s my dream car right there.
SW: Give me three words that best describe your experience in Orono so far?
AF: Perfect, competitive and fun.