Ridgewood’s Mazurczak headed to UW-Parkside
Ridgewood senior Andy Mazurczak is the first to cut part of the net after winning a regional title basketball game against Vernon Hills at Ridgewood High School March 2. During his time as a Rebel, he led the boys basketball team to back-to-back sectional
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:52AM
Ridgewood senior Andy Mazurczak has certainly been one of those athletes that doesn’t come around very often.
During his time as a Rebel, he led the boys basketball team to back-to-back sectional appearances, including a trip to the sectional title game in 2011 in his junior year. In that season, the Rebels finished with a 20-10 record, which was their best record since 1992.
They followed that with a 21-8 record in 2012. Mazurczak led the Rebels, averaging 23 points, six assists and six rebounds.
“Andy played tremendous this year (and) he is one of the key members to put Ridgewood on the basketball map in the city of Chicago,” said Rebels basketball coach Chris Mroz. “We played great competition and it was a lot of fun.”
The Rebels will certainly miss Mazurczak’s production on the court but Mroz will miss more than that.
“The biggest thing I’ll miss about Andy is his personality, he is the type of kid that will talk to anyone,” said Mroz. “He has a great heart and just is a fantastic person.”
After he walks the stage in June, Mazurczak will head to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on a full-ride scholarship to play basketball with the Rangers as he recently signed a national letter of intent. He said he plans to study education.
In addition to the back-to-back sectional appearances on the basketball court, Mazurczak helped the Rebels soccer team finish second in state in 2011. But this season they were unable to capture the magic from that year as they fell in the regional semifinals.
“The season for both sports went all right,” said Mazurczak. “This year as a senior I had to be more vocal and be a leader.
“Soccer was fun because we went on a trip to Ohio and bonded. I wish we would have made a deeper run like we did last year but things weren’t meant to be.
“For basketball, we had another 20-win season and played some ranked teams like Morgan Park, Crane, Notre Dame and Riverside-Brookfield. We competed with those teams but just came up short. I feel we put ourselves on the map and got noticed because of last year.
“I enjoyed the season, but I wish we won the conference and made a deeper run in the playoffs. Overall it was a fun year and I’m glad we had another record-breaking year (on the court).”
It’s no secret that Mazurczak is a tremendous athlete, but in the eyes of his coaches and teachers he is seen as much more than that.
“He is an amazing young man and was (also) just selected as the 2012 Athlete of the Year here at Ridgewood,” said Ridgewood Athletic Director Rob St. John.
Mroz added, “He definitely is a role model for our younger players. He never got in trouble, had excellent grades and worked extremely hard.”
During his time as a Rebel, Mazurczak feels he has improved as a passer, scorer and has become a smarter player on the hardwood.
“Personally, I feel I improved my game as a combo guard. Junior year I ran point (guard) and I found my teammates first rather than for myself. Then as a senior I had to be the scorer and go to player,” he said. “I think I became a smarter player and (knew) where my teammates (wanted) the ball as a passer. I think I improved as a scorer too, just knowing how to read my defender and use my body to get around them.”
Now that he is set to play at UW-Parkside, Mroz gave Mazurczak a piece of valuable advice and is confident he will flourish in his time there. Mroz said would not be surprised if Mazurczak ends up playing basketball professionally one day.
“I just told Andy to be patient,” said Mroz. “They play in the toughest Division II conference in the country (the Great Lakes Valley Conference). A lot of guys from that conference end up getting professional contracts and it wouldn’t surprise me if one day Andy plays professionally overseas.”
Given his talents and potential, that may happen. But for now, Mazurczack is just excited about the experience of playing college basketball.
“I look forward to living on campus. It’s going to be a new experience and going to be fun spending time with the team,” he said. “I (also) look forward to traveling to my games in different states, just looking forward to playing basketball for another four years.”