Last year many referred to Andrew McCormack as Jackie Moon, the character from the movie, "Semi-Pro."
The nickname seemed to fit, as the Corona del Mar High 6-foot-3 forward sported an afro and had that Will Ferrell look. But this year McCormack has toned down the 'fro. No one's laughing about a silly nickname now.
When people hear, "Andrew McCormack," the words, "hustle," and, "all-out effort," come to mind. That's what he's always been known for, but it now seems at an elevated level because this is his senior year.
McCormack's hardworking style was on full display last week, when he helped the Sea Kings to a third-place finish in the Westminster tournament.
He was named to the all-tournament team and became Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.
He was grateful for the honors, but he knows those accolades won't affect his style of play. If anything they are cause to keep dishing out his 100% level of effort.
"I love the game and I love the competition," said McCormack, also a standout pitcher for the Sea Kings. "Baseball is totally different for me than basketball. In basketball, I get to run around. You're in the face of the person you're playing against. Basketball gives me a break from baseball."
It can be said McCormack plays basketball because it's fun. But the fun for him comes in the form of making hustle plays. He has fun doing the stuff that doesn't show up in the scorebook.
It seemed to be an easy choice for McCormack to be named to the all-tournament team. He's the Sea Kings' leader. He sets the tone for CdM and he helped the team to a 75-55 win over Artesia in the third-place game Saturday.
"I have never coached a kid who works as hard as he does," CdM Coach Ryan Schachter said. "His game is not going to translate necessarily to skill. He's just a kid who out-competes everyone. I don't think there's been a guy who has out-worked him. He's a monster on the boards and our emotional leader. He knows how to lead a team and holds the other players accountable for their behavior and effort."
When McCormack had the big afro last year he appeared quirky and maybe some underestimated him. Even this year, he doesn't really stick out as a player or scorer that needs to be stopped.
McCormack concedes his looks won't convince many that he's the go-to guy or MVP-type player.
"I'm not the kid you look at who's going to be the star," he said. "When people see me, they're not going to say, 'Oh, he can play and he's the best.' I don't stick out like that. I'm not the superstar, but I know I can play. And, I'm going to play hard."
The Sea Kings definitely need McCormack's effort and leadership this season. The third-place finish was great for CdM, which is an inexperienced team, Schachter said.
But the Sea Kings have struggled with inconsistency and sometimes executing the fundamentals, like a layup.
That was seen in a loss to Cypress in the semifinals of the Westminster tournament. They also struggled when they lost to Murrieta Mesa on Tuesday.
Schachter said the Sea Kings (6-5) aren't as talented as last year's team, but they can still compete if they deliver the right type of effort each game.
The right type of effort? That can be seen in McCormack.
"It comes pretty natural," McCormack said of his game. "It's always on my mind. I think about it before each game and during each game. I go through the thought of I have to out-work everyone. I have to be a leader."
Born: Oct. 24, 1993
Hometown: Newport Beach
Weight: 195 pounds
Coach: Ryan Schachter
Favorite food: Buffalo wings
Favorite movie: "Remember the Titans"
Favorite athletic moment: "The CIF semifinal run in baseball when I was a freshman."
Week in review: McCormack helped the Sea Kings to a third-place finish in the Westminster tournament, where he was named to the all-tournament team.