Andrew "Buzzy" Hertz found a spot at Millersville in the span of a week in April. (Photo courtesy Heather Schaen/Hertz Family)
Kayla Yoegel (@kyoegel)
Andrew "Buzzy" Hertz’s college recruitment went from 0 to 100 in six days.
The Kennett (Pa.) senior and multi-sport star –– who got his nickname due to his early love for Toy Story star Buzz Lightyear –– had his sights set on collegiate basketball, but as the winter turned into spring, he didn’t have a landing spot. Then, all of a sudden, he was going to play Division II hoops at Millersville.
The entire process played out over the course of a single week in mid-April.
“Just three weeks ago is when the recruiting started,” Hertz said by phone last week. “It was six days before I ended up committing, they reached out inquiring about an elite camp, and just out of curiosity my mom reached out and asked if we had any roster spots...and they said ‘yeah.’”
Hertz attended that elite camp at the Lancaster County institution and made a good impression, but coach Casey Stitzel and staff wanted to see more of him in another setting. A few days later, assistant coach Chris Conway went to see Hertz play a few games of pick-up in Kennett, and just the next day, Hertz visited, was offered a roster spot, and committed.
Up until Stitzel and staff got involved, Hertz was not sure where he would be attending college and if he would even get the opportunity to play college basketball. He had been accepted to and had a roster spot at Elizabethtown and had also been accepted as a student at West Chester. Hertz, who also competes in football and is a starting defenseman for the 15-0 Kennett lacrosse squad, was not ready to look for alternate opportunities to play anything other than basketball in college.
“I was just hoping and holding out that an opportunity would come,” Hertz mentioned. “There was a point where I thought I might not be playing basketball.” But he knew that if he could just hold out a little longer, that the right opportunity would come along, and thankfully it did.
The 6-foot-4 wing certainly has the talent to play at the next level, which was evident during his time at Kennett. His senior year, he helped lead the team to a 9-3 overall record (7-2 Ches-Mont) and averaged 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists, which earned him a spot on First Team All Ches-Mont and the Daily Local News’ All-Area Team. But what also stands out about Hertz’s journey is his development that allowed him to have such a successful senior campaign.
Kennett head basketball coach Jacob Gray has been with the program for the entirety of Hertz’s career — first as an assistant, the last two as head coach — and notes the growth and maturity that he has seen throughout Hertz’s career as a Blue Demon.
“The biggest change on the court was that he was so sure about what defenses were doing and the scout work that we would do as a group and he would do his own scout work,” Gray said. “I think that sets him apart that he was so smart in the game and that he could read the game like a coach, almost.”
While Hertz undoubtedly made strides as a player, Gray was also quick to note Hertz’s development as a leader from his junior to senior year, which played a critical role in helping the team be successful.
“His junior year, we had a tough year, so it was tough on everybody, we won three games, so you could start to see him work on his leadership skills,” Gray mentioned. “You could see him start to work on those skills in his own way. You could see him talking to the group a little bit more, being clear and honest with the whole group.”
Through Hertz’s development and despite a shortened senior season and an unconventional recruiting process, he will be joining a notable Millersville program that competes in the strong Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
Since Stitzel’s arrival in 2016, the Marauders have seen consistent numbers in the win column. While the group did not compete this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the ‘19-’20 season, they had a record of 15-15 (11-11 PSAC) and lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs to Shippensburg by only three points. As the team looks to continue to build in a competitive league, the addition of Hertz, a strong competitor, and leader, can be an asset to the Marauders moving forward.
As with any leap to college athletics, the jump for Hertz will be something new, but he’s confident it’s something he’ll be able to handle. Thanks to his trainer and former Kennett and West Chester University standout, Jackson Hyland, Hertz has someone who he can relate to, and who’s already walked almost the exact path as Hertz.
“He’s been awesome, like every day or whenever we talk, after workouts, he’s giving me advice, what I need to do to play in the PSAC, whether it's from skill work, to body, to mental,” Hertz said.
Hyland, who had a stellar career of his own at West Chester, compiling over 1,400 points, knows what it takes to succeed in the PSAC and firmly believes that Hertz’s game will translate well and give Millersville an immediate impact.
“I think he can go into Millersville and be an immediate impact player through his shooting, through his intelligence, his IQ, his feel for the game, and probably above all else is his competitive spirit,” Hyland said. “Every time he steps on the floor, he’s the biggest competitor on the floor, he wants to win the most, and he’ll show that through his intensity of play and his work ethic off the court.
“I think that he can give Millersville an immediate impact just because of also his size and strength," Hyland added. "A lot of the people that you see go into this PSAC are usually a little bit undersized, still kinda feeling out their body, and kinda how that will grow over the next couple of years while they are in college, and Buzzy is ready right now, body wise, and I think skill wise as well.”
Despite a quick recruitment, Hertz knows that Millersville is the place he wants to be and is grateful his journey worked out. He is looking forward to competing for a PSAC championship and learning from the older guys, and even though his time at Kennett is not over, he notes, “I’m just super excited and pumped. I’m almost ready to go up there right now.”