By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
SHELBINA, Mo. -- Grabbing rebounds provides Andre McClure with a catharsis of sorts. Skying for a wayward shot allows the 6-foot-3 South Shelby senior to release his stress.
"I hold my anger in and take it our when I jump up and get the rebounds," McClure said.
Few area players do it better. McClure has averaged 13.2 rebounds and 15.8 points per game during the Cardinals' 5-2 start. Rebounding came naturally to McClure, but he wasn't always such a well-rounded player.
Before his sophomore year of high school, some basic skills eluded him.
"My shooting and posting were two major struggles," McClure said. "Dribbling was another thing. I couldn't dribble at all."
Progress came gradually. Cardinals coach Philip Dunkle decided have McClure start from the very beginning.
"I think with him you had to go back to basics and work on the fundamentals," Dunkle said. "We taught him the footwork and how to throw a pass. I think it benefitted the other kids because it helped them come along."
His hard work showed in modest numbers his sophomore year as McClure averaged 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds a game.
Then everything came together last year. He averaged 12.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game and was named first team all-district. The Cardinals also had success as a team, rolling to a Clarence Cannon Conference title and finishing 22-5.
"Probably my junior year everything started to click," McClure said. "We really started playing as a team and it worked out well. We were passing the ball around and getting it to everyone."
Developing a consistent shot was the hardest part of McClure's development. Left-handed layups and jump shots took many hours to perfect.
This season, McClure has shot 69 percent (41 of 59) from the field, up from 63 percent his junior year.
"It was hard, but then I got used to it," McClure said. "I just kept trying and trying and pushing myself."
He has always been eager to improve.
"He really has a willingness to learn," Dunkle said. "He wants to do everything the right way, from how to box out to how to post up. He really alters the game for us inside."
Dunkle was impressed with how McClure has taken a step forward.
"He's got great instincts and a quick jump," the coach said. "This is a kid who didn't play much basketball before his sophomore year. He's really developed from a kid who can't walk and chew gum at the same time to an all-district player."