WNCC’s Ramirez inks with Division I Hartford
     2015-11-20      By The Gering Citizen    editor@geringcitizen.com
Western Nebraska’s hoops star Andrew Ramirez signs with the Hartford Hawks on Monday. Ramirez is averaging 10 points and three rebounds a game, and so far this season has talled 18 assists and 15 steals. Courtesy photo 
Western Nebraska Community College freshman Andrew Ramirez didn’t hesitate when he had an opportunity to join his club coach Ivo Simovic at the Division I level at Hartford University.

That decision became final Monday when Ramirez signed to become a Hawk basketball player in the American East Conference next season.

Ramirez, from Madrid, Spain, said he is excited to be going Division I.

“It has been a dream I have had for years,’” he said. “It is an incredible chance; once in a lifetime. It is a dream and it is something that will motivate me to work harder.”

Hartford is a program that is up and coming and Ramirez is ready to join a Division I program that he feels he can help as well as get a good education.

“Hartford also has a very good academic program where I can study physical therapy there,” he said. “I know I will get a good education there. And I love how they play and their conference is pretty good.”

In just five games this season, the Cougar men are 4-1. Ramirez is averaging 10 points and three rebounds a game along with 18 assists and 15 steals. What makes Ramirez stand out is his shooting, where he is shooting 50 percent from the arc and 76 percent from the charity stripe.

WNCC coach Russ Beck said while Ramirez can score, it is his defensive game that makes Ramirez sparkle.

“He is a tremendous on ball defender. He definitely is top three of players I have coached on on-ball defense. He helped us with defensive stops with just pressure,” Beck said. “He is a heady guy who passes to the guys and knows how to hit their hands. And, for being a flat-footed three-point shooter, he sure can shoot a high-percentage from the three-point line.

“He is a team guy and sometimes in the past you are concerned about guys like this who sign early will shut it down because they know what they have, but that is not Andy’s case. This allows him to focus on our team goals and allows him to focus all these other guys sitting at his table and sign to play Division I as well.”

Beck said that Ramirez will continue to get even better through the season.

“Andy will work on every aspect of his game,” Beck said. “That is one thing about Andy is he don’t have any glaring deficiencies. He just needs to keep doing what he is doing and understand everything is a process and get a little bit better each day.”

Ramirez said in his short time at WNCC he has improved his game many ways.

“I think I have improved a lot with my athleticism and capacity to play hard,” he said. “On the other side of my game, I have improved on my mentality. My teammates help me a lot, too. We all help each other to stay motivated.”

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