Shawnee Mission East junior quarterback Andy Maddox lived three doors down from Kansas coach Bill Self when he was a child.
As the son of Mike Maddox, the former KU forward who was a freshman on the 1988 national championship team, he spent plenty of time toddling around Lawrence and getting to know the likes of Danny Manning and Self.
Andy has had a rather charmed childhood, one that featured a brush with Paul Pierce in an Allen Fieldhouse locker room when KU honored the 20th anniversary of the Danny and the Miracles’ championship and a workout with Roy Williams when he attended a quarterback camp at the University of North Carolina this summer.
But even though he was surrounded by basketball throughout his upbringing, Andy Maddox never longed for the sport like he did football.
As soon as he started playing quarterback for his youth team in fourth grade — by then the Maddox family had moved into the Shawnee Mission school district — Maddox had found his niche.
“I had a pretty strong arm, at least for a fourth-grader, I guess,” Maddox said. “It turned out I was pretty good at it, and I just kind of loved it ever since. You get to touch the ball every play. It’s kind of exciting to have the spotlight.”
Now, seven years later, Maddox is Shawnee Mission East’s leader. In his first season as the Lancers’ signal-caller he has led SM East (9-1) to the Class 6A sectionals with 1,530 all-purpose yards to his name.
He has fit almost seamlessly into Lancers coach Dustin Delaney’s triple-option offense. He’s taken chances, like an 80-yard pass in a win over Olathe East and a 65-yard run for a touchdown against Gardner Edgerton. He’s studied the reels of tape a high school quarterback needs to in order to be successful, and then some.
“I think what’s happened is game to game we’ve opened up our offense a little bit more as he’s gotten more confidence,” Delaney said. “I just noticed he understands so much better what we’re doing. He knows what all the guys are doing every play, which is a big step up.”
He’s become as adept at football as Mike Maddox, a former lawyer turned banker who is president and CEO of CrossFirst Bank, was at basketball during his four-year career with the Jayhawks.
Maddox still followed his father’s path, in a way, when he continued playing basketball in high school. Andy is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, and very well could be a starting forward for the Lancers on the hardwood next month. He wears the number 32 in basketball, like his father did at KU.
But not once did he ever feel pressured to uphold some kind of family legacy.
“I’m almost kind of glad he’s focusing on football,” said Mike, who was captain of KU’s 1991 national runner-up team. “I don’t want anybody comparing him to me. He’s his own deal. He just had to follow what his passion was.”
The younger Maddox, who has one sister playing volleyball at Mississippi State and another studying at KU, will continue to forge his own way as long as the Lancers are in the playoffs. SM East will play host to Blue Valley North (6-4) on Friday night at SM North stadium.
“When you try to make this a bigger game than it is, that’s where I feel like you get stuck,” Maddox said. “We’re just preparing like it is what it is, which is just a game. … Blue Valley North is very good, very athletic. They’re definitely one of a kind. I don’t think any team in the state of Kansas is like them. You’ve got to be ready for them.”