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If Spike Albrecht were to write a book or make a movie, the title would be something like "Life In the Fast Lane."

The movie would carry a PG-13 rating, he said, based on his roller-coaster career.

"There's so many different things that come to mind regarding my journey and the luck I've had along the way," Albrecht said. "Everything kind of happened by chance and it all worked out."

Albrecht is living the basketball dream as a fifth-year transfer on fourth-seeded Purdue, which meets No. 1 Kansas in Thursday's Sweet 16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

The Crown Point grad doesn't look like a Division I standout at 5-feet-11 3/4 and 172 pounds. But his resume' says otherwise.

He was the MVP of the New England Preparatory School AAA Tournament, when he led Northfield Mount Hermon High School to the championship.

Underrated and under-appreciated because of his size and limited athleticism, Albrecht's only initial offer out of prep school was from Appalachian State.

But Michigan coach John Beilein found and signed him, impressed by his point guard skills and long-range shooting.

Albrecht didn't disappoint.

He is best known for his 17-point first half performance off the bench in the 2013 NCAA Championship game, which the Wolverines lost 82-76 to top-seed Louisville.

Albrecht became a fan favorite with his 4-for-4 three-point shooting.

The New York Times sports page did a year in review, including Albrecht's picture and a feature story.

NBC Sports journalist Rob Dauster described the 17-point performance as "arguably the most memorable half of basketball you'll ever see."

Following the championship, Albrecht gained notoriety for tweeting and thanking reigning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover model and Michigan fan Kate Upton, thanking for her attendance at the Georgia Dome.

Upton tweeted him back.

Fast forward to today.

Purdue reached the Sweet 16 with a wild 80-76 victory over Iowa State on Saturday.

"During the game, I just try to come in, play hard, play smart, help make a positive impact, just be a leader out there when I'm on the floor and make the right plays," said Albrecht, who's still pinching himself.

"People give me a hard time because I'm one of the older guys in college but, I guarantee ya, if I asked anyone right now if they want to trade places with me, they'd take it."

His best season of college ball came in 2014-15 with Michigan when he averaged 7.5 points and 4 assists in 32 minutes a game.

Currently, Albrecht is averaging 12.5 minutes and 1.7 points a game for the Boilermakers.

"I think one of the biggest things is my basketball IQ. I have a really good understanding of the game and that helps me out there on the floor," Albrecht said. "It helps me get past my weaknesses where I lack athleticism.

"Having heart and desire and determination can't be measured, so I play with a chip on my shoulder. Playing against older guys my whole life, I was always the smallest guy on the floor so I had to find a way to stay on the court and do what I had to do."

That's the attitude coach Matt Painter wants from those wearing the Purdue black and gold.

“He’s been great. He’s a good teammate and a good person and he understands the game of basketball,” Painter said months ago at Big Ten Media Day. “He can really pass, and that gets contagious and helps for good offense.

"His best basketball has been in practices. When it gets live, he knows how to play. We’re very fortunate to have him.”

Purdue has advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2010 season and for the 11th time in school history (1969, 1980, 1988, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2017).

That's the good news. The bad news is, no more Kate Upton tweets.

"We have a social media ban during the season here at Purdue, probably for reasons like that," Albrecht chuckled.

"So I don't think I'll be letting loose on any tweets any time soon."


Sports Reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.