|Courtesy Doug Witte|
The 6-foot-3 guard from Chicago has a quiet confidence and a little basketball pedigree, part of which comes from his father, Nick, who played 13 seasons in the NBA.
Ten of those years came with the Orlando Magic, where he teamed with Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal to push the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance 1995.
“Him making it as far as he did, I want to succeed as far as I can at the same time,” said Anderson, who averages 9.4 points per game so far this season. “He gave me a lot of talks to just stay with it, stay focused, to always try to win. He’s played a big part in my life just as a role model, as a father, (in) basketball and just overall as a good guy.”
While he is not as big or strong as his 6-foot-6 father, Anderson has been able to bring the Lakers a deft shooting touch (7-of-10 from 3-point range this season) and in-game confidence.
“Obviously, he’s an excellent shooter, that’s probably the No. 1 thing he’s done for us thus far,” said GVSU head coach Ric Welsey. “Not only is he a good shooter, but he also shoots with confidence, which seems like it’d go hand in hand, but it doesn’t always.”
Wesley said Anderson is a player that can give the offense a boost, and after his three-consecutive 3-pointers helped the Lakers get back into their eventual loss to top-ranked Bellarmine University earlier this season, he’s proven his coach right.
“It just rubs off on everybody else when you see him confident in his game,” said junior forward Tony Peters. “He’s just a basketball player, and he’s been through a lot of the same things we’ve been through. It all comes down to being a basketball player, and he’s good at what he does, so he fit right in with us.”
That easy transition has helped Anderson, as well as the team, throughout the early parts of this season. Despite the three-point loss to Bellarmine, Anderson has proven to be a player his teammates can rely on in games, a quality he developed through experience at the junior college-level.
“The fact that he’s an older junior college player, he’s been in tougher games, he’s been somewhat tested … is all good stuff,” Wesley said. “He’s a confident player, but he’s a confident person. Older guys tend to be that way, they’ve been away from home, and they’ve been on their own a bit … so their assimilation into the team is a little bit easier.”
Tough games are nothing new to Anderson, who teamed with Chicago Bulls’ guard and reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose to win consecutive state championships at Simeon Vocational School in Chicago.
“It’s just going through a bunch of experiences, going through the trenches playing with the players I’ve played with, it just gave me a lot of experience,” Anderson said. “I feel like when I go out there, I’m just ready. I’m ready to make a play, defend, do what I’ve got to do to uplift my team to a win.”
While the basketball connection to his father is an obvious one, the connection to Rose is another aspect of that basketball pedigree that many can only dream of having.
|Courtesy of Google|
Looking over Anderson’s short career, which began at age 7 at the Penny Hardaway Basketball Camp in Memphis, his pedigree has helped increase his confidence, but the ability to play well on the court has helped Anderson make his biggest impact.
“I just want to be a presence on the court, what can I do to make the team better,” he said. “It might be diving on the floor, it might be getting rebounds or getting steals on the defensive end – if my team needs me to do that, I’m going to do that.”