SEATTLE – Mike Anderson, who played at Weaver High in Hartford, wore a big smile on his face when the subject of playing UConn came up …
“Nope, not at all,” he said, when asked if UConn had recruited him. “That’s my challenge. It’s going to be fun to play against my hometown team.”
Anderson, a 6-foot-4 guard, is in his first season with Washington, will get that chance on Sunday. We chatted for a few minutes following his practice on Saturday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The road from Weaver to Seattle included prep school in Florida and three different junior colleges to get his grades up.
“I’m just happy I’m here,” said Anderson, who is averaging 9.2 points and 7.1 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game, shooting 52.1 percent from the floor. “I’m trying to make the most of this opportunity I have.”
Washington’s front court is thin and has been hit with injuries, forcing coach Lorenzo Romar to start four guards. Anderson has a huge wingspan that allows him to guard bigger players – DeAndre Daniels could he his focus for some of the game on Sunday.
“DeAndre Daniels is like a guard,” Anderson said, “he could be a tough matchup.”
Anderson was an all-league player at Weaver in 2009, and he went to Taag Academy in Tampa to get his SAT scores up to the Division I qualifying level. When that didn’t work out, he went to Western Iowa CC where he redshirted, and Lincoln Trail in Illinois. Finally, he went to Moberly CC in Missouri, a JuCo that in the past helped Gerald Wilkins, Mitch Richmond and Qyntel Woods make it to the NBA. (History buffs might also know Moberly as the hometown of General Omar Bradley).
“It was just a matter of getting to the right place,” said Anderson, who credits his mother and brother with keeping him motivated through the long process. A number of schools became interested, including Creighton, West Virginia, UMass and South Florida. Washington got involved late, and landed him.
“I’m a playmaker,” Anderson said, “I make a lot of plays out there, and I bring a lot of energy. I try to get guys going – that’s basically what I do.”
Anderson has scored in double digits five times, with a high of 19 points – and 16 rebounds – in a double OT victory over Long Beach State on Nov. 30. Yes, a 6-4 player with 16 rebounds in a Division I game.