Derek Anderson was a fly dude when he entered the NBA.
The 13th pick in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anderson was fresh off winning a NCAA National Championship with Kentucky, had a deal with the Jordan Brand and played on a Cavaliers squad that included Shawn Kemp, Brevin Knight, a young Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Wesley Person, Cedric Henderson, Bob Sura and Vitaly Potapenko.
He’d go on to average 11 points a game and 1.5 steals. He’d play ten years in the league where he’d average 12 points a game playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Bobcats, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat.
On Saturday, Anderson was the keynote speaker at the A&M Sports Academy’s March Madness Fundraiser. A&M Sports Academy is a hoops mentoring program founded in 2008. While there, he discussed the highs and lows of his journey: being a parent by the age of fourteen, being shot and stabbed, losing his mom to substance abuse, winning championships in college and the professional level. Anderson thinks he left impact. “I think they left with a purpose of I need to finish what I start and also I need to change my attitude if I want to win,” Anderson told me.
“Those two things have always been key.”
While chatting with the students at the A&M Sports Academy, Anderson showed a video montage of his career. Homeboy was high flying, acrobatic and showcased his arsenal of moves during his career. He zig-zagged, criss-cross apple sauced and broke ankles via crossover moves on guys like fellow NBA retiree, Kobe Bryant. While watching the montage, you couldn’t help but notice that Anderson also dunked on NBA big men like Horace Grant and Dikembe Mutombo! “I pretty much got everybody,” said Anderson. “If I can remember I think I got every big man that I can remember. So I really wasn’t searching them out, but I was always like I would love to get one of those posters up.”
You’d think Anderson got the biggest joy on dunking on Mr. No-no-no Mutombo? Was it Horace Grant? How about Charles Barkley? “Neither,” Anderson said with a sly grin.
Check out Derek Anderson Chatting With Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Scoop B Radio.
Apparently, Anderson has one guy in mind that he wanted to dunk on during his career that he couldn’t. “I was trying to dunk on Patrick Ewing,” Anderson said on Scoop B Radio. “I always see him trying to box out. I was growing up seeing him blocking everybody’s dunks. I see Dikembe do it but once I got Dikembe my rookie year, I was good. But I always tried to dunk on Patrick Ewing because Jordan did it. Remember when Jordan baseline dunked on him? I always wanted to get one like that.”
In addition to chatting about his dunk conquests, the former Kentucky Wildcat also weighed in on his thoughts on the current Kentucky basketball squad and their stars chances at the next level. “I think if Monk ever plays defense he would be,” said Anderson. “But I think right now Fox is the key one. So Fox is the point guard. It’s a point guard driven league. If he continues to work on his jump shot and goes full speed like he is doing I think he will be a significant player.”
If you’re tardy to the party and not familiar with Anderson’s high-flying prowess, check it below
AAU culture is something that’s a hot button topic in sports. Kobe Bryant was critical about it in his farewell tour and Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe stated on the Scoop B Radio Podcast that it’s all about guard’s and forwards in the NBA. Derek Anderson weighed in as well on the debate. “I think it has changed dramatically,” said Anderson.
“I think what that is something that the AAU coaches just let their players do anything instead of teach them and train them. So now they don’t have any discipline. You look at that one kid who had 92 points, but he didn’t come past half court like half the time. Do you think our coaches would let us do that? No. He would have been all over us ‘Get back on defense play hard.’ But now there are so many coaches that let players be good so he can get a name and I think that is the issue with AAU. If they just roll the balls out and say: ‘who ever is talented go do it.’ And I think that is where AAU is failing us. The coaches aren’t demanding excellence. Therefore there is none.”
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