Kevin Anderson Q + A

by Jeremy Bauman / @JBauman13

After declaring for the NBA Draft last year as a junior but deciding to return to school for his senior year, Kevin Anderson is in prime position to lead the Richmond Spiders to March Madness.

An under control lead guard blessed with the ability to score from almost all angles, Anderson has a level-headeKevin Andersond approach to the game. In each of his first three seasons at Richmond, Anderson has improved his scoring numbers while improving his leadership abilities.

Coach Jamal Brunt approached me about doing this story in Orlando while he was recruiting — he said that Anderson was at a small school and had earned and deserved more attention from members of the media. Thanks for the heads up, Coach Brunt, and you seem to be damn right.

If you haven’t seen KA play, then check the videos that we have below (special thanks to Mark Kwolek who made these happen).

SLAM: Coming out of high school what was recruiting like? How and why did you end up at Richmond and why did all of the bigger schools pass up on you, in your opinion?

Kevin Anderson: Recruiting out of high school was very slow. I didn’t get any interest from any school until my junior summer (being a rising senior). That is when I got my first scholarship offer to Appalachian State. Throughout my senior year in high school I received offers from UNCG, Furman, Wofford, and received interest from UGA, UCF, and Tulane. I ended up at Richmond because it was the best of both worlds; academically and basketball wise. I knew Richmond had a top tier business program that I was interested in and I knew they played in the Atlantic-10 Conference where a lot of great NBA players have played. My size and my high school is why I feel bigger schools passed up on me. I was only 5-11 and weighed 150 pounds and at a small private school for the first three years of high school. I transferred to a 5A public school my senior year and that’s when offers and interests changed for the better.

SLAM: In high school were you anywhere near the same player that you have been since your freshman year at Richmond? Did getting on campus get you into a serious frame of mind and make you realize that you have the skills to be a very impressive player.

KA: In high school I was more of a passive player. My overall game was still the same; I had all the same moves, shots, athleticism and knowledge of the game. However, once I got to college I did not want to be the same type of player I was in high-school. I wanted to be the most aggressive person on the court, so I worked on doing that and I feel that is the biggest change in my game from high-school to college.

SLAM: Each year your scoring has improved at the college level. How have you improved year in and year out? What, in particular, did you work on in between your freshman and sophomore years? What about in between your sophomore and junior years? What about this summer?

KA: Improving my scoring each year has come from the knowledge of the offense that we run. Knowledge played a big factor during my freshman and sophomores years, because as a freshman in college I didn’t know how to attack within our offense. I didn’t know how to incorporate the things I can do that helps me to score within our offense. However, my sophomore year I got the hang of it and was able to increase my scoring. Within my sophomore and junior year, it was all the freedom that the coaches gave me to try and score. They let me take chances on the court and play my game. This summer I have been working on my outside shot, court vision, speed, quickness, and my explosiveness. I believe these things will help me be more productive within our offense and effective in the open court.

SLAM: You started off your career at 3 assists per contest and that number had dropped a little the past few seasons. To play in the NBA, people are going to say that you aren’t that skilled of a passer because of your assist numbers. What do you have to say to these people?

KA: The criticism will only make me work harder on improving other aspects of my game. I have worked on my game throughout the summer and will continue working on my game this year. My game will do the talking for me.

SLAM: You seem to use a lot of hop steps and jump stops in the lane and around the rim. You use crafty floaters that a lot of players simply cannot make. How have you become so consistent with these moves? Have they always been your bread and butter in the paint or have you learned that that’s how you have to score over big men?

KA: These moves have always been my bread and butter in the paint. At times growing up that was the only way I could get my shot off in games because the big men were so much bigger than me and I was not as strong as I am now. Now instead of just going in the paint going to my bread and butter I read the defenders and let them dictate the way I will try and score on them.

SLAM: You also seem to hit a ton of tough shots-pull-ups, step-backs, long range, etc… What is your philosophy on shot selection and why do you think you are able to hit such difficult shots?

KA: I let the defenders dictate my shot selection. If they back off of me, then I will shoot the ball, If they are too close and I feel I can get by them I will drive the lane.

SLAM: Another thing that you seem to do well is push the ball up court quickly. Do you prefer an up-tempo system or do you like to play in the half court just as much?

KA: I like both styles; an up-tempo system and a half-court system as well. To be a good point guard I feel you have to be effective at both. Neither of these systems work 100% of the time so I really do not have a preference.

SLAM: On defense what are some of your strong points? Where do you thrive on this end of the court?

KA: My strong points on defense are my quickness and knowledge for the game. With my quickness I can pressure my man and make it hard for him to get to the basket, with my knowledge for the game I am able to read plays and what players want or looking for and I am able to get into passing lanes.

SLAM: What are your goals for the upcoming season both individually and team wise?

KA: Team wise I want us to win the Conference Title, Conference Tournament, get to the NCAA Tournament and get as far as possible. Individually I just want to work as hard as possible on and off the court and max out on all my potential.

SLAM: Looking past this college season, where do you see yourself? What about in five years from now?

KA: If all goes well and I work as hard as possible on and off the court maxing out on all my potential I see myself being successful. Not just successful in basketball, but in whatever I chose to do. My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA. Hopefully that opportunity will be afforded and I will make the most out of it.

SLAM: What is your major and why did you choose it?

KA: I major in Marketing; I chose marketing because of Richmond’s top tier business program and my love for money.