A six-hour flight delay Thursday caused me to miss interview sessions at the Alamodome with the four teams gathered for tonight's NCAA Southwest Regional semifinals, and a chance to chat up Richmond point guard Kevin Anderson.
A 6-foot senior from Atlanta, he's a remarkable study. Choosing Richmond over Appalachian State, Anderson was a forgotten recruit, and all he's done is become the Spiders' No. 2 career scorer with 2,152 points. He also ranks third in career steals, fourth in career assists.
"We entrust in him everything we do," center Dan Geriot said this week. "He's the guy who really controls the game. He's been making big shots here for years. It's just that now it's a lot bigger stage. We've become accustomed to it and are probably spoiled by it."
"The biggest difference in KA this year is his leadership," forward Justin Harper said. "He's always led by example. Now he's more vocal."
Anderson grew up idolizing Allen Iverson and patterns his floaters in the lane after AI. Wise move, because at 175 pounds, Anderson, like Iverson, risks life and limb if he drives to the rim rather than pulling up.
"I couldn't overstate how much Kevin Anderson has meant to our basketball program," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "He's been a great player really since he walked onto campus. The highest compliment I think you can give any player is, he plays his best when the game means the most, and for Kevin, that has been who's he has been since the day he walked in. He's handled himself in a great way on and off the floor."
Anderson hit the game-winning shot in Richmond's tournament upset of Vanderbilt last week, part of his game-high 25 points, and Mooney talked about the advantage of having him direct the offense at crucial times.
"It's a tremendous luxury," Mooney said. "You don't have to worry about the first two-thirds of your offensive set. With some teams you might have to worry about: How are we going to get the ball to the frontcourt? And how are we going to get into our offense? Those two things are taken care of with Kevin, especially at this stage of his career.
"All you're worried about now is the last third of that: Who do you want to shoot the ball? What play do you want to run? Ultimately, where do you want the ball to be?
And he usually takes care of the last third, too."
Teel Time: Coach, teammates rave about Richmond guard Kevin Anderson
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