When people keep asking Kevin Anderson if he is looking forward to Loyola's lacrosse season, he feels compelled to be honest with them.
"No," he says.
At first glance, that may sound like a strange response. Anderson is a 6-foot-4 midfielder who gathered eight goals and two assists as Loyola compiled an 11-3 record and finished runner-up to Syracuse for the NCAA championship last spring.
But Anderson will be far from Curley Field when Loyola opens its lacrosse season Saturday against Rutgers. He'll be in Albany, N.Y., for the seventh-seeded Greyhounds' 7 p.m. game against second-seeded La Salle in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball tournament.
In his other athletic life at Loyola, Anderson is a starting forward in basketball. With an 11.9 average, he is the team's third-leading scorer behind Kevin Green and Tracy Bergan. He is the only male at Loyola playing two varsity sports.
"I'm trying hard to keep them separate," Anderson said. "I'm interested in how the lacrosse team does, but my first priority is basketball. If we win the MAAC tournament, we'll get an automatic bid to the NCAAs. That's our dream. It would be an honor. So those are the games I'm concentrating on."
When he came out of Loyola High -- where he played soccer as well as basketball and lacrosse -- Anderson was recruited by then-basketball coach Mark Amatucci and lacrosse coach Dave Cottle. They agreed he could play two sports and that, at the outset, lacrosse would provide some of his scholarship money.
"Since then, basketball has covered my scholarship, so that's No. 1," Anderson said. "I knew I'd miss at least one lacrosse game this year because of basketball. Lacrosse is only starting its season; basketball tournament time is heat."
The MAAC tournament will open with No. 8 Fairfield playing No. 9 Canisius tomorrow at 8 p.m. In addition to Loyola-La Salle, Saturday's quarterfinals will match No. 3 St. Peter's vs. No. 6 Niagara, No. 4 Iona vs. No. 5 Manhattan and No. 1 Siena vs. the Canisius-Fairfield winner. The Loyola-La Salle winner will face the St. Peter's-Niagara winner in the first semifinal Sunday. Monday's 7:30 p.m. final will be televised by ESPN.
"We're going into the tournament with four straight losses, but anything can happen," Anderson said, noting the Greyhounds are 12-15 overall and 5-11 in the MAAC. "When we beat Iona and Siena back-to-back in January, that gave us confidence and showed we could beat the better teams. Until then, we were 0-6 in the league."
When Tom Schneider, now in his second year as head coach at Loyola, first studied Anderson, he regarded him as a role player. Good shooter, but deficient in some other areas.
"Kevin made himself into a complete Division I player," Schneider said. "I admire the fact he plays two sports. Not too many athletes in the country do this, and do well academically, too."
In terms of eligibility, Anderson is a junior in basketball, a sophomore in lacrosse. In his fifth school year, he will play lacrosse only. Anderson was a lacrosse redshirt as a freshman to give him time to make the switch from a high school goalie to a college midfielder.
"Goaltending is a sport in itself," Anderson said. "It's easier to transfer from basketball to midfield in the spring than from basketball to goalie. Midfield is sort of related to basketball."
After Saturday's game with Rutgers, Cottle will take the lacrosse team to Florida for training during spring break. Anderson will join the team somewhere in the South before the March 9 date at Virginia. That is, unless the basketball team storms through the MAAC tournament into the NCAAs.