By Kent Larsen
7-foot RM Struggles After Off Season
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA -- After a poor performance and injury last year
as a junior, 7-foot Florida State reserve center David Anderson is
trying to get back to the level of play he had as a sophomore. The
season after returning from an LDS mission to San Diego, California,
Anderson started 17 games, blocked 44 shots and was considered one of
the better defensive centers in the ACC. Now he's trying to recover
from a disastrous junior year that left him labeled as the team's
biggest question mark.
As a freshman in 1996, Anderson played for BYU under then-coach Roger
Reid before leaving on his mission, where he says he learned to
persevere. He also had to face sticky situations, such as when he was
confronted at a door by a man who whipped out a shotgun. "That's not
terribly well received in some places," Anderson said. "In a lot of
ways it prepared me for how to deal with situations."
While Anderson was in San Diego, however, Reid was fired by BYU,
leading Anderson, with the assistance of his father, Ken, to look for
other opportunities. Already acquainted with Steve Robinson when he
was coach at Tulsa, Ken renewed the contact. Since Florida State was
short of big players at the time, it wasn't hard to persuade Robinson
to recruit Anderson, "After he spent two years off from basketball,
we knew that David was a longshot," Robinson said. "But if you're
going to gamble, gamble on a guy that's 7 feet tall."
In his first year at FSU, as a sophomore, Anderson blossomed. But the
following year he fell apart, hitting just 14 of 37 from the field
and 4 of 11 from the foul line. He dropped in every statistical
category, and a hamstring injury hampered his play for the first half
of the year. FSU didn't do well either, dropping a school-record 21
games in the season.
Robinson soon settled on developing this year's starter, Nigel Dixon,
and forward/center Mike Mathews. The decision left Anderson the odd
man out. He was thrown in games only when others got into foul
trouble. "After a while, it became a mental thing," said Anderson. "A
bad game was contagious."
Now Anderson is drawing on his missionary experience to persevere and
fight for playing time. And, Anderson believes he can still be an
asset to FSU in the coming season, "I feel like we have some very
confident post players with Nigel, Mike and Trevor," Anderson said.
"Mix me in there and I can add to that. It's my senior year, and it's
really starting to hit me that this is my last chance. I want to help
this team become more successful because I'm on it . . . for me to be
one of the reasons why."
Anderson again fighting for playing time
Tallahassee FL Democrat 10Nov01 S2
By Michael Wallace: Democrat Staff Writer