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Posted 19 Nov 2001   For week ended November 16, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 16Nov01

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


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