Know-A-Net: Ryan Anderson
September 24, 2008
by Ben Couch -- NJNETS.COM
East Rutherford, NJ — Ryan Anderson has a hypnotic voice. Befitting a California boy, his cadence laps rhythmically, and at a volume that doesn’t command attention. To East Coast ears, it’s refreshingly relaxed. He seems at peace with ... everything.
And yet, the rookie forward is an icy assassin on the basketball court. Anderson finished his sophomore season leading the Pac-10 with 21.3 points per game, and his 10.0 rebounds per trailed only Jon Brockman (11.5) and
We recently spoke with Anderson after he finished a workout. It’s time to Know a Net!
NJNets.com: What’s your first basketball memory?
Ryan Anderson: I remember my grandma bought me a mini-hoop. It had a tiny little ball and you could raise it up. I remember playing on that in my backyard when I was super young, probably four. I remember loving playing on that thing – I’d always be out there.
NJNets.com: When did you start playing organized ball?
Anderson: I started playing when I was eight. I joined an NJB basketball league, it was a local league. A bunch of my buddies from elementary school, we got together and played (there). You had to try out. That was great. I remember being a lot bigger than the other kids, so I could score a lot of points.
NJNets.com: Who most encouraged you as a basketball player?
Anderson: Let’s see … that’s a good question. I never really got that. It’s funny, because no one really encouraged me to play sports. My parents always wanted me to do what I liked to do, and they encouraged me to go and do something like that.
As far as with basketball, I kind of put it on myself, I guess. I loved the game and loved to do it, so I would get in the gym and do things, like put up a bunch of shots. I wouldn’t really say someone encouraged me to do it, but I was always taller than a lot of my friends, than people around me, so some people said, ‘Wow, you know, you should stick with basketball.’ But nobody really sat me down and said, ‘Ryan, you have a future in this.’ It was my dream to do it, and I kind of put it on myself.
NJNets.com: When did you realize you had real talent for basketball?
Anderson: In junior high, definitely when AAU basketball started, when I started getting involved in organized summer ball, I realized I could play. That I could shoot the ball pretty well, could do a bunch of things on the court as an 11- or 12-year-old. That encouraged me to keep playing the sport.
NJNets.com: When was your first dunk?
Anderson: My first dunk was my freshman year of high school, at a country club. I remember I was so excited to do it. I just went up and did it for some reason. I don’t know why I did it that day – I must have had extra energy or something. My first dunk in a game was my freshman summer, at a sports complex called “Basketball Town.” I was 6’4.
NJNets.com: What was your most embarrassing moment?
Anderson: In seventh grade, I was playing up with the eighth graders, and I didn’t get a lot of playing time. My coach didn’t really have a lot of respect for me, I guess, on the court; you know, I was younger than the other guys. So finally, it was my turn to get on the court – and it seems like such a big crowd when you’re younger, but it wasn’t that many people – but I remember running out there when they called my name, and I just slip. That was just so embarrassing for me as a kid, because all the guys I looked up to were laughing. Not too bad.
NJNets.com: What’s the biggest shot you’ve ever hit?
Anderson: My biggest shot was probably last year, actually. It was a really close game in the Pac-10 tournament, and we were playing Washington (on March 12). There was one second left on the shot clock, it was a tie game with less than a minute left to play. I came off a screen and kind of had a hand in my face, but I faded away and hit a three pointer with the shot clock coming off. That was the last big shot that I’ve hit.
NJNets.com: What’s your gameday routine?
Anderson: Eating small portions of food, not a ton of food. I like to pray, a lot. Just get focused, get my head in the right place before I get out on the court. I like to not feel real nervous. Once in a while, I like to take naps. And I like to take a shower before the game, too, when I can before warmups.
NJNets.com: What do you focus on when you pray?
Anderson: It’s general. I read the bible before games once in a while, too. I get into Psalms a lot, that’s what I read before games, because it’s shorter passages that mean a lot. Nothing too specific, what I pray about, just that I can be focused and get right with God, because that’s the most important thing in my life.
NJNets.com: What’s the best way to relax after a game?
Anderson: Just hang out and watch a movie. Not something that’ll get my head in too many places. Just relax and not really worry about anything. Just rest after a long day.
NJNets.com: What kind of movie would you throw on?
Anderson: Definitely a comedy movie, like a "Dumb and Dumber," or a "Superbad" or "Wedding Crashers." Those are some of my favorite movies. Maybe an action-adventure movie like Indiana Jones. I love those kind of movies.
NJNets.com: Do you play NBA video games?
Anderson: No, not too much. I played a little bit of the last ... I don’t even really know the names of them … What is it? NBA 2K … 8? I played that one with one of my buddies on his Xbox 360 a bunch. That’s probably the only (current) NBA game. I used to play, on N64, the "NBA Courtside with Kobe Bryant." I used to love that game, but I’m not a huge video gamer.
NJNets.com: How have you been spending your free time?
Anderson: I like to get outside, be outside, outdoors, go for walks or hikes if I can; I don’t know if I’ll have a lot of time to do that now. Just explore nature. I really like music. I like to update my iTunes library. I used to play a bunch of instruments. My family’s really involved with music with our church, and with a bunch of different things – my sister, she just recently sang at a wedding. I just have a big passion for music.
NJNets.com: So what instruments did you play?
Anderson: I played the bass guitar, the acoustic guitar, the drums, the clarinet, the saxophone and … yeah, that’s it.
NJNets.com: Whoa. That’s a few. Is that something you’ve kept up with?
Anderson: It’s not. Basketball took priority over that stuff midway through high school. I played guitar a little bit at the beginning of high school, but that kind of faded away.
NJNets.com: So if your iPod’s on shuffle, where’s it landing?
Anderson: Everywhere. I was talking to Brook one time, and he said, ‘My iPod’s a time machine – I’ve got everything in there.’ So I’d probably say something similar. I’ve got everything, from Michael Jackson to Kanye West. I listen to some Christian music, like Chris Tomlin; I really like him. I like pretty much everything – Rascal Flatts, they’re pretty good, too. I’m not a huge country fan, but I listen to almost everything.
NJNets.com: Do you plan to continue taking classes at Cal?
Anderson: In the future I will. I definitely plan on getting my degree or completing my college experience. I’m probably going to start doing some online things next summer, when I’m a little bit more used to the schedule. I couldn’t do it right now, it’d be too hard.
NJNets.com: What would you like to focus in?
Anderson: Before I left, my major was American studies, which is kind of an open major. But I was thinking of something in anthropology, and you can combine your major. I’m not sure what I’d want to combine that with – maybe sociology or psychology. I’m definitely interested in history, so the anthropology stuff is something I like to learn about.
NJNets.com: Your dad’s a history buff. I bet he’s okay with that.
Anderson: [Laughs] He loves it.