Mile High Minute with Chris Andersen

It has been a long and winding road to the NBA for Chris Andersen. After just one year of junior college ball in Texas, he played in the Chinese Basketball League, International Basketball League, International Basketball Association, the Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team and the NBA Developmental League before the Nuggets made him the NBDL’s first-ever NBA call-up last season. Since joining the team, Andersen has shown a strong work ethic and marked improvement. This summer he helped lead the Nuggets to a perfect 6-0 finish in the 2002 Rocky Mountain Revue summer league in Salt Lake City, Utah. With averages 12.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.33 steals, and 1.17 blocks in 18.0 minutes per game, Andersen was rewarded with league MVP honors.

Nuggets.com’s Jonathan Goldstein caught up with Andersen to get his thoughts heading into his first training camp with Denver.

JG: “How much did your performance at the Rocky Mountain Revue build your confidence?”
ANDERSEN: “It just made me want to get even better. The whole summer I was here. I’ve just been running and working out with Kiki (Vandeweghe, Nuggets GM) and Mark and all the coaches. All that hard work paid off. I finally got the chance to show it off. I didn’t know if it was going to work or not, but I got the chance to play and it sure did. That just encouraged me more to get back here to Denver and start working out more towards the season.”

JG: “How big a difference is it for you knowing that you are in training camp with a team you know you’re going to be playing for and to know for sure that you’ll be in the NBA and with Denver this season?”
ANDERSEN: “Well, it’s a lot easier because when you come in a couple months after the season has already started, you’ve got to learn the system a lot faster than you would normally learn it. You learn it piece-by-piece. Now that I’m here at training camp and I’m learning all the right drills and all the right positions it’s going to be a lot easier on myself.”

JG: “Where is your game now compared to a year ago playing in the summer league and training camp with Cleveland and Phoenix?”
ANDERSEN: “Oh, it’s blown up way, way better than what it was before. I mean, I got the chance to get coached by some really good coaches and what you get that in your system, there’s no way that you can fail.”

JG: “Alright, thanks Chris. Good luck this season.”
ANDERSEN: “No problem. Anytime.”