6-foot Anderson the player that makes Richmond go

BY foxsports • February 26, 2010

Kevin Anderson is the smallest player on the court for No. 23 Richmond, and the 6-foot point guard is also the one most likely to make the biggest plays.

Anderson leads the Spiders in scoring with a 17.5 average, and in assists and steals, and has senior backcourt mate David Gonzalvez feeling grateful they wear the same uniform.

``Man, I would fear him if I was the guard guarding him because, at any moment, he can decide to take over the game,'' Gonzalvez said. ``We always joke with him because he has a baby face, but we say, 'Don't let the baby face fool you; this guy is a monster on the court.'''

That boyish face sports a determined scowl with the game on the line, often followed by a wide smile after the under-recruited guard out of Georgia makes another clutch play.

``I think it just points to his confidence,'' Richmond coach Chris Mooney said of Anderson, discovered when an AAU manager called to offer the Spiders a chance to come see him play.

``Everybody else is playing so, so hard and, not that he's not playing hard, but he's kind of playing easy,'' Mooney said. ``He's so good and has such great sports instincts - when to drive, how to float the ball over somebody. His demeanor is just evidence of how much confidence he has.''

And the results show how much the Spiders are benefiting.

Richmond (22-6, 11-2 Atlantic 10), ranked for the first time in 24 years, has won eight consecutive games and will face Xavier for the conference lead Sunday in Ohio. The Musketeers also are 11-2 in league play, and have lost just once at home in 28 games over two seasons.

But they know very well how disruptive Anderson can be.

Last season, as a sophomore, he scored a career-best 29 points to lead the Spiders to an 80-75 victory against 17th-ranked Xavier, causing then-coach Sean Miller to gush afterward.

``Kevin Anderson, my opinion, is the best point guard we've played against. He'll be the player of the year in our conference before his career is over,'' Miller said after Anderson made 10 of 20 shots with one assist, two steals and no turnovers playing all 40 minutes.

``He's a phenomenal player. He is dynamic. We had no answer,'' Miller said, using his hands to show that Anderson was playing at a higher level that ``gave us no chance to win.''

It's a level the Spiders see all the time.

``When the game is tight and we need big plays, it seems like he's a fish in water at that moment,'' Gonzalvez said. ``Everyone else is so nervous, it's crunch time, 2 minutes left, we're down one, up one, and that's when he's the most calm and wants the ball the most.''

Last Saturday, the Spiders were getting all they could handle from George Washington, trailing until Anderson made a 15-foot jumper with 1:22 remaining. In a game that was close throughout, he scored or assisted on 12 of Richmond's 16 second-half field goals.

``Kevin Anderson is the best basketball player in the world,'' Colonial coach Karl Hobbs deadpanned after the game, noting that he was being sarcastic, but only marginally.

``The last 8 minutes of the game, it was just Anderson making plays,'' Hobbs said.

Anderson routinely deflects credit for his late-game exploits, crediting the team's defensive work for creating easy scoring chances, and leaders like Gonzalvez and Ryan Butler, the lone seniors on the team, for what they bring.

``He's always a high energy, high spirit kind of guy,'' Anderson said of Gonzalvez, the No. 2 scorer. ``Most of the time he rallies our comebacks because of his defense and leadership.''

Gonzalvez said that way of thinking is what makes Anderson so special.

``I don't think he wants to be a guy who gets the praise or is in the spotlight, but at the end of the game, he wants to be the guy to take over the game,'' he said.

``That's all we care about.''

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