Mark Anderson - Verballed To Miami...But Never Arrived. Tremendous Player


"Anderson will be one of the top 5 junior college players in the country regardless of division. However, Miami will make him even better. “(Miami) will take Mark farther than I ever could. I am just one man with seventeen players. At Miami there are three coaches for every player.” Almost every school in the nation has shown some interest in Anderson. Price said, “I can count on one hand the number of schools that have not recruited Mark.”

"Anderson previously told RedHawk Insider that he favored Miami because of “the coaches and the tradition of the school.” Specifically about the coaches, Anderson said, “They seem like really cool guys. Most coaches try to sell you a dream, but they have been honest with me. Coaches (Ryan) Pedon and (associate head coach Jermaine) Henderson really seem to care about players away from basketball.” Anderson added, “I would feel comfortable at Miami.”

Mark Anderson was a 6-8 forward who graduated from Dunbar in 2006. He wanted to play for Miami, but didn’t have the grades to qualify.

Anderson said he didn’t earn enough credits to earn his Sinclair degree in time to complete his transfer to Miami for basketball eligibility.

By Tom Archdeacon
Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Caught between the tales of two other well-known Dayton basketball players — one blood, one hoops brethren — he has joined the Sinclair Community College basketball team to forge a path of his own.

Or, as Mark Anderson put it, “I just want to get myself back on the map.”

And as the Tartans host Miami Middletown in their home opener tonight at 7:30 p.m., it’s evident his MapQuest moments have begun.

“With everybody that’s calling, my cell phone’s out of juice every afternoon by 4,” said Sinclair coach Jeff Price with only mild exaggeration.

“We already had Wyoming fly in to see Mark. St. Bonaventure has come down and Saint Louis and Wright State, too. Kentucky called, and so has Marshall. And then there’s all the Division II schools.”

When basketball season began last year, the 6-foot-7 Anderson was, quite arguably, the best college prospect not playing for a team. That is unless you count his regular games at the Downtown YMCA and in Kettering.

"Those guys kept asking me, ‘What are you doing here?’ " Anderson admitted. "They said, ‘You don’t belong here. You belong in college.’ "

After all, he and his Dunbar High School brethren Daequan Cook, along with center Aaron Pogue, had led the Wolverines to the 2006 state title.

But while Cook went on to a season of glory with Ohio State — and now has joined the Miami Heat as an NBA first-round draft pick — Anderson ended up taking some classes at Wright State and playing nothing but recreation league ball.

“Seton Hall had offered me a scholarship, so did Wright State, but, sad to say, both of their coaches lost their jobs and that kind of left me unsure of what to do,” Anderson said.

Price said Anderson was a NCAA nonqualifier, so junior college would have been a good option. The Sinclair coach even held a scholarship open all last season, should Anderson decide to take him up on his long-standing offer to join the Tartans.

“I never saw myself being at a junior college program. I figured I was a major D-I player and that’s all I considered,” Anderson admitted. "And that was a big mistake on my part.

“My grandmother, my mom, my uncles and cousins, they all pushed me every day to do something positive with my talent. They just didn’t want to see me wasting it. … They know what that’s like.”

Uncle Dwight

Dwight Anderson — Mark’s uncle, his mom’s brother — may well be the most talented and troubled basketball player ever to call Dayton home.<

A “Parade” All-American who helped Roth High to a state title three decades ago, he played college basketball at Kentucky and Southern California and eventually bounced through five NBA teams before alcohol and drugs permanently derailed his life.

“I haven’t seen Dwight since I was about 16,” the 19-year-old Anderson said. "I was on my way to my Granny’s one day, and I’d been thinking about him and the next thing I know, I see this guy on a bike about two blocks away. It was Uncle Dwight, and we talked about 15 minutes.

"But since then, my mom and Granny and I have driven around looking or him, but we never found him.

"People still ask about him and want to know if he’s all right. Some people tell me they’ve seen him and gave him a couple of dollars, something to eat, maybe a ride, even a pair of shoes.

"I heard how some guys picked him up off the street, and he didn’t have a pair of shoes to play in. They said, ‘C’mon all you got to do is play, we’ll give you shoes.’ They said he hit 60 in a game wearing jeans, a sweater and a dirty hat.

“So he still has some game.”

That’s amazing in itself considering what he’s put himself through. Dwight and I talked some years back and he explained his downfall, which he described as “a long slide toward suicide.”

He admitted he had sold most of his basketball awards on the street so he had money for alcohol and drugs:

“Nothing could touch that high I could get on the court. Just to be fired up, coming down the floor, fluid, free — magic just happened. There was nothing like it. Not drugs, not alcohol … not even sex. And when it was gone, I needed a substitute. I started thinking 'I can’t play no more. Nobody wants me. So I might as well do what I’m good at. I’ll drink and I’ll use. … I slept in abandoned houses, old factories, in a corner, in the alley. When you’ve been up 13, 14, maybe 16 or 18 days, you’re gonna sleep whenever you drop.”

While Dwight got rid of most of his basketball past, he left one thing for Mark — that old hoop he’d nailed to a tree in the back yard of his mom’s home when she lived on Westwood.

“The court was just sand, gravel and rocks, but that’s where I started,” Mark said. “I always wanted to be good, so I’d go out there all the time.”

He said he remembers Dwight stopping by a couple of times and giving him a few pointers. That basketball bond is one he still holds with some reverence:

“He’s my blood, and I love him. That’s why one day I hope we can reconnect. The last time I saw him, he told me to make the best of my situation. I want him to see it’s happening.”

Fate intervenes

And yet it almost ended before it really got started.

This summer, he played in the same open gym session at Sinclair that Pogue and his cousin, Dorian Hoover, did. Afterward, those two drove to a fast-food restaurant on Salem Avenue and someone opened fire on their car. Pogue was shot in the chest, Hoover in the foot, but both managed to run to safety.

“I had started to leave with them, but then at the last minute I changed my mind and rode with my cousin, Travis,” Anderson said. “I would have been in the back seat if I was with them and the back window got shot out. For me, it probably would have been a fatal outcome. I was mind-boggled when I heard what happened, and now I think God kept me safe so good things could happen.”

And they finally may be, thanks in part to Price.

“We recruited him his senior year in high school even though we figured someone big-time would get him,” the Tartans’ fifth-year coach said. “But I kept talking to his grandmother and mother and persistence can overcome resistance.”

Playing small forward for the Tartans, Anderson opened the season with 29 points, six rebounds, two blocked shots and two assists in Sinclair’s 103-71 season-opening victory at Southern State in Hillsboro last week.

“When I saw Daequan make it, it gave me confidence I can, too,” Anderson said. “And coach Price is letting me play my game without some of the limits that were on me in high school. I was in the shadows there, and he’s letting me step out of them and just be me.”

And because of it, Mark Anderson is back on the map.

Great link below. Worth the read.

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What could have been. He was special. His HS team was also very special.