A year ago at this time, Ryan Anderson was gearing up for his final collegiate season with Arizona. It would be his only season with the Wildcats after transferring from Boston College and having to sit out a year.
Anderson could have a put a lot of pressure on himself last season in Tucson having to produce at a high level in one season not just for his team but also to impress scouts at the next level. But he said he never let that phase him last year. Fast forward to today and he is working out for NBA teams. Most recently with the Phoenix Suns in the same state he has called home for the last two years.
“The say preparation, if you prepare the right way, there is no reason to be nervous,” Anderson said from Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on Thursday. “I think Coach (Sean) Miller and our weight staff really prepared me in my redshirt year to be successful. Once the season came around, I felt confident. I felt no pressure on myself.”
Anderson in his year off mentioned he constantly picked the brain of point guard and former teammate T.J. McConnell who did the same thing after transferring from Duquesne. McConnell had two big seasons after being forced to sit out for a year. A path that Anderson hope to emulate seeing as McConnell just completed his first full season on a NBA roster.
“I leaned on T.J. a lot in my sit out year,” Anderson recalled. “Just because we were in similar boats. He came from a smaller school, I came from a smaller school and we both had aspirations of ending up at a place like this at the highest level.”
“A lot of it is mental when you sit out. It’s tough,” he mentioned. “It was interesting because both of us became leaders of the teams before even playing. His first year he was a captain. I was a captain without even playing and I just think that is a credit to our day-to-day efforts and trying to work hard.”
The 6-9 forward originally from Los Angeles had an all Pac-12 campaign his senior year averaging 15.3 points and 10.1 rebounds becoming the first Arizona player since Jordan Hill in 2008-09 to average a double-double in a season. Anderson understands the formula he needs to make his game attractive to teams at the next level.
“I think my biggest quality is my motor and my ability to rebound,” explained Anderson. “Rebounding is one of the biggest statistics that a lot of teams look at. In the Finals, everyone is talking about rebounds and turnovers and who is doing that. I feel like my ability to rebound and play hard is a skill set that’ll really help me here at the next level.”