During a home game against Fayette Academy on Jan. 28, there was a large group of visiting students in the TRA gym. For much of the game, the students chanted “overrated” at TRA 6-6 guard Alex Anderson. It didn’t seem to bother him as he scored 26 points in a 63-60 Rebel win.
He gets that kind of attention on a regular basis because he’s the best player in Rosemark’s league, is averaging 23 points per game and plays with a swagger. Last week more attention came his way when he was named a DII-A Mr. Basketball finalist.
Anderson came to Rosemark with his coach/father Cedric and brother Andrew two seasons ago and the program got much better really quickly. The team made it all the way to the state title game in Nashville last season.
I sat down with him last week to ask him about those things and his older brothers, C.J., Aaron and Andrew, all of whom are also very talented basketball players.
Q: What does it mean to you to be named a Mr. Basketball finalist?
A: It means a lot. It’s a lesson from God, to be honest. I watched my brothers do it. It’s kind of amazing that I’m here now. It really doesn’t feel real. It lets me know that the hard work is paying off now, but it’s still not done yet.
Q: What’s it like having your father as head coach?
A: It’s really fun. He pushes me on the court and at the house. We talk about the game all the time. It’s always about basketball.
Q: Tell me about your brothers. What kind if influence have they had on you?
A: Andrew, he has a silent killer kind of mentality. He’s good on both ends of the floor. I take that from him. Aaron, he’s always a dog. He doesn’t care want anybody says or how anybody feels. He’s always going to go for the kill. I get that from him. C.J., he has an outstanding IQ, he’s a good floor general and his teammates love him. He always encourages me. Really, they have all helped me.
Q: If you had a one-on-one tournament with those guys, who would come out on top?
A: C.J. always comes out on top. Basically it would be in order from oldest to youngest.
Q: I’ve heard opposing fans chant “overrated” at you during games. Why do you think they do that?
A: Some of them do it to get in my head and some of them actually believe it, like I’m not as good as people say. People get at me on Snapchat. I really don’t get into it. I just keep playing.
Q: What was it like coming to a basically all-white school? Were you accepted immediately?
A: It was really tough at first. Me, personally, I didn’t think that I belonged. Then everybody was super nice and it’s just like a big family over here. It’s actually fun. I enjoy coming here every day. There’s not a day I don’t want to be at this school because I like it so much.
Q: What’s the D-II competition like compared to what you thought it would be?
A: It really caught me off guard because I thought, “I’m about to come over and do this and that.” It’s really not easy. You can’t take any games for granted. Everybody’s so smart and the competition level is really high. People don’t realize that. I think they take it for granted.
Q: Do you model your game after a particular player?
A: I really like Bradley Beal and Ja Morant, how he pushes the ball. As I look at who I play like, I look at Kyle Anderson, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. The call him slow-mo. I ain’t that fast, but I’m going to get to the rack some way.
Q: What’s a food you cannot stand?
A: I’m really not a fan of green peas.
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: Any seafood. I really like seafood.
Q: I know you hit the 1,000-point mark for your career earlier this season. What did that mean to you?
A: That was pretty good, another good God-blessing moment for me. It didn’t feel real until everybody started clapping for me. For me, honestly, it’s never enough. I’m never satisfied. Now it’s time to get to 2,000.
Q: Are you still committed to South Alabama?
Q: What’s the recruiting process been like for you?
A: It’s just life, to be honest, talking to people. Sometimes you have to be honest and say no, but you don’t want to make people mad. Sometimes they talk to my dad and don’t talk to me.
Q: Who’s the funniest or goofiest player on the team?
A: It really depends on the situation. I would say I’m the funniest, but if had to say somebody else I would go with Sam Cannon. He’s a freshman. He is the light of the team, non-stop energy.
Q: What’s the last movie you saw?
A: “Bad Boys.”
Q: If you could have any car, what would it be?
A: I don’t know. I’d probably give it to my mom.
Q: Let’s play a little word association. Fayette Academy?
A: Big rivalry. Probably one of the greatest student sections.
A: I love it to death. God has really blessed me with it.
Q: LeBron James?
A: One of the greatest basketball player of all time. Great IQ and great teammate, on and off the court.
Q: Kobe Bryant?
A: Rest in peace to him. Always hard-working, non-stop. Led the way for a ton of basketball players.
A: Can’t wait to get there again.
Q: What’s a word of phrase your dad says a lot when he’s coaching?
A: Too cool.
Q: What does he mean by that?
A: You’re trying to be laid back and worrying what’s going on on the sideline.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I see myself in the NBA, one of the top players. Being an example on and off the court and setting an example for kids.
Q: How far do you think this team can go this year?
A: I think we can go all the way to the last game. Whatever it takes, I think we can win it all.