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Vermont’s Grant Anderson

March 7, 2003 Columns No Comments

America East Profile: Vermont’s Grant Anderson

by Phil Kasiecki

Looking at Grant Anderson, one might not immediately get the image of a key Division I basketball player. He has a big body, standing 6’7″ and weighing in at 230 pounds, but on a team that has a stud on the post in Taylor Coppenrath, one might expect Anderson to be a backup or just a complementary player.

Well, a complementary player is a good description, but the three-year starting forward has been a big key to the success of Vermont.

The Catamounts have been forced to redshirt T.J. Sorrentine, the reigning America East Player of the Year, due to a wrist injury suffered in a preseason practice. While Sorrentine is a guard, Anderson has been among those who has needed to contribute more in the absence of their star, and he has done just that.

After ranking tenth in the conference in rebounding last year by hauling down 5.5 per game, he is third in the conference this season in that category, topping the Catamounts with 7.2 per game. As he has handled the ball more, he also hands out nearly 3.4 assists per game, tops in the conference among forwards and on the Catamounts. He even has an assist/turnover ratio unheard of for a combo forward (nearly 1.3), and is also second in the conference in double-doubles with seven. Earlier this season, he recorded the school’s first triple-double in 11 years, as he had 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in an 89-81 win over Northeastern at Patrick Gym.

But perhaps more important is a look beyond the numbers. He doesn’t look like he could score many baskets off the dribble, but he does that, just like he scores points on offensive rebounds or grabbing loose balls in the paint. He uses his strength, as well as his good conditioning – the native of Minnetonka, Minnesota was a good quarterback on his high school football team – to his advantage on the court. In fact, he was voted the top athlete in his high school graduating class and almost signed a football letter of intent to play at his home state school, the University of Minnesota.

One number to note is his winning – he will graduate as part of the class with the most wins ever for a four-year class. Entering the America East Tournament, the Catamounts are 67-48 since his class came to Vermont. Last season, they won a school-record 21 games, and their 18 wins this season is the third-best total all-time.

Anderson is no different off the court. Last year, the Business Administration major earned a spot on the America East Academic Honor Roll for the second time in his career. Just like with the team, Anderson was not alone; the team posted the top grade-point average in America East, with seven of the 12 players earning a spot on the America East Academic Honor Roll.

The Catamounts entered the season as one of the favorites in America East. Anderson was one of four returning starters from last season’s 21-8 team, along with Coppenrath, reigning Player of the Year T.J. Sorrentine and senior guard Andre Anderson (no relation). Sorrentine is redshirting, but the Catamounts have stayed near the top of America East for most of the season. Sophomore guard David Hehn has capably run the show after a nice freshman season, with sophomores Mike Goia and Germain Njila helping out on the perimeter. Juniors Matt Sheftic and Scotty Jones join Anderson and Coppenrath in the frontcourt, the former returning to the team after taking last year off for personal reasons. Coppenrath and Sheftic are the team’s top two scorers, with the former being the odds-on-favorite to be the conference Player of the Year after being named to the NABC All-District I (New England) first team last month.

As experienced as the Catamounts are, they still have a big nucleus to continue building the team around. Anderson is one of just two seniors on this team, and Tom Brennan never misses a Division I prospect in the state of Vermont.

The Catamounts will give teams all they can handle in the America East Tournament as they seek their first NCAA Tournament bid. Grant Anderson will certainly do his part, regardless of what he’s asked to do, and he might do a little better than a casual fan would expect.

Back to the America East Profile index.


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