Big 12 Correspondent
James Anderson is a “do-it-all” kind of guy. He can score almost anywhere on the court, pass like Nash and is loyal to his teammates and his program. A few months ago, however, he was loyal to something else - his country.
Anderson was a member of the USA basketball team last summer. From Colorado Springs to Belgrade, Serbia, he competed along side some of the best collegiate athletes from across the nation. He was a key ingredient for success as he helped the team to a 6-1 record and a bronze medal at the World University Games in July.
“That was a great opportunity to play with some of the best athletes in the nation and around the world,” Anderson said.
Along side Anderson on the 12-man squad were some of the nation’s top athletes, including the Big 12’s Craig Brackins from Iowa State. Anderson averaged more than seven points in just under 12 minutes per game. He scored a game-high 14 points in a win over South Korea.
"I got to compete against some other guys from different conferences,” Anderson said. “It felt good, just knowing that I had an opportunity to do something special and be a part of something special. It was just a great experience."
As a junior at Oklahoma State, Anderson is turning in a record season. The Preseason All-Big 12 selection tops the league in scoring, averaging 21.6 points per game entering the third week of conference play.
He also ranks in the top ten in the league in field goal percentage (.454), three-point field goals made (2.06), free throw percentage (.813) and minutes played (33.53). He is also one of five Big 12 players on the 2009-10 John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-30 Watch List, an award given to the outstanding collegiate basketball Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
For three years, the Cowboys have looked to “Big Game James” for his abilities and leadership. Last season he led the Cowboys to a Big 12 Championship Semifinal appearance and their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2005. He garnered All-Big 12 Second Team and Academic All-Big 12 First Team for his sophomore performances on and off the court.
“I just work hard in practice and try to make everyone else around me better,” Anderson said.
His hard work isn’t going unnoticed either. In the Cowboys’ Big 12 opener against Texas Tech, Anderson scored a game high-28 points. It wasn’t that statistic that wowed the fan. He scored 25 of those in the first half, including 21 of the team’s first 27 points and sparking a 29-1 run to give OSU the lead.
"God, he’s good,” said Red Raiders Head Coach Pat Knight of Anderson’s performance. "To me, he’s an NBA player. I don’t want to put pressure on the kid. It’s unfair to him. But the kid can flat-out play.”
Whether he’s dazzling fans on his home court of Gallagher-Iba Arena or showing off his skills around the world, one thing is for certain - “Big-Game James” is a force to be reckoned with.