Justin Anderson is a 6-foot-6 junior who plays guard and occasionally forward for the University of Virginia.
The guard has been a tremendous part of Virginia’s success this season. The Cavaliers finished 29-3 and although they lost in the ACC Tournament, they are one of the favorites in the NCAA Tournament.
Here else is what you need to know about Anderson:
1. Anderson Comes From a Basketball Family
Anderson’s older brother, Edward III, played basketball at the University of Mary Washington. Anderson has been a mentor and trainer for Anderson Athletics, and has served as a guest speaker at local youth basketball camps.
2. Anderson Was a High School Standout in the D.C. Area
Anderson attended Montrose Christian where he was a scholar-athlete. His list of accomplishments include:
2012 Gatorade Maryland Boys Basketball Player of the Year
Montrose Christian finished the 2010-11 season by winning the ESPN National High School Invitational and he averaged 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the team’s three victories in the tournament.
Earned first-team Washington Post All-Metropolitan honors for 2011-12
Named Gazette.Net’s 2012 Player of the Year and to the All-Gazette.Net Boys Basketball Team
Top 100 Recruit by ESPN and Rivals.com
Scored 17 points for the Capital All-Stars in the Capital Classic
Member of the United States Junior National Team that won a gold medal in Germany in the summer of 2010
Second-team ESPN High School Underclass All-American as a junior in 2010-11
3. The Guard is VITAL to Virginia’s On-court Success
The most important and scary Anderson related statistic: in 2015 when the guard was healthy, Virginia was ranked among the nation’s top five in offensive and defensive efficiency. Without him, they fell more than 20 places.
Although the Cavaliers went 7-1 without Anderson, there overall team play noticeably suffered. They struggled to teams like NC State and Wake Forest. Only the Wolfpack made the NCAA Tournament — as an No. 8 seed and they are in Virginia’s region.
4. Anderson Has Missed Time Due to Unlucky Circumstances
The injury that kept Anderson out for those eight games? A fluke finger injury and an emergency appendectomy.
Teammate Malcolm Brogdom knows that Anderson should be tournament ready:
I think everybody knows he’s a huge piece to our puzzle, getting him back to full health, but I think as his confidence grows, the team will get better and better. We’ll start playing better and better. I think his confidence is growing every day in his hand and his ability to keep doing what he was doing before he was injured. You know, that’s a process, coming back from an injury. And I think he’s doing very well.
5. Despite That, Anderson Had an Excellent Junior Season
After averaging just over seven points in his first two seasons at Virginia, Anderson is putting it all together in 2014-15 – or he was until he got hurt. He averaged 13.4 points-per-game on 48% shooting from the floor, which is 6% higher than when he shot 42% from the floor in his freshman season.
He also averaged 29.4 minutes-per-game (highest since 24 in his freshman season). He also improved his rebounding rate, free-throw percentage and defensive abilities to become one of the best all-around players in the ACC.
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