The former Titan basketball player's career ended abruptly during his freshman year in 2000. While visiting his parents at their Los Angeles home, he was shot three times in a mistaken drive-by shooting. As a result of the shooting, Anderson was paralyzed from the chest down.
ABC surprised the Anderson family with its decision to feature their home on the hit television series last Saturday.
"This certainly could have not come to a more deserving person or more of a deserving family," President Milton A. Gordon said in a speech commemorating Anderson.
After the accident, Anderson moved back into his parents' house.
"He was living in a house that was built in 1911," the Rev. Karl Washington said, a relative of Anderson. "There was just no way for him to get around."
Due to the narrow doorways in the family's home, Anderson was confined to the front portion of the house, Washington said.
The family recently planned on having the home renovated to suit Anderson's needs, but the contractor hired for the job allegedly left with the family's money. Not long after, the family submitted their story to ABC.
"There are thousands of applicants a week," Trava Herra, a producer ofthe show, said. "ABC makes the final decision on who is picked for the show."
Most of the family missed the ceremony because the Andersons were whisked away on a week vacation to the Bahamas after the surprise announcement.
"His mom and dad, his fiance and his sister [went on the trip]," said Demetriss Anderson, Rodney's sister. "I had to stay back for [the ceremony]."
During the ceremony, images of Anderson's childhood and youth were displayed in the background.
After speeches from President Gordon, family members and other CSUF staff, Anderson's jersey was added to the collection of retired Fullerton greats, such as Cedric Ceballos, Bruce Bowen and Leon Wood.
This season, Fullerton transfer forward Jamaal Brown wore the No. 4 jersey, but in honor of Anderson, he will now wear a different number.
"I have my own personal meaning for wearing No. 4, but I know Rodney and how much it meant to him," Brown said. "I will wear No. 32 now. I'm just glad everyone is here to support Rodney."
The cast of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is in the process of building the Anderson's new home. While not much is being said about the project until it's completed on Saturday, family members did reveal that the old house was completely torn down.
"The only secret I'll give you is that everything is voice activated," Demetriss Anderson said. "There's no comparison between the old and new houses. Rodney's house was created by expert technicians especially for him."
Demetriss credits Cal State Fullerton for Rodney's success.
"We couldn't have done it without Cal State Fullerton, especially the coach that taught him everything – [from] how to stay in school to survival skills – [and] Cal State Fullerton students as a whole — the cards, the letters. You guys have been amazing," Demetriss said. "You guys really are our guardian angels."