Mark Anderson comes from a successful basketball family. His cousin, Carl Edwards, currently plays professionally overseas. The 6'8, 215 pound wing forward from Dayton, Ohio is also the nephew of Roth High School and Kentucky/USC player Dwight Anderson. Uncle Dwight, who also played in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, was Dayton's first McDonalds All-American.
Coach Price played against Uncle Dwight in his younger days and says Mark compares favorably with his Uncle. Price said, "Dwight is the best basketball player ever to come out of Dayton. Mark is getting close to Dwight. I had a chance to play against Dwight and Mark has those capabilities."
As a freshman at National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Sinclair Community College in Dayton, he led the nation in scoring with an average if 25.8 points per game. He also was Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) leader in rebounding pulling down 9.3 rebounds per game. He averaged 2.5 steals and 3 blocks per game. Anderson shot 56% from the field, over 48% from behind the arc (top 10 in the nation), and 70% from the free throw line. Per Price, Anderson reached double figures in all but one game.
Price said Anderson is actually better than those numbers suggest. "He is completely unselfish; sometimes too unselfish for me. I mean, he led the nation in scoring and only took 19 shots a game." One of Price's goals for Anderson is to get him more involved in the offense. Price said, "Mark hardly ever takes a bad shot. He needs to take more of a leadership role on the scoring end. It is funny to say that given that he led the nation in scoring."
These numbers not only earned Anderson the OCCAC player of the year award (and first team All-OCCAC), but also got him named NJCAA second team Division II All-American. "He was player of the year as a frosh. It has been a long time since that happened in our league," said Price. "This year, he will be preseason All-American."
Last season, Anderson led Sinclair to the OCCAC regular season title and a 24-6 record. Anderson had success in high school for Dayton Dunbar. He was teammates with Norris Cole (Cleveland State), Daequan Cook (Ohio State/Miami Heat) and Aaron Pogue (Junior College/Cleveland State). The four had won a state title for Dunbar Coach Pete Pullen. Price said, "Dunbar coach Pete Pullen has a great program."
Playing with all these stars at Dunbar led to Anderson being a little overshadowed. But at Sinclair, he was giving the keys to come into his own. "Even though he is the tallest player on the team, I saw potential in him and we moved him to play exclusively at the 3. He is a great ball handler and a good passer."
Price believes the best is yet to come from Anderson. Price added, "There is still so much left in the tank." Price believes Anderson will be one of the top 5 junior college players in the country regardless of division. However, Miami will make him even better. "(Miami) will take Mark farther than I ever could. I am just one man with seventeen players. At Miami there are three coaches for every player."
Almost every school in the nation has shown some interest in Anderson. Price said, "I can count on one hand the number of schools that have not recruited Mark." He even recalls the late Wake Forest Head Coach Skip Prosser attending games at Dunbar while Anderson was in high school. Anderson told RedHawk Insider last month that Cleveland State, West Virginia, Marshall, Ohio, and Kentucky were recruiting him. Price said that Michigan and Oklahoma were making a strong play for Anderson as well.
Price explained what put Miami over the top for Anderson. "Coaches Coles, Henderson, and Pedon, they're good people," said Price. "I've been friends with them before I had a top recruit. If I had a son in Mark's position, I would hope he would choose Miami, because of them. Miami has a great program."
Anderson previously told RedHawk Insider that he favored Miami because of "the coaches and the tradition of the school." Specifically about the coaches, Anderson said, "They seem like really cool guys. Most coaches try to sell you a dream, but they have been honest with me. Coaches (Ryan) Pedon and (associate head coach Jermaine) Henderson really seem to care about players away from basketball." Anderson added, "I would feel comfortable at Miami." He also appreciated seeing the Miami coaches at his open gym sessions.
Anderson is also good friends with current Miami senior guard Kenny Hayes. Hayes is also a Dayton product who earned second team NJCAA All-American honors for Division II Cincinnati State in 2007. Anderson said, "I have watched him for years and saw him get better. He does not play anything like he did in high school."
Anderson said he wanted to pick a school that would be close to his Dayton home, have good academics, high athletic standards, and be a good basketball program. He had that at Sinclair (per Price it is the top rated junior college academically in the eastern United States) and will have that at Miami.
On a personal level, Anderson described himself as a "good guy" and a "people person" who is laid back and easy to get along with. He also said he has a funny bone. "I am fun to be around. Real goofy and like to joke around a lot."
Coach Price was very high on Anderson on a personal level as well. "In my 18 years of coaching at the college level, he is one of the top five individuals as being a person," said Price. "He takes criticism well, never talks back, and is one of the most coachable kids."
Anderson is a great citizen off the court as well. The day after his commitment with Miami, he was helping Coach Price at a MDA Telethon in Dayton. Price said, "I never have to worry about him doing bad things. His family did a good job with him. He is one of the reasons I enjoy going to practice."
Price said Miami fans should get to the Sinclair home game on November 15th against Mott C.C. from Michigan. Price said, "Mott is the defending national champions. Both schools will be top 20 in the nation. It will be a premier game to watch."