After the campus visit, Miami just "felt right" to him. By Sunday night, Mark Anderson had made up his mind and decided it was time to commit to Miami. The 6'8, 215 pound wing forward from Dayton, Ohio said he went on an unofficial visit Thursday night for the Vanderbilt-Miami football game at Yager Stadium. After the visit, he talked with his mother and grandmother and they all came to an agreement that Miami was the best situation for him.
Once the decision was made late Sunday night, he could not wait until morning to break the news. Anderson said, "I called coach (Jermaine) Henderson around 11:00pm to tell him I committed. And then I talked to Coach Pedon."
Anderson was very impressed with Miami on his visit. "When I got there I met with the coaches and Kenny Hayes. They showed me around campus and the student recreation center."
Next stop was the Gross Center. Anderson said, "I then was taken to the (Gross Center) and shown the weight room. I have never seen a weight room with two floors before. The equipment, facilities, everything was top notch. There are not many places in the country with that type of stuff."
Anderson was also introduced to a few of the numerous former Miami's greats who have or are playing professional basketball including Devin Davis and NBA standouts Ron Harper and Ira Newble. "I met Devin Davis and learned a lot about him. He was a great player," said Anderson. "And then I met the great Ron Harper. I talked with him for like twenty minutes at the football game and again the following Sunday. He is one of the best players even from Dayton. I never thought I could talk to a former pro."
At the football game, he sat with an assistant coach from his school, Sinclair Community College in Dayton, and Miami assistant Coach Ryan Pedon.
Anderson got a chance to walk around on the football field before the game. Anderson said, "I have been to Ohio State football games and never got to walk on the field. It was fun."
Anderson said he chose Miami because it was close to home, the top notch education, and "the coaches were truthful on all the stuff they were telling me." Anderson added, "Miami is a good place to have a degree from. I am told that a Miami degree carries some weight."
Anderson also said Miami is a place that will make him the "primetime player" and "go to guy." Anderson was told by the coaches that he will be the focal point of the offense. "They are going to just let me play and operate on the wing and then run," said Anderson.
Another major factor in his decision was the coaching staff. "I like the coaches from the head coach all the way down," said Anderson. "I have a lot of respect for Coach Coles."
Previously, Anderson explained he was favoring Miami because of "the coaches and the tradition of the school," 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 also has seen how Miami could make him a better player. He is good friends with 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. He just keeps getting better and better."
On his visit, Anderson got to meet the entire Miami basketball team and felt like he belonged. Anderson said, "I got a chance to talk to everybody. They all seemed like cool people to be around; cool and goofy, like me." Anderson felt all the players were very approachable and down to earth people.
As a freshman at National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Sinclair, 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 Sinclair Head Coach Jeff Price, Anderson reached double figures in all but one game.
Last year as a freshman at Sinclair, Anderson was named the OCCAC player of the year award (and first team All-OCCAC). He also was named a NJCAA second team Division II All-American.
Anderson believes he would have made first team All-American had his team qualified for nationals. Anderson said, "Making All-American is hard to do without making nationals. If we would have qualified, I think I could have been first team and maybe national player of the year."
Anderson compares his style of play to NBA star Rudy Gay. Although listed by some publications as a power forward, he believes that is not his ideal position. Anderson said, "I am a legit 3 and can play the 2 or the 1 even. I am very athletic and can pretty much do everything well." Right now, he is working out often with his cousin Carl Edwards, a professional player overseas, and wants to improve his shooting ability even more.
Anderson says he intends to graduate with an associate's degree in May 2009. He currently has a 2.7 G.P.A., but believes he will graduate with a 3.0. He still needs to complete 42 credit hours to graduate and is taking two classes this summer.
Currently, his major at Sinclair is physical education and he wants to stay in that field. "Hopefully when I get to Miami (Ohio), I can do something in the sports management field."
Coach Price told RedHawk Insider that almost every team in the nation was interested in Anderson. Anderson said the list of schools he considered besides Miami were Cleveland State, West Virginia, Marshall, Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, Michigan, and Kentucky. Despite the impressive list of suitors, Anderson knew Miami was the best fit for him so he committed early because he "did not want it on his mind during the season."
After learning of his committed, one MAC school expressed its disappointment. "Ohio head coach (John) Groce called me and everything. I talked to him, but Coach Groce said he was disappointed."
Anderson said he will make an official visit with Miami this fall and attend some of Miami's practices.