A Grand Finale For Anderson?

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State fans serenaded James Anderson with chants of "One more year," throughout Saturday's game. The 6-6 junior is a frontrunner for Big 12 Conference Player of the Year honors but is expected to bypass his senior season to enter the NBA Draft. Thus, his 25-point performance in Oklahoma State's 74-55 victory over Nebraska on Saturday was likely his last at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

"I wouldn't blame the fans either. I'd want to watch him play too, if I wasn't coaching against him," Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said after the game.

"He's the best player in the league. He needs to do what is best for him. Whatever he decides, I'd be the first to congratulate him. If he wants to come back, then that's what he needs to do, and if he needs to leave, there's no question about him being able to play (in the NBA). It's just a matter of what he wants to do," said Sadler.

Oklahoma State teammate Matt Pilgrim says the Cowboys would like for the Big 12's leading scorer to return for his senior season but they understand that it's unlikely he will be playing in Stillwater next season.

"We'd love to have him back but he's got to do what he's got to do … I mean he put in the work this season, he needs to get awarded for it," Pilgrim said.

Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said he heard the Cowboy fans during the game.

"I was chanting it too. I joined it. I might have been the one starting it," Ford said with a laugh. "It's great. We'll address all of that at the end of the season."

Both of Anderson's parents – his mom from Junction City, Ark., and his dad from California – were in attendance Saturday for the Cowboys' regular season finale.

Ford said it's easy to become an Anderson fan. Even though he is the face of the Cowboy basketball program, he promotes team chemistry with how he plays on the court and what he does off the court. His teammates have no animosity toward him.

"James doesn't care. He doesn't want it. He wants to help the team, if that means he needs to go out and get whatever he needs to scoring-wise, he'll go do it. If we didn't need him to score 30 he'd be content to go out and get 15. He really would. That's just him … and he helps sell that job," Ford said.

"They totally understand. It's something we've tried to promote as well," Ford continued. "We know the attention he gets but we make no bones about it. We tell guys, go screen for James Anderson. Go get him shots because you're fortunate because you can play off him. He gets so much attention, enjoy the opportunity to play off a great player. They all understand.

"It's not like that all the time because not everybody is like James Anderson. There are extremely few players with his ability and his reputation and what he's accomplished that have his attitude, and his personality. You guys know it but even being around him every day is remarkable, (just) the type of young man he is. It's just too good to be true at times, it really is."

Ford was asked if he is disappointed that Anderson still does not be receiving recognition nationally.

"I don't know about frustrated because he does not care. I saw a top-10 list (for national player of the year) and he's not on it. I was watching (ESPN's)GameDay earlier today and somebody finally brought his name up, and talked about him.

"It's disappointing (to me) that if they don't know any more about basketball, and they shouldn't be allowed to do it, if they don't mention his name. That's disappointing. If you're not mentioning his name in 10 guys, then you might want to cover football. Really!"


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