Shadle Park’s Chris Anderson is a marked man.
The first weekend of the boys basketball season, Anderson averaged 29 points and more than 10 rebounds a game.
After his fast start, with the Highlanders considered a Greater Spokane League title contender, opposing teams will emphasize stopping him.
“Coach (Darcy Weisner) told me teams will concentrate on me defensively,” said the 6-foot-4 Anderson. “What we assume is that Nate (Dunham) and I will get stuck with the hardest two defenders.”
Anderson was one of three Shadle basketball players, including point guard Dunham and Oliver Cook, who last year averaged between 11.4 and 12.6 points per game. He was also an honorable mention All-GSL player.
When Cook moved away, the scoring load fell more on the two seasoned returnees. It was a challenge Anderson accepted.
“I wasn’t where I wanted to be in basketball,” said Anderson. “I wanted to be and thought I could be a better player.”
Last summer he was part of a team that played eight games in a Basketball Congress International tournament in Las Vegas.
“We weren’t very successful, but the coaches wanted us to all go down and play the best in the nation,” he said. “It was just a good experience.”
He also had a hint of what he could do, averaging 17 or 18 points per game.
As a result, Anderson chose not to play football, but lifted weights and concentrated on basketball instead.
It resulted in a brilliant start to the season in which his slashing moves to the basket and ability to rebound produced huge numbers.
“I don’t think West Valley touched me on a box-out once,” said Anderson of a 30-point, 11-rebound start.
Since that first weekend, Anderson’s numbers have returned to normal. Richland, favored in the Big Nine, shut him down during a six-point overtime win.
But in four more games, including three GSL counters, he’s averaged 14 points per game.
“I think I should be getting 15 to 20 points a game for us to be successful,” said Anderson. “The problem with me getting 30 is that everyone else is standing around watching.”
Dunham has taken up where he left off with a 14.3 points average.
Ben Pate and Steve Meyers have provided added punch.
“No one knows anything about them,” said Anderson. “They can hit shots anytime they touch the ball.”
The Highlanders, who return to action against Gonzaga Prep Jan. 3, are tied for second in league with a 2-1 record and are 5-2 overall.
Anderson credits his success to older brother, by two years, Eric, who was a three-sport athlete at Shadle and the school’s student body president. An Eastern Washington University student, he is currently coaching Shadle’s C-squad team.
“I pretty much owe everything to my brother,” said Chris. “He kinda took me on his shoulders and made me better.”
The family lived in Washington, D.C., until divorce brought them to Spokane when the two were in elementary school.
Chris played AAU basketball but didn’t have a particularly successful experience.
“I didn’t even want to play basketball. I was fed up with the whole sport,” he said. “I had to be convinced by my mom, brother and coaches to turn out.”
It really wasn’t until this summer, he said, that he became serious about basketball.
Early returns have been favorable.
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