March 16, 2007
Chicago – Seeing UNLV and Georgia Tech flash on the TV screen Sunday sent Kenny Anderson on a stroll down memory lane.
“I was watching, because I was thinking about going to see them since I wasn’t able to make it to the ACC Tournament,” the former all-American recalled. “Boom! I saw that on ESPN – Georgia Tech and UNLV. It brought back all the memories of our Final Four.”
Anderson was the freshman member of “Lethal Weapon 3,” teaming with junior Dennis Scott and senior Brian Oliver to form one of the most formidable triumvirates in the history of college basketball. Each member of the trio averaged over 20 points with Scott leading the way with nearly 28 per game.
A slick point guard from Queens, Anderson became the catalyst in Tech’s high-octane offense. The team reeled off seven victories in their last nine regular season games and were in full-stride when then swept three games in the ACC Tournament for the school’s second league title.
By the time they reached the Final Four in Denver, the Jackets had knocked off nine ranked team over the course of the season, but Anderson felt Georgia Tech wasn’t getting the respect they deserved heading into the national semi-final against second-ranked UNLV.
“Everyone was talking about how bad we were going to get blown out,” he remembered. “Really, it was like that the whole tournament. People would say that it was just Dennis Scott, Brian Oliver and me. They would say that we were just a perimeter team. It was like that the entire tournament, so I do think we played with a chip on our shoulder.”
Anderson and his teammates didn’t back down, and they controlled the first half and led by seven points heading into the locker room. However, the Running Rebels rallied in the second half to overtake Tech and win 80-71.
“UNLV was loaded with guys like Stacey Augmon and Larry Johnson,” said Anderson. “I think they had five NBA players on that team. We really competed with them, but we ran out of gas. I got in foul trouble, and they had a lot of firepower. It was a well-played game. I’m not into moral victories, but we did play well. We just didn’t win.
“It was a great experience,” he continued. “I was 18 years old, so the whole ride was awesome. Playing as a freshman in the middle of March Madness with all the hoopla and fanfare was an incredible experience. It wasn’t just the Final Four, it was everything leading up to that. It was one the best times of my life playing basketball.”
Anderson went on be the second overall pick of the 1991 NBA draft and enjoyed a 14-year career in the professional ranks. Now retired for almost two years, he lives in Fort Lauderdale and is looking to get involved in coaching.
“I’ve always dreamed about being an assistant coach on the college level,” he said. “I want to give back and teach kids how to play the game.”
He’s been doing just that with Tech’s current freshman point guard, Javaris Crittenton.
“I’m a real big fan and supporter of Javaris,” Anderson said. “I talk to him and give him some advice. I try to check on him periodically. I like watching him play. He’s physically developed and a big, strong point guard as a freshman. I wasn’t that physically developed as a freshman. I mostly used my quickness and ball-handling skills. Javaris does a lot of nice things, and I like watching him play. He’s explosive and can do some great things at Georgia Tech.”