When he announced that he was going to test the waters, it was clear that Anderson wanted to find out that he was ready to make the jump. That is apparently what he heard from a series of workouts. He was seen by Orlando, Toronto, Boston, Indiana, Cleveland and Detroit, and at a mass workout conducted by Golden State. He said, "They're telling me, Ryan you're an NBA player. I feel like I'm ready and I should make that jump."
It wasn't easy to do. Anderson went back and forth, and indicated that the hiring of Mike Montgomery made the decision harder. Anderson also indicated that he would really miss his friends on the team. But, this was a basketball decision: "I realized if I went back to Cal I would be going back because it would be something that is comfortable and something that I know I would be right back in the system there. I would be with all my buddies."
Anderson did not get the first round guarantee that he was hoping for, and recognized that he could drop into the second round. He indicated that he was comfortable with that scenario. He still believes that he will fall somewhere between the 15th and 30th spot in the June 26 draft.
Anderson believes that Cal will be an excellent team next year. He mentioned Harper Kamp, Jamal Boykin, Taylor Harrison and Max Zhang as possibly filling the void up front. He believes that the Cal backcourt will be much improved: "Montgomery is going to know how to control everybody on the team and control everyone's motives on the team and get everybody on the same page."
If he had returned to Cal, Anderson may have found himself playing the role that he was in for much of his freshman season once DeVon Hardin went down with an injury. By default, he ended up at the 5 spot. Mike Montgomery may not have said that would be the case, but it is clear that Cal's new coach believes in putting his five best players on the floor. Up front, that would have been Anderson, Theo Robertson, and either Boykin or Kamp.
Anderson believes that his role in the NBA will be on the perimeter, as a "big guy that can shoot." He has been told that he will be a pick and pop guy in the pros. He certainly would have had those opportunities at Cal, but he also would have been the primary rebounder had he returned. He would have been the tallest player, and may have found himself defending the post at times.
The biggest question marks around Anderson are his strength and quickness. Can he defend on the perimeter? As he himself said, he's not going to become a freak athlete. He can work on his body and his footwork, but his offensive skills are apparent to the NBA people. Those skills mesh with the direction of the league. With the opportunity there, this is as good a time as any for him to make the move. Another year at Cal would probably not improve his draft position. It's not good news for Cal's prospects for 2008-09, but it's the right choice for Anderson and his family.
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