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RMU's Anderson Eyes Pro Career

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Karvel Anderson is almost certainly good enough to play professional basketball. But will it be in the NBA? Anderson is no stranger to life as a long-shot, having faced adversity his entire life.

Perhaps “faced” isn’t the right word.

Anderson has, throughout his entire existence, conquered adversity. He has dominated adversity. He has dragged adversity to the woodshed by its neck scruff, with a proverbial shotgun slung over his shoulder.

Here’s a quick refresher, for those not in the know: Born bow-legged and pigeon-toed to a 14-year-old mother and a father whom he never met, Anderson grew up in poverty-stricken Elkhart, Indiana.

Just before Anderson’s freshman year of high school, his mother was incarcerated for cocaine trafficking. Not long after that, Anderson spent “a couple of months” homeless, and would have continued to do so for even longer if his basketball coach hadn’t taken him in.

Despite being a prolific scorer in high school, Anderson’s grades forced him to bounce around several junior colleges before he finally got a shot at Robert Morris, where he played for two years.

During his senior season at RMU, Anderson averaged just under 20 points per game, shooting 56.3 percent from the field, including 46.3 percent from 3-point range. That was good enough to win him the NEC Player of the Year Award as well as a selection as First Team All-NEC and an honorable mention AP All-American.

And now, after all that, Anderson finds himself in a familiar situation: Can he manage to embarrass adversity, just once more, for old times’ sake? Does he have what it takes to make the NBA?

There are a few crucial details which hurt Anderson’s chances. He’s undersized for the NBA at 6’2”and 190 pounds. He did a lot of his damage against lower quality NCAA opponents. He played in a weaker conference on a team that doesn’t get a lot of national attention. His game isn’t as well-rounded as NBA scouts would like.

One thing Anderson has going for him, however, is his NBA caliber shot.

“Karvel is an elite level shooter who, when he gets it going, is capable of getting 35-40 in a game,” said Ray Mernagh, part-owner of NBEbasketball.com and analyst for Panther Lair. “The toughest part for a kid in his situation is just getting an opportunity or look.... If he gets one, he needs to blow their doors off with his shot-making ability.”

Anderson isn’t the first player to be spoken of in such a way. He compares most favorably to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who is listed at 6’3” and 185 pounds and is the current NBA record-holder for most 3 pointers made in a season. Curry is also a great passer who averaged 8.5 assists per game over the 2013-14 season. Anderson averaged just 1.4 assists as a senior.

More realistically, Anderson compares to former Duke star J.J. Redick, who is listed at 6’4” and 190 pounds, and is primarily known as a 3 point shooter and an efficient scoring option. Redick spend more than six seasons with the Orlando Magic before bouncing from Milwaukee to the Los Angeles Clippers the last two seasons. Although Redick was an elite college talent, many questioned his defensive abilities and whether he was athletic or big enough to create his own shots in the NBA.

Anderson is likely tired of hearing similar concerns about himself.

“He will make a really good living in Europe if he wants,” said Mernagh. “The NBA will be tough for him to crack.”

But his history makes it unwise to bet against him. Karvel Anderson has a different definition of “tough”.

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