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Gwinnett Grads: Anderson plays huge role for Richmond

Peachtree Ridge grad Kevin Anderson drives to the hoop earlier this season for the Richmond Spiders.

Peachtree Ridge grad Kevin Anderson drives to the hoop earlier this season for the Richmond Spiders.

When Kevin Anderson transferred to Peachtree Ridge before his senior season, he didn't want to shake anything up.

He joined a team that was already established with some of his good friends and AAU teammates Zach Graham (now playing basketball at Ole Miss) and Cameron Heyward (now playing football at Ohio State). The diminutive point guard, a whispy 160 pounds and barely 6-feet tall back then, just wanted to help his buddies when he could.

"In high school, I wasn't as aggressive as I am now," said Anderson, now a junior for a 15-6 Richmond basketball team. "I was the point guard that just passed and created for my teammates. Now I'm much more aggressive with scoring."

That's how Anderson's game has changed for the past three seasons. He's also added 15 pounds to his frame, helpful in the rigors of college basketball, and a much heavier offensive workload than ever.

Anderson still has to create (he averages 3.5 assists), the Spiders also rely on him as their leading scorer (18.1). He ranks third in the difficult Atlantic 10 in scoring, as well as fourth in free-throw percentage (81.4) and eighth in field-goal percentage (45.5).

And he rarely leaves the floor, averaging 37.3 minutes, second-most in the league.

"I just try to be a leader with my play on the court," said Anderson, also second in the A-10 in steals. "I feel like my teammates look to me to make the big play. I try to keep my poise. My teammates don't need to see me rattled out there.

"It doesn't seem like I'm doing a lot more scoring, my teammates are doing a good job of finding me on the wing. I try to hit open shots, take one dribble and pull up. I don't feel like I'm doing anything special. It's within our offense."

But much of the offense is focused on Anderson. He's led the Spiders in scoring 11 times, including seven of the past nine games. He also has exploded for some high-scoring games, the biggest against Norcross grad Al-Farouq Aminu and Wake Forest when he scored 31 in a narrow loss.

That scoring has helped the losses become few so far this season as Richmond is ahead of last season's pace, when it finished 20-16.

"It's much better this season because we're winning more," Anderson said. "Everybody likes to win. We've got more confidence. We're more motivated. We're feeling like we can play with anybody."

BASKETBALL

David named top freshman

Central Gwinnett grad Dria David was named Big South Conference Freshman of the Week on Tuesday.

David posted career bests in scoring (14) and rebounding (10) last weekend, although Presbyterian lost 69-64 to High Point, the league's second-place team. She made 7 of 10 shots and added two steals.

She followed that up with eight points (on 8-for-8 free-throw shooting) and three steals against Gardner-Webb.

Fast break

Parkview grad Yaw Gyawu grabbed an offensive rebound, then hit a 12-foot jumper with 2.9 seconds left Wednesday night, lifting Colgate to a 69-68 win over Holy Cross. He scored 17 in the win. ... Collins Hill's Shantell Black had 10 points last Sunday in Ole Miss' 66-65 upset of eighth-ranked Georgia. ... Memphis' Wesley Witherspoon, a Berkmar grad, scored 20 points in the Tigers' 92-77 win over Houston last weekend. ... South Gwinnett's Mike Mercer tied his South Florida career high with 19 points in a 109-105 overtime win over Providence. ...Georgia College and State University's Ty Rowland had team highs of 18 points and eight assists Monday night in an 80-69 win over North Georgia. The Parkview grad is now fifth in school history with 302 career assists. ... Western Carolina's Emily Clarke, a South Gwinnett grad, had 22 points in a 75-65 loss to Davidson on Monday night. ... North Gwinnett's Jeremy Sledge, who plays at Fort Valley, averaged 12.5 points last week, including 17 against Kentucky State.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.