Coach John Calipari of Kentucky has produced two top-two players out of the last two drafts, and likely the last two Rookie of the Year award winners. He’s likely to have three of his players in the top ten this year (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson). And if you need any further proof of Calipari’s ability to develop pros, you should take a look at Antonio Anderson.
Antonio Anderson has been playing in the D-League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, or, essentially, the Rockets’ farm system (four call-ups this season). He’s averaging 15 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.5 rebounds for the Vipers, and that’s after a significant dip in January. The 25 year old was called-up today by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
If the name rings a bell, you’ll remember him from the 2008 NCAA Championship Runner-Up (unless you ask the NCAA) Memphis Tigers. Now, a starting guard from a championship team making it to the league is not surprising. But what is surprising is that Anderson is now the fourth out of five starters for that team to be playing in the NBA.
Derrick Rose you’ll recognize as the reigning Rookie of the Year. Chris Douglas-Roberts is currently a reserve with the New Jersey Nets, who, yes, are still considered an NBA team. Joey Dorsey, who also spent time with the Vipers on-assignment) was traded from the Rockets to the Kings this week and should get more playing time with Jon Brockman’s injury. And now Anderson joins his fellow Tigers under the big lights.
Robert Dozier is now the only starter from the 2006 team to not play in the NBA. Dozier was drafted by the Heat in 2009 and currently plays in Greece.
There are a lot of questions about Calipari’s recruiting methods, but in a system that many feel exploits young athletes, Calipari certainly seems like a high-probability chance at getting to the A.