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Ageless Athletes: Matthew Anderson

By Nathan Baskin
Published: April 2011
When he was 15 years old, he could dunk: on a full-size basketball hoop When he was at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst he played under legendary National Collegiate Athletic Association coach John Calipari.
And and when was a graduate student there he also helped coach an National Basketball Association NBA defensive player of the year, Marcus Camby.
Matthew Anderson, a math teacher at South, grew up in Brewster, New York. At Brewster High School, Anderson played basketball and soccer and ran track.
But his real gift was basketball.  When he was six years old, he first picked up the game of basketball and at 15 years old, he was 6 feet 8 inches.
He was a standout high school player and a top recruit during his high school career.  Anderson’s grades off the court made him an interest to such elite Ivy League schools as Harvard and Cornell universities.
His final decision was to come play for John Calipari, who was the Head Coach of the UMass Minutemen at the time.  Anderson said that for him, the hardest transition was “switching from being a Yankees fan to a Red Sox fan.”
Anderson had a extraordinary career in high school, averaging a double double per game, and even recording a rare basketball achievement and a quadruple double which consisted 12 points, 15 rebounds, ten assists and 12 blocks.
Anderson received his high school diploma in 1987 and came to UMass early for the season.  “Calipari was a great coach, and always stressed perfection,” Anderson said.
Anderson and the Minutemen had to run a drill called “perfection” during practice, which consisted of simple pick and rolls, and give-and -goes.
If it was not executed perfectly the players would need to start over.  Calipari was a young coach, but a strict coach too, who had no tolerance for people who were late.
“Calipari’s policy was if you were a minute late for practice, you had to come in the next morning at 4 AM and start running,” Anderson said.
At UMass, Anderson was not the only tall player; the team had many. Anderson realized he was not the best player, but was a key member of the bench and contributed on the boards and with blocks.
Anderson also did not mind not starting, being part of the team meant a lot. UMass got better every year, and with players like Anderson, reached the tournament level, losing in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky during the 1992 tournament.
“The hardest thing to manage was the school work you missed when you were on the road,” Anderson said.
To cope with this, he tried to take more classes over the summer before the basketball season began.
The team provided many tutors when they were away and according to Anderson, “Calipari was very serious when it came to academics.”
After realizing the NBA was not for him, Anderson left UMass after graduating and began working different jobs.
He was a salesman and a Transportation Security Authority airport security officer, which Anderson says “was fun,” but  what he finally realized after a time was that he wanted was to return to college studies.
He wanted to go to graduate school, and also asked Calipari if he had a job for him at UMass.
He did, and Anderson was given a tutoring job as a graduate student.  He would help the players with schoolwork on the road, and would mentor them on the court.
It was on this job that Anderson met Marcus Camby, who he described as a “7-foot monster that could run like a deer.”
Camby was the best player that Calipari had coached at UMass and made everyone feel his presence when he was on the court.
By the end of the 1996 season, everyone knew who Camby was; he was the train that led the Minutemen surge throughout the tournament.
“The most amazing thing about Camby was that he never got into trouble off the court, and he always got good grades.”
Anderson said he was not one of the kids you had to tell to do well in school; he did it himself without prompting. Anderson said his greatest achievement was getting the Minutemen to the NIT final Four.
He said it was the greatest achievement ever.  Anderson stopped playing basketball after a freak accident, when he fell off a roof while fixing it.
He stopped playing the sport because of the injury, but he has now been helping his two-year-old learn the craft of the game.
He is the coach of the Freshmen Basketball team and says that there are many people with talent on the team.
Anderson is a great teacher at South, and one of the elite athletes that South has on its staff.

By Nathan BaskinWhen he was 15 years old, he could dunk: on a full-size basketball hoop When he was at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst he played under legendary National Collegiate Athletic Association coach John Calipari. And and when was a graduate student there he also helped coach an National Basketball Association NBA defensive player of the year, Marcus Camby. Matthew Anderson, a math teacher at South, grew up in Brewster, New York. At Brewster High School, Anderson played basketball and soccer and ran track.  But his real gift was basketball.  When he was six years old, he first picked up the game of basketball and at 15 years old, he was 6 feet 8 inches.He was a standout high school player and a top recruit during his high school career.  Anderson’s grades off the court made him an interest to such elite Ivy League schools as Harvard and Cornell universities.  His final decision was to come play for John Calipari, who was the Head Coach of the UMass Minutemen at the time.  Anderson said that for him, the hardest transition was “switching from being a Yankees fan to a Red Sox fan.”  Anderson had a extraordinary career in high school, averaging a double double per game, and even recording a rare basketball achievement and a quadruple double which consisted 12 points, 15 rebounds, ten assists and 12 blocks.  Anderson received his high school diploma in 1987 and came to UMass early for the season.  “Calipari was a great coach, and always stressed perfection,” Anderson said.  Anderson and the Minutemen had to run a drill called “perfection” during practice, which consisted of simple pick and rolls, and give-and -goes. If it was not executed perfectly the players would need to start over.  Calipari was a young coach, but a strict coach too, who had no tolerance for people who were late.  “Calipari’s policy was if you were a minute late for practice, you had to come in the next morning at 4 AM and start running,” Anderson said.  At UMass, Anderson was not the only tall player; the team had many. Anderson realized he was not the best player, but was a key member of the bench and contributed on the boards and with blocks.  Anderson also did not mind not starting, being part of the team meant a lot. UMass got better every year, and with players like Anderson, reached the tournament level, losing in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky during the 1992 tournament. “The hardest thing to manage was the school work you missed when you were on the road,” Anderson said.  To cope with this, he tried to take more classes over the summer before the basketball season began.  The team provided many tutors when they were away and according to Anderson, “Calipari was very serious when it came to academics.”After realizing the NBA was not for him, Anderson left UMass after graduating and began working different jobs. He was a salesman and a Transportation Security Authority airport security officer, which Anderson says “was fun,” but  what he finally realized after a time was that he wanted was to return to college studies.  He wanted to go to graduate school, and also asked Calipari if he had a job for him at UMass.  He did, and Anderson was given a tutoring job as a graduate student.  He would help the players with schoolwork on the road, and would mentor them on the court.It was on this job that Anderson met Marcus Camby, who he described as a “7-foot monster that could run like a deer.”  Camby was the best player that Calipari had coached at UMass and made everyone feel his presence when he was on the court. By the end of the 1996 season, everyone knew who Camby was; he was the train that led the Minutemen surge throughout the tournament.  “The most amazing thing about Camby was that he never got into trouble off the court, and he always got good grades.” Anderson said he was not one of the kids you had to tell to do well in school; he did it himself without prompting. Anderson said his greatest achievement was getting the Minutemen to the NIT final Four.  He said it was the greatest achievement ever.  Anderson stopped playing basketball after a freak accident, when he fell off a roof while fixing it.  He stopped playing the sport because of the injury, but he has now been helping his two-year-old learn the craft of the game.  He is the coach of the Freshmen Basketball team and says that there are many people with talent on the team.  Anderson is a great teacher at South, and one of the elite athletes that South has on its staff.

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