By John Fanta
NEW YORK — Mike Anderson has gone to nine NCAA Tournaments in 17 years as a college basketball head coach. There’s no guarantees that his success in making the Big Dance and going on runs, including a trip to the Elite Eight with Missouri in 2009, can translate to Queens, but consistency and experience are part of Anderson’s pedigree.
As reported early Friday morning by Zach Braziller that Anderson and St. John’s have come to an agreement and a press conference will be held that afternoon, let’s break down the new St. John’s leader.
Anderson comes into New York after eight years at Arkansas, who let him go after this past season featured just an 18-16 record and an NIT appearance. While the Razorbacks shifted their leadership to Eric Musselman, think about this: Anderson got the Hogs back on the map. Before his arrival in 2011, the Razorbacks had not been to the Big Dance since 2008. In a matter of four seasons, Anderson took Arkansas back to the NCAA Tournament, the first of three appearances in five years.
His tournament record of 9-9, including stops at UAB, Missouri and Arkansas, gives him a rich amount of Big Dance experience that St. John’s frankly hasn’t seen in the past two decades.
What else does Anderson bring? An identity. The Red Storm are going to play with an extra sense of purpose on the defensive end. Anderson worked under Nolan Richardson from 1985-2002, a golden era of Razorbacks basketball which featured Final Four appearances in 1990, 1994 and 1995 including a national title in 1994.
There’s no question the experience and ability to win are there, but the concern about what Anderson does not bring is a connection with the New York City area. That said, the gap can be bridged, as Braziller reports.
Anderson could be eyeing New York Renaissance Basketball Association Executive Director Andy Borman for an assistant coaching spot. Borman, who is Mike Krzyzewski’s nephew, is a key name in the New York hoops scene and is respected. This connection makes sense with Mike Cragg, the St. John’s athletic director, coming from Duke.
Another name to watch is Marc Hsu, a second-year assistant at Western Kentucky under Rick Stansbury. This name is also reported first by Braziller. Hsu played a vital role in helping L.J. Figueroa transfer to St. John’s after Figueroa was with Hsu in Figueroa’s brief time at New Mexico State. That never came to fruition for Figueroa.
Follow the latest on the hiring of Mike Anderson Friday by following @John_Fanta on Twitter and keep it right here on ncaahoopsdigest.com.