Tucker Anderson is another example of how much the game of basketball has changed through the years. Anderson is 6-foot-8. But instead of playing down low with his back to the basket as the old style would've dictated, the Bentonville West junior can shoot the three effectively or even bring the ball up the court, if needed.
"He's a 6-8 guard," Bentonville West coach Greg White said. "When I tell people that they're like 'aw, come on.' But whether it's a basket from the perimeter or a drive and a dunk, he's a bucket-getter. He's pretty much the complete deal right now."
Anderson averages 17 points per game for West (13-5, 4-3), which is fourth in the 6A-West Conference standings. Anderson exploded for 32 points and made six three-pointers when the Wolverines beat Springdale Har-Ber 60-48 to knock the Wildcats out of a first-place tie with Fayetteville.
The 32-point effort, helped earn Anderson the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette boys Player of the Week honors.
"I had been going through a rough stretch shooting but, after I made that first one against Har-Ber, I just felt it," Anderson said. "I hit a couple more and I'm thinking 'I'm going to keep shooting until I miss.' We were 1-2 in the league at the time, so that was a big win for our team."
Anderson moved with his family from Tennessee to Arkansas when his mother took a coaching and teaching job at LifeWay Academy in Centerton. His mother, Sheila Frost-Anderson, played for legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt from 1985-89 and was a three-time SEC All-Conference selection for the Tennessee Lady Vols. "When I was 10 or 11, my mom took us to the Baylor game at Tennessee and Brittney Griner was there playing," Anderson said. "It was a great matchup and before the game, mom took us on that famous court and I got to meet Pat Summitt and shoot around with the team. It was crazy."
Anderson, who started last year as a sophomore for West, has developed into one of the league's best all-around players as a junior. He more than held his own against an elite field when Bentonville West hosted the HoopHall South Classic that featured a number of players listed on ESPN's 2022 100 rankings. Anderson was equal to the challenge when West lost 72-65 to a Henderson (Nev.) Coronado team that features Osiris Grady, a 6-8 player and 4-star recruit. "(Anderson) was matched up against Osiris Grady, who has 11 Division I offers, and Tucker was stride-for-stride with him," White said. "What we've all known about Tucker, as the best-kept secret in Arkansas, he's not such a big secret anymore." Anderson said playing so well against Grady and his Coronado teammates added to his growing confidence as a ball player. "They were face-guarding me and I took that as a sign of respect," Anderson said. "My thought process was that if they're respecting me that much, I have to respect myself that much."
Anderson has earned plenty of respect from his coaches and teammates, including Riley Buccino, a senior leader and all-state player for the Wolverines who recently received a scholarship offer from Florida Southern, which won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2015. "Tucker and I have been friends for a long time. We're really close," said Buccino, who followed Anderson's 32-point outburst with 27 points the next game against Rogers Heritage. "Tucker is a really smart ballplayer and I have all the confidence in every shot he takes. Just to see his progression, he's going to be crazy good as a 6-8 guard who can do it all."
Anderson has received recruiting interest from Central Arkansas but that list is expected to grow with 1 1/2 years left to play in high school. Decisions will come, but Anderson is focused solely these days on helping the Wolverines, who beat Fort Smith Southside on Tuesday before losing to Springdale on Friday. Adams scored 19 points in the win over the Mavericks. "Tucker is definitely a match-up issue for any team," Southside coach Stewart Adams said. "He shoots the ball well enough that you have to close him out pretty tight, and you have somebody long enough to disrupt his shot. He is also explosive to the basket. "He has a great first step on a hard closeout, and gets straight to the basket. He has added some muscle and athleticism this year, which just makes him a better finisher at the basket. If he is shooting the ball well, he can make it a long night."
The Wolverines face a difficult week with road games at league-leading Fayetteville and rival Bentonville. But Anderson said the Wolverines will be up for the challenge.
"We're just going to have to stay locked," Anderson said. "Because the thing about our conference is, if you're not doing that, any team can beat you at any time."
At a glance
SCHOOL Bentonville West
NOTABLE Junior guard averages 17 points per game while shooting 52 percent from the field, including 38 percent from 3-point range. …. Made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 32 points in a win over Springdale Har-Ber. …. Contributes in the spring with the Bentonville West track and field team as a high-jumper who advanced to the state meet last year . …Tucker is the son of Sheila Frost-Anderson, a former Tennessee star who pla... Click here to read full article