Raptors' Anderson a Vince Carter fan
By MELISSA COUTO, QMI Agency
|Toronto Raptors forward Alan Anderson. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)
Vince Carter may be synonymous with No. 15 in Raptors history, but it's not a number that's foreign to Alan Anderson.
Though he wears No. 6 in Toronto now, Anderson wore 15 twice -- in college at Michigan State and in his first year in the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats -- as an homage to the famous Raptor.
For years, Anderson has delightedly watched Carter shine. Now that he's played against him, that admiration remains intact.
"When I see him play, I'm like, 'This is Vinsanity! This is Vince Carter!" Anderson exclaimed after a shootaround at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday. "The first time I played against him, he was jumping, doing amazing dunks and I was like, 'I get to guard him? This is amazing!"
The Raptors last faced Carter in Dallas on Wednesday when he scored 17 points in the Mavericks' 109-104 victory.
And Anderson wasn't surprised by his performance.
"One thing about Vince is he can always shoot the ball and has a strong knowledge of the game," he said. "He's not as explosive as he once was, but he's still explosive! He can do everything he used to do, so I know he's capable of putting up those numbers."
Though the Minnesota native was happy to be playing against his idol, he's more grateful just to be back in the NBA.
After two seasons with Charlotte, Anderson spent six years playing in Europe, Israel, and in the NBA-D League before signing a 10-day contract with Toronto last March.
He hasn't left since, but it's been a long, unexpected journey.
"I never thought I would play overseas," Anderson said. "It was always college to NBA, and that went as planned for a little while, but when I didn't get to stay, I was definitely discouraged.
"My first year out of the NBA, I was stressed. I didn't know if I'd ever get back, and I almost thought about not playing anymore."
Since signing with Toronto, Anderson has averaged 8.5 points per game, and with Landry Fields nursing a sore hand, the 30-year-old was added to Saturday's starting lineup in a move Dwane Casey described as "not a surprise."
But the struggles aren't over for Anderson.
After spraining his foot with seconds to go in the third quarter, the 6-foot-6 forward had to be helped off the court by teammates and would not return.
Despite the setback, Anderson seems to have found his fit in Toronto, and though he's enjoying his second life in the NBA (up until the injury, at least), he admits it would be special to see his idol, Carter, in a Raptors uniform once more.
"That would be great for this city," he said. "Vince put Toronto on the NBA map."