Aaron Anderson is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Tucson, Arizona playing his third professional season and second with Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan). He started his basketball career at Kennesaw St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 30 games: 9.6ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.4%, FT: 53.7%. In 2013-2014 he started his professional basketball career with CAB Madeira (Portugal-LPB): 17 games: 12.8ppg, Reb-1(12.4rpg), 1.4spg, FGP-2(70.3%), FT: 30.2%. Last season he played with the Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan, starting five): EuroChallenge: 6 games: 6.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 62.5%, FT: 60.0%; Swedish Basketligan: 44 games: 9.4ppg, 7.7rpg, FGP-1(69.4%), FT: 54.4%. He recently talked to German Hoops about basketball.
Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan) started the season strong with a 10-0 record and like the Fraport Skyliners are used to winning as of late as they had a 13 game winning streak. What has been your biggest winning streak in any kind of organized basketball for you?
I think that 10 game winning streak we had was the longest I’ve ever been a part of. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep it going a little longer into the season.
However the team then suffered a losing streak and lost a bitter 90-49 game to Uppsalla. What has the team gotten away from in the last weeks?
We got away from playing our basketball, didn’t pay attention to the details that got us to 10-0 in the Swedish league. Every game in Sweden is a tough one and we have to play well all 40 minutes to get a win, especially on the road where we lost those two games.
In that game the team shot 2/25 from outside. Do you remember ever shooting so bad in a game as a team?
No I can’t remember a game we shot that bad in the past. We have a team full of players that can really shoot the ball well, we just didn’t compete in any aspect of the game, not just shooting.
On offense the team averages 82 points in the Swedish league and have 5 players averaging double figures in scoring. How big has the team unselfishness been and how do you explain it being there so early?
Our team is full of unselfish players and that really benefits us, we all work hard to get ourselves or our teammates in the best position to score the ball. Our kind of play basketball will spread the points pretty evenly through our team, and I think thats a big reason we have been successful thus far.
In the Fiba Europe Cup the team is averaging only 26 rebounds per game. Has the inside game been somewhat been exploited by the opponents? Against Uppsala nobody was taller than 201cm in the starting lineup?
Rebounding is always one of our biggest points of emphasis. It’s no secret we have a small team in comparison to the other teams in the FIba Europe Cup, but we don’t make that an excuse. Rebounding is just something that we have to do as a team at all five positions on the defensive end.
The Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan) lost the first two games in Europecup, but qualified to the next group with a 3-4 record. How thankful are you that the team was able to advance?
Our goal and preparation was the same even after losing the first two games. Our coaches did a great job of preparing us every game and that put us in a great position be successful. We always had goal to advance, it just made it a little harder on us after losing the first two games.
Now in the next group you face tough teams from Turkey, Germany and Poland and Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan) are the underdogs. Do you think you will have an advantage as nobody is expecting that much from you?
All the teams that advanced have proven that they are good teams. We don’t look at ourselves being the underdogs, we just want to go out there and play our game and let it determine our outcome. We can compete with teams from great leagues as we showed in the first round, now it is just important that we can keep doing that for the entire second round.
You are playing your second season with the Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan) and last season played EuroChallenge: 6 games: 6.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 62.5%, FT: 60.0%; Swedish Basketligan: 44 games: 9.4ppg, 7.7rpg, FGP-1(69.4%), FT: 54.4%. Is your role different from last season?
My role isn’t any different than it was last season.
You have been compared to NBA player Louis Amundson. What is your biggest strength on the court?
I compared myself to him while I was in college and he was playing for the Phoenix Suns. His role was to bring energy, rebound the ball, and play defense. I liked that he embraced that roll and didn’t try to do too much while he was on the court. I liked that about his game.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
Im an undersized big guy but I can defend multiple positions on the court for a few possessions if we get caught in switches. I take pride in that.
How has Croatian Toni Bizaca helped your game with his play on the court and leadership off the court?
He is a great guy and a great teammate. He has a unique offensive game but it is very effective as he can score in what seems like a million different ways. He is an older guy for us so his leadership and experience are huge for us, as we are a young team for the most part.
Do you see Nikolas Spires who played for FC Barcelona farm team for 3 years making the next jump in his career in the next years and what do you appreciate most from his game?
I really like his game. His combination of speed, size, and shooting ability makes him a tough guy to guard every day. I see him making big jumps to big leagues in the next couple years. He is in a great spot here in Sodertalje learning from our coaches and playing in the Swedish league and the Fiba Europe Cup. Besides him being hard to guard in the low post because of his quickness, his shot blocking is really impressive as he is a natural at that.
What was your wakeup call to being a rookie in Europe in Portugal with CAB Maderia where you knew that you were very far away from home in Arizona?
I didn’t mind being away too much, because I spent my college career far from home in Georgia. It wasn’t easy being away from everything I knew for nine months, but I had some great teammates that really made it easier for me as a rookie.
How important was Jobi Wall for you as a rookie? Was pushing each other and the competitive level very intense that season?
Jobi was a great guy that I spent a lot of time with off the court as well. He was always trying to better himself in every aspect, he was always reading and I really appreciated that. I learned a lot from his work ethic and dedication to the game. That guy never had a bad practice or a bad game on the court, he was always so consistent and it’s because he worked so hard and cared so much. He’s a great guy and I loved playing with him.
You played at Kennesaw St. (NCAA) from 2010-2013. You lost your last college game against Florida Gulf Coast 67-49, but had a season high 22 rebounds. Will this feat still have a big standing in your memory despite the bitter loss?
Yeah I will always remember that game, being my last collegiate game and grabbing a few rebounds against a team that made it to the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament that year. There is a lot to remember about that game.
Was the 67-65 win against South Carolina State where you had 12 points and 11 rebounds one of your most memorable games as a senior at Kennesaw St. (NCAA)?
No that game isn’t as memorable, we won, which was big, but my goal was to average a double-double for the season, but that game doesn’t stick out too much for me.
How did head coach Lewis Preston prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Kennesaw St. (NCAA)
He was a coach that taught us about life as much as he taught us about basketball. He always put the team first and he sacrificed a lot for us, I always appreciated that. He had a good amount of success playing overseas so I tried to pick his brain about that as much as I could after my collegiate career ended. The thing that I learned most from him was that you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of unnecessary things if you want to be successful, and he definitely sacrificed a lot of himself for the betterment of our team. I will always have that memory.
Who was the toughest player that you battled that is in the NBA now?
Iman Shumpert was tough, he had a killer instinct that I didn’t see much of before or after him. We beat him when he was at Georgia Tech in the biggest win of my career, but he did everything he could to put the team on his back.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
It’s hard to call him the best player in the world now with Steph Curry playing the way he is. I still think he holds the top spot, but he’s got to win another championship or two before he gets out of his prime. I don’t think he has the same mindset as Michael Jordan, and thats ok, but his physical ability is unmatched, and I love that EVERYBODY wants to play with him, because he seemingly makes everybody better.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I actually am watching the Ridiculous 6 as we are doing this interview, but before this it was Star Wars.. I had to see that one!
Thanks Aaron for the chat.