Ron Anderson (42), defending Magic draft pick Victor Oladipo, hopes his determination gets him noticed by the Thunder. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BY NICK WILLIAMS Tribune staff
Published: July 12, 2013
Updated: July 12, 2013 at 07:44 AM
ORLANDO - Ron Anderson Jr. knows he doesn't fit the profile of a highly touted draft prospect.
The 6-foot-8 former University of South Florida forward averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during his senior season in 2011-12.
What the former Bulls forward does offer - energy, effort and grit - is something he hopes will earn him a spot on an NBA roster.
This week, Anderson has been playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder's summer-league team. The Orlando Pro Summer League, a 25-game, six-day event featuring the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz, ends today with a championship game.
The summer teams mostly consist of rookies, second-year players and undrafted free agents looking to make the team. Through Thursday's games, Anderson has averaged 14.7 minutes, 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. USF coach Stan Heath was in attendance Sunday to catch Anderson in action.
"A lot of times, what I do doesn't show up on the stat sheet," Anderson said. "Being a presence out there on the court, picking my guy up and setting hard screens, rolling hard, all the little things that add into a quality win."
Anderson played this past season for the Tulsa 66ers, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Thunder, where he averaged 19.2 minutes, 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. In 2012, he was selected by the 66ers in the fourth round of the NBDL draft.
Anderson said he was told he would be playing on the NBA summer roster shortly after Tulsa's season ended.
"I was excited, because I felt that was a reflection of how hard I was working in Tulsa," he said. "I also give all credit to the OKC staff for working with me so much. They worked with me so much last season to get me to this point."
Oklahoma City's summer team is stacked with post players, notably 7-footer Steven Adams, the 12th overall pick in the 2013 draft from Pittsburgh, in addition to Andre Roberson, the 26th overall selection acquired from Minnesota, and Grant Jerrett, the 40th overall pick, who was acquired from Portland.
Yet, Anderson remained confident in his worth.
"I've always been into being the bruiser on the team, doing the dirty work, sticking my nose in the paint on every play and trying to get offensive rebounds and being able to branch out and hit that 15-foot jumper on more of a consistent basis," he said.
Anderson's father, Ron Anderson Sr., played 10 seasons in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets and Washington Bullets, and he scored 7,056 career points. Before he traveled to Orlando, his father told him to seize every opportunity and "to go out there and leave it all on the floor."
"Nothing tomorrow is promised," Anderson Jr. said.
Anderson was vocal and was a consummate teammate in Orlando, a trait he took pride in when he played at USF.
"I'm having a lot of fun," he said. "At the end of the day, basketball is supposed to be fun. When you're having fun as a team, you have a lot of energy, and the atmosphere is great, and then everything falls together. Then you can look back on it and say you don't have anything to regret."