Mizzou's Greatest, #81: Kim Anderson

Kim Anderson

If Norm Stewart was Mizzou Basketball, Kim Anderson was Mizzou Basketball's right hand man for 25 years.

Despite being one of the smallest centers in the conference, Kim Anderson played a key role for Missouri teams in his sophomore and junior seasons when he averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, and helped the Tigers to the 1976 Big Eight championship and a run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. As a senior in 1976-77, however, he became Mizzou’s leader when he propelled the Tigers to a 21-8 record and was named Big Eight Player of the Year by UPI. That season, he scored a career-high 38 points in a win over Kansas, and he led the league in scoring with 22.1 points per game in conference play, while averaging 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds overall. Anderson later became an assistant coach on Norm Stewart’s staff, and is currently the head coach at Central Missouri State.

Anderson was a prep standout at Sedalia (Mo.) Smith-Cotton High School, where he was a two-time all-state selection. Anderson went on to enjoy tremendous success at the University of Missouri, where he played from 1973-77. He was a junior forward on Norm Stewart's first Big 8 Conference championship team in 1976, then led the league in scoring and was Big 8 Player of the Year in 1977. He was named to the Academic All-Big 8 team in 1975 and 1977, and won Missouri's George Edwards Award for basketball excellence, academic ability, citizenship and character three times. He scored 1,289 points in his career to rank among Missouri's top-20 all-time scorers.

After his college career, Anderson was a second round selection of the Portland Trailblazers in the 1977 NBA Draft. He played for the Trailblazers during the 1978-79 season and also played professionally in Italy and France for a total of three seasons.

Anderson has been inducted into the University of Missouri Athletic Department Hall of Fame and the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame (which now is the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield). His high school basketball jersey was retired at Sedalia Smith-Cotton.

Anderson received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Missouri in 1979 and 1981, respectively.

For most of 25 years, if something memorable happened around to or for the Missouri Basketball program, Kim Anderson was probably nearby. His name is strewn throughout Michael Atchison's True Sons: A Century of Missouri Tigers Basketball.

He combined with Willie Smith to score 50 points in a 15-point win over Kansas in 1975. He combined with Smith score 54 in the 1975 postseason versus Purdue.

He scored 11 points in overtime to beat Nebraska in 1976. He was at the heart of one of the strangest, most (eventually) devastating moments in Mizzou's postseason history in the 1976 Elite Eight versus Michigan:

The Tigers held the lead when Kim Anderson hurtled down the court on a fast break. He soared toward the rim and got undercut by a defender. In an instinctive effort to keep from falling, Anderson’s lay-up turned into a dunk, as he grabbed the rim for protection. But dunking had been outlawed in NCAA basketball. The officials waved off the hoop and called a technical foul, giving Michigan free throws and the ball, and instantly changing the game. While Michigan capitalized on the controversial call, the Tigers, a 71% free throw shooting team, crumbled at the stripe in the final minutes, and lost three starters when Anderson, Kennedy and Currie fouled out. After thundering into the lead, the Tigers faded into history, 95-88.

When Smith graduated after the Elite Eight run, Anderson turned in his own stellar senior season. He scored 22 in a 69-65 win over Kansas in the Big 8 holiday tournament. He scored 38 to beat Kansas again. And despite a shoulder injury that kept him out of most of the 1977 postseason, he still finished his career in Missouri's all-time top 10 in scoring and rebounding.

By 1982, he was back in Columbia. For the next 17 years, any shot of Norm Stewart storming around on the sideline probably had Anderson in the background. Kim Anderson was there when Mizzou won its fourth straight Big 8 title. He was there when Derrick Chievous came to town, then Doug Smith, then Anthony Peeler, then Melvin Booker. He was there when Mizzou made the Sweet 16 in 1989, he was there when Norm Stewart collapsed on a plane, he was there when Stewart was diagnosed with cancer, and he was there when Stewart returned. He was there when Mizzou was put on probation for Smith's senior season. He was there when Mizzou went undefeated in Big 8 play in 1994. He was there for Tyus Edney, he was there for the program's mid-1990s stumble, and he was there for Stewart's final rally.

If Norm Stewart was Mizzou Basketball, Kim Anderson was Mizzou Basketball's right hand man for 25 years. That's one heck of a legacy. That he has added to it by serving as a heck of a coach at Central Missouri for the last decade, with two Division II Final Four appearances, only increases that.

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