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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tigers leaning on Anderson again

Tigers leaning on Anderson again
Tiger Basketball Camp Report
By Dan Wolken
Saturday, November 3, 2007

Over the past two years, six University of Memphis players have earned All-Conference honors. Junior guard Antonio Anderson has not been one of them.

But somehow, nobody on the Tigers roster has played more minutes than Anderson in each of his two seasons. Is he ready to make it 3-for-3?

"It doesn't even matter," Anderson said. "We've got a lot of guys this year, and I won't mind sitting a couple minutes on the bench so young guys can get some experience."

Don't count on it.

Even on a roster where minute distribution might be more balanced than ever, it's unlikely Anderson will drop much from the team-leading 28.0 minutes per game he played last season.

Though his shooting is often below average (24.5 percent from 3-point range last year) and he hasn't averaged more than eight points in a season, he has been coach John Calipari's most trusted agent for two years for his defense and versatility.

A year ago, the 6-6 Anderson played a lot of point guard because of the inconsistency of then-freshman Willie Kemp. Now, Calipari is planning to get Anderson minutes at the power forward position, where he'll have to go against bigger players in the frontcourt.

"If he needs me to play the four, I can play," said Anderson, who led the team in assists (130) and steals (59). "He knows that I know the position and he's comfortable that I can play the position, so I think I can do it."

Another reason Anderson's minutes are unlikely to slip is that he is willing to be a play-facilitator on a team with plenty of play-finishers. Though he can sometimes take that role to an extreme -- Calipari will criticize him for not shooting when open -- it makes him a unique and valuable piece in practically any lineup the Tigers can field.

"Tone is our Raja Bell," junior Chris Douglas-Roberts said, referring to the Phoenix Suns multi-talented guard. "You need him. Without Tone, we wouldn't be as highly ranked. He plays defense, he rebounds, he does everything for us."

Injury report

A magnetic resonance imaging scan on the right shoulder of senior forward Joey Dorsey confirmed the initial diagnosis of a joint sprain, which is generally considered a seven- to 10-day injury.

Dorsey was hurt one week ago and has been extremely limited since then, sitting out Friday's practice and expressing doubt about his availability for Monday's opener against Tennessee-Martin.

At this point, Memphis might be inclined to hold Dorsey out to give him extra healing time before going to New York for the Nov. 15 semifinals of the 2K College Hoops Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

Meanwhile, sophomore forward Pierre Niles returned to practice after missing two days with a sprained knee.

Odds and ends

The Tigers will have just one more real practice this morning before tipping off Monday. They'll meet at FedExForum on Sunday night to get their scouting report on UT-Martin and shoot. ... One thing Memphis has hardly done in the preseason is shoot free throws. Last year, the Tigers made just 62.1 percent from the line until the NCAA Tournament, when they were 73-of-102 (71.6 percent). "We did all that free-throw shooting last year, and we were the worst free-throw shooting team in the country, so I'm not sure we'll do any," Calipari said. ... Fans who have purchased parking passes for FedExForum but who have not picked them up can do so at the Liberty Bowl will-call window at Gate L during today's football game.

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