“Radar Contact” – Lovett’s Christian Anderson

By: Keith Agran

ATLANTA, GA – Just don’t ask 2024 guard Christian Anderson, or his father Christian Sr, if they have a chip on their shoulder about all he’s accomplished already being under the fictionally “dreaded” under 6 feet barrier.

It shouldn’t matter, and it surely doesn’t to this basketball family, one that understands the landscape better than most and has charted and gone all-in with a clear path for Christian’s future in the game. But it was never forcibly thrust upon the talented young scorer, sometimes hoops is merely in the blood, some are just born able to do things that others cannot with a round ball in their hands.

Combine the obvious gifts with a relentless work-rate that has served to essentially remove all doubts about his abilities, and you have a player that has made an impression both locally and nationally that has become impossible to ignore (see 49 points and the game-winning assist two days ago at Pope’s holiday tournament). I spoke with him about how he got here:

On his journey as a basketball player, with not your average upbringing, having an athletic family and a former professional basketball player for a Father:

“I’ve always grown up around basketball, so basically ever since I could hold a basketball, since the first moment I touched a basketball, that’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do. My Dad taught me the things it took to be a basketball player, and the work that goes into it. So, from a very young age I’ve basically been working on my craft and work ethic, and now I live basketball. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t do something that is basketball, and my work ethic is something that most people don’t understand, they don’t know how much I work on my craft. Up to now, I’ve always focused on those things that help me to where I am today.”

On loving the game, being a diligent and meticulous worker, even with the exceptional push from family, and the level of work he loves to put in:

“I don’t really have to be pushed to go hard, I’m willing to listen to my Dad, he’s always going to tell me what’s right, I trust him, so I’ll just go hard myself. We’re always in the gym, we always focus on the right training, not just shooting a bunch of shots. The right training, the right technique of shooting, working on mastering every single level of shots on the floor. You work your way out, through the years, mastering one spot and move to another spot, focusing on the smart way.”

On keeping that work ethic and diligence during the past 2 years with Covid-19 as a part of everyone’s lives :

“When all the gyms shut down, there weren’t a lot of gyms that let people inside, we trained outside at a couple of parks, and with Covid all the schools had like short days and online classes, and that actually allowed us more time to get more work in. During quarantine that’s really where my skill really boosted, we able to do a lot more things, and when the gyms closed we were always able to find another place. We did a lot more running outside and things like that, to me it was kind of a blessing to have quarantine, it allowed us more time to work on my skill.”

On his choice of Lovett, having come from Galloway up through middle school, spurning some of the basketball “factories” in town and keeping their focus on skill and know-how, and how the school fit his and his family’s goals for both basketball and academics:

“My family and I just felt it was (and is) the best place, to further both my academics and athletics. They have a really good academic system, and since I was already at a private school (prior), we felt like Lovett provided that. For my athletics, we felt like the Coach (Mike Harner), the program, was the best to continue my academic career, the way they carry on their basketball program, we felt like it was the best option.”

With summer basketball being such a huge driver of future college offers here in Atlanta, on his experience with Atlanta Xpress this past summer of 2021:

“Playing with Xpress was great. They allowed me to do what I need to do to help the program win, I felt like it was a great opportunity to show what kind of player I was. Summer basketball and school basketball is kind of different, in summer basketball it’s not those really big crowds, in school basketball you’re always playing in front of a crowd, packed arenas even if they’re not rooting for you.”

Playing with an AAU program the level of Xpress isn’t always an automatic cakewalk, as there’s only one ball and a team of that caliber always draws a strong roster, on be being able to do his thing in spite of those obstacles:

“I think that wherever you go everybody wants to touch the ball, so it’s kind of the same thing in high school and AAU basketball. The way I play, I’m not just jacking bad shots, I have the ability to create for both myself and my teammates, kind of make everyone happy.  I feel like I didn’t really have to change the style I play AAU vs High School, because the way I play can provide things for both. I’m very efficient, I can take one dribble to score, 3 dribbles to score, I don’t have to change my style.”

His recruitment, already at the time sure to draw D1 interest, took a whirlwind turn this past summer, ending with a commitment to Michigan in October, on the interesting way Wolverine Head Coach Juwan Howard made his way over to see him last summer:

“I was playing Live Period with Lovett at Lakepoint (last June), all the college coaches were there, they were watching Court 1, and (his friend from) Runner Report went up to Coach Howard and pointed me out to him. So Coach Howard left Court 1 where the big schools were playing and he came to my court and watched. By halftime, he went from standing to sitting down, and stayed the whole game. A week later or something like that, he sent (Asst Coach) Phil Martelli to one of my games against Team Curry, and I think I had like 30 and 10, and we won by 1-point. And that’s basically the first time they said they were going to offer. He (Coach Howard) offered over a Zoom call, and a couple weeks later we went up to the school to see everything, and we told Coach Howard we had committed in person.”

Having signed with a program of that prominence will surely not deter his work ethic or goals for himself and with Lovett, too much has already been invested and the will to be great is ingrained for sure, but he can still find time for hobbies and other things that kids like to do:

“When I’m finished with basketball, I might hang out with my family and watch a movie, play video games. Sometimes I like to draw in my free time, I take an art class (at Lovett).

Art runs in the family apparently, as does the talent, as Christian seems to have inherited that special gift from his Dad as well. He once drew a Snoopy head using an Etch-A-Sketch, a classic, yet not easy to use, drawing tool from the past 40 years that endures today (and one that incidentally still resides on my bookshelf from my own youth).

Whether it’s spending time doing work on the “canvas” or on the hardwood, Anderson continues to create permanent images for people to enjoy, paintbrush or roundball. The ceiling for his basketball goals is only just being approached, and the sophomore has all the drive, talent, and control to “paint” his own path to success.

Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019 and has both a championship-coaching background on the HS-level and daily newspaper writing experience, both from New Jersey. You can reach him at keithagran1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage