As he was falling, back-first, from nearly two stories, a six-year old Kyan Anderson remembers thinking: “OK, from here I don’t know what’s going to happen. All I remember is praying.”
The TCU point guard was sitting on a balcony ledge, watching two friends play one-on-one basketball on a kid’s hoop in Pasadena, Calif., where he was born. One of the kids drove past and swept Anderson’s legs up, sending him plummeting to the ground.
“I remember the drop and looking up and seeing the sky,” said Anderson, who barely had time to scream. The next thing Anderson remembers was waking up as paramedics were pushing him into the emergency room.
Miraculously, Anderson suffered only a few scratches and a sore shoulder and arm, which took the brunt of the fall. No broken bones, no internal injuries, no concussion. In fact, he was only in the hospital a couple days and was playing basketball within a week.
“It was horrifying,” his mother Cheryl Anderson said. “It was more frightening because there was a fire hydrant right next to where he fell. He missed it by an inch. So we were very fortunate.”
When coach Jim Christian left TCU in March of 2012, again, that same feeling hit Kyan: “OK, from here I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“At first it was a little difficult because he had known coach Christian for so long,” Cheryl Anderson said. Christian had followed Kyan since middle school and was instrumental in Kyan’s decision late in the process to attend TCU instead of Providence.
Among the factors in the switch, was the announcement TCU was moving to the Big East, of which Providence was a member. Another factor was mom struggling with the idea that her eldest of two sons was heading off to a far away place.
“We were elated he decided to stay local,” she said. “I was just heartbroken that he’d be up there by himself. We wouldn’t get to go to many games, if any, because we were both working and we have a younger son.
“We’re very close, it’s just Kyan, his younger brother, myself and his dad. We didn’t want him to be that far away. We didn’t have any family in that area. I was very, very happy he chose TCU.”
Kayden Anderson is a freshman guard at North Crowley High School, where Kyan became a local star for coach Tommy Brakel.
“We were so happy he stayed close so we all could be together,” Cheryl Anderson said. “[Knowing] coach Christian gave him the comfort to go to TCU. He felt very comfortable with coach Christian.”
Christian’s departure after Kyan’s freshman season left a brief void. Christian had put a ton of trust in him as a freshman to lead the team, allowing Kyan to go off script and improvise, partly because of his talent, and perhaps also because of a deficiency of talent with the rest of the team.
“We had plenty of conversations in the locker room,” Kyan said. “[He was] strict with other players but showed faith in me to do what I needed to do.”
After Trent Johnson was hired in April 2012 to replace Christian, the difference in style was obvious to Anderson from the start.
“What he came here and did for the team is exactly what I felt we needed,” Kyan said. “To be a team that was taking everything seriously, especially on the court and academics. He came in here and brought in a new authority and had [players] respect him pretty quick.”
It didn’t take long for Kyan to warm to Johnson. That faith in Johnson from the team, especially Kyan, has helped the Horned Frogs start 8-3 in Johnson’s second season.
Anderson, in particular, has helped fill the scoring void with Amric Fields out with an injury. He’s scored 27 and 25 points in TCU’s last two games and leads the team with 16.1 points and 5 assists per game.
“We talked about being a young man and those are the types of things life throws at you,” Cheryl Anderson said of the coaching change. “You have to be able to take that as a positive.
“And once he got to know coach Johnson, who is totally different than coach Christian, he realized coach Johnson is really out to help develop these kids, not only in basketball, but for life. So he really excelled with that.”
Johnson also trusts Kyan, but requires his point guard to remain more strictly within his offensive system.
“It’s what we needed. It was the best for us,” Kyan said. “You can tell everyone is buying in to what he wants to do. Last year, it was all new and everybody was trying to figure out how is this going to go and didn’t know what to expect.”