TCU point guard Kyan Anderson would prefer to take a secondary scoring role, one where he’s looking first for opportunities to set up a teammate for easy points.
But as his junior season has progressed, Anderson has been forced into being the Horned Frogs’ primary scoring option. And for the most part, he has more than lived up to the task. He’s scored 20 or more points in five of the last seven games despite playing with a tender shoulder he injured more than a week ago.
In the first half against Kansas on Saturday, Anderson singlehandedly kept the Frogs (9-15, 0-12 Big 12) in the game with a dazzling stretch in which he scored 18 of the Frogs’ final 22 points before the break. He did it in the paint, from the 3-point arc and in transition.
“I think he’s probably playing as well as he played in his basketball career,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “It’s tough. It’s tough for everybody, but I think he’s holding up pretty well.”
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It’s tough because the Frogs are still looking for their first Big 12 win as they head to Kansas State (17-8, 7-5) on Wednesday.
Anderson, who attended North Crowley, finished with 25 points at Kansas after the Jayhawks’ defense showed him more respect in the second half. It was his third consecutive 20-point game, his ninth this season and the 15th of his career. He’s seventh in the Big 12 with 16.6 points per game and fifth in assists with 4.9 per game.
Anderson’s most impressive stat, however, is probably his 34.8 minutes per game, second-most in the league. As TCU’s primary ball-handler, his job never ends during a game, and when he’s pulling more offensive weight than TCU would like without a fully available roster, he can hit a wall in the second half. In his last two games combined, Anderson has scored 39 first-half points but only 15 in the second half.
Freshman Michael Williams eventually will help spell Anderson more next season. With guard Charles Hill Jr. academically ineligible for league play the rest of the season, reserve options on TCU’s thin bench have been scarce not just at positions up front but also in the backcourt. That has forced Anderson into a more prominent role, one at which he’s excelling despite the team’s struggles.
“It’s all rhythm, and it starts in practice and just trying to keep that rhythm going for the remainder of the season,” he said.