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VARSITY TIMES

Anderson really looks up to his big brother

December 05, 2007|Eric Sondheimer

The entire Anaheim Canyon boys' basketball team was gathered in a circle during pregame introductions, swinging back and forth, their arms locked.

Then, in an acrobatic maneuver straight out of a Las Vegas showroom, 5-foot-1 freshman guard Chris Anderson dived under the circle and popped up in the middle, his teammates giggling with envy.

Asked how much he weighs, Anderson said, "93.4 pounds."

Wearing a black headband and flashing a smile that shows off glittering white teeth, Anderson is living out a little brother's dream by playing on the same team with his big brother, UCLA-bound Jerime.

"It's very emotional," he said.

To see them on the court together, then sitting next to each other on the bench, smiling, winking and appreciating the special moments, is what high school sports is all about.

"It's something we always looked forward to," Jerime said. "He's my little apprentice. I can show him the way."

Anderson looks like a sixth-grader and barely reaches the shoulders of his 6-foot-3 brother. But he's quick, fearless and has convinced Coach Nate Harrison that he belongs on varsity.

"It's not a courtesy," Harrison said. "He can play."

Lack of strength instead of lack of size is what Anderson must deal with. Opponents are going to be physical, try to trap him and test him.

"They bump me and get me off balance," he said. "I just have to keep my cool."

And then there's the inevitable taunts from fans. For those who don't know about the neighborhood rivalry between Canyon and Villa Park, just show up to a basketball game at either school, sit back and listen to the one-liners going back and forth across the court.

"It's loud, rowdy and police everywhere," Anderson said

He's already preparing for the Villa Park crazies.

"I know what's coming," he said. "Some people say, 'Is it past your bedtime?' I say, 'My mom is letting me play late tonight.' "

The good news is that his older brother will be around to provide support.

"My mom is going, 'You better have his back out there,' " Jerime said.

Don't worry, big brother is always there, passing along lessons and setting an example. Jerime remembers once being a 5-6 freshman, playing against taller, stronger opponents and pleading for his growth spurt to kick in.

All the challenges he faced helped him in the long run. And once Chris starts to grow, watch out, Jerime warns.

"He has all the talent and intangibles to be a real good player," Jerime said.

Who better to learn from than an older brother who ranks as one of the top point guards in the state? Jerime is off to a great start, averaging 23.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists for the 3-1 Comanches, who lost to Santa Ana Mater Dei, 76-56, in the Loara tournament championship game. He has improved his outside shot and added strength, making him even more impressive while driving the lane.

But whatever individual or team achievements come this season will pale in comparison to the three months of pure joy he's going to have playing alongside his brother.

"It's one of those things. . . . How many times do you get to play with your brother?" Harrison said. "It's meant a lot to Jerime."

Yes, everyone understands there's going to be lots of teasing about Chris' size. When Drew Housman was a 5-3 freshman guard at Calabasas and barely fit into his jersey, the fans were rough. He grew to 5-10 by his senior year, became the top player in the Marmonte League and is now a standout at Harvard.

"He looks like a manager, but when he gets out there, he doesn't play like it," Harrison said of Chris, who has five assists through four games.

Jerime is already dreaming up a scenario in which there's a breakaway, and it's only him and his little brother near the basket.

"I might toss him up to get a dunk," Jerime said.

Can't wait to hear what the Villa Park fans say about that.

--

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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