On the night it ultimately bore witness to history, Michael Anderson could hardly stand the thought of his family watching him play.
Fifteen relatives had come to Loudoun County’s game Friday night against Woodgrove, and all the senior guard could think about was how it wouldn’t matter. All because of one other, bigger number: 1,000.
When his coach told him he was 30 points away from the career-points milestone during pregame warm-ups, he was surprised. Then, something else: a little disappointed.
“Obviously, 30 points is a lot to get in a night,” Anderson said. “I thought I was going to get it next week, and the first game we have is away, so I was kind of bummed that I was going to get it at [Potomac] Falls.”
And to think, the week had started off so well. Only days earlier, Anderson had called up the Bard College coaches who had flown in from New York to see him once every four games this season. He told them that, yes, they would be seeing more of him in college. He was going to college to play ball, and he was going to do it with one of his best friends: Alex Fabean-Scotch, a Georgetown Prep guard and AAU teammate, who committed to the Division III school the very same day.
At Bard, Anderson knows, he will not be expected to shoot as often as he does against AA Dulles District competition. With nearly 23 points per game, he is the league’s top scorer, and Friday he showed how that is as much a product of his own obvious talents as the team’s obvious needs.
At one point early in the eventual 61-46 win, Coach Mark Alexander said, Anderson hit four three-pointers in a row. He finished with seven treys total, tied for a school record. One of them, he claimed afterward, was closer to midcourt than the three-point arc.
“I’m shooting from, like, the yellow volleyball line, which I’ve never been able to do,” Anderson said.
He finished with 26 first-half points, in large part because his teammates had given their team-first point guard no other choice but to look the part of a shoot-first shooting guard.
“His teammates didn’t really know what to do,” Alexander said. “They felt like they wanted to pass to him every time to do it for him.”
When he learned he was four points short of 1,000 at halftime, Anderson said, “That was one of the only things I could think about.” Sure enough, his shooting went meat-locker cold. He didn’t score in the third quarter. He hit a fast-break layup in the fourth to come within a basket of the mark, then missed four threes in a row.
Anderson’s dad yelled at him to go inside, but that wasn’t the play call. The day before, the Raiders had installed an offensive set to get him a wide-open look from deep. So with about five minutes left, they ran it, and he was.
“Right when I hit it,” Anderson said, “I just couldn’t believe it.”
He left the gym that night with 31 points, and 1,001 overall. Afterward, the whole family came over to the Andersons’ house to eat. It was, Anderson said, a dinner party to celebrate.