CMU Blazer Athletics

Anders Keeps Driving: Men’s Basketball Alum Turns Pro In NBL-Canada

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When former CMU Men's Basketball star Wyatt Anders sets a goal, he's nearly impossible to stop. After two seasons in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference, four seasons in U-Sports (CIS) with the Manitoba Bisons* and a few summers challenging the top 3 on 3 teams in the world in FIBA 3×3, Anders is preparing to step onto his first professional basketball court this winter in Canada's NBL (National Basketball League), wearing the colours of the expansion Cape Breton Highlanders.

"Originally I was just planning to do 3 on 3 this year," said Anders from his new home base in Nova Scotia, "then my agent told me that Cape Breton is a new team in the league (NBL-Canada) and they were interested in flying me out and giving me a shot."

Based in Sydney, the expansion Highlanders bring the number of professional teams in NBL-Canada to ten, after the league was founded in 2011-12. That same year, Anders was wearing #7 at CMU and setting program records in the MCAC. Anders' 47 point and 23 rebound game against the Oak Hills Wolfpack in January of 2011 still stands as the program's highest offensive output in an MCAC game. Anders' new team, the Highlanders, will play out of the 5,000 seat Centre 200 and begin action on December 27th against the 2015-16 NBL Champion, Halifax Hurricanes.

Standing 6'7", Anders has used his size to his advantage in his professional path. But it has been his work ethic and drive that has kept him moving forward in the sport.

"It isn't every day that we see student-athletes move from the MCAC to the CIS, and when they arrive there, excel as Wyatt did," said CMU Director of Athletics, Russell Willms, "he has continued to push for opportunities to play and to grow as a player and I think it is his relentlessness in going from one level to the next that keeps him moving up. That's the kind of players and people that coaches want to have on their rosters."

After being selected co-MVP of the MCAC in 2010-11 and sole MVP in 2011-12, Anders finished his university career with the Manitoba Bisons being ranked as the 30th best player in the CIS by North Pole Hoops in their annual Top 50 Canadian University players, released last January. He also led Manitoba all the way to the Canada West Final Four.

NBL-Canada is a bigger and more athletic league, with many players coming from NCAA Division 1 College Basketball programs or coming to the NBL from the NBA Development League. For Anders, this is a new challenge but his goals are all centered around the success of his team. "I have no clue what the coach sees as my role," says Anders, "the coaches really like a more 'American-ized' game than I've gotten used to at U of M, so I will have to work at playing with my back to the basket. I think they like my ability to defend, communicate, rebound and to be a positive role model on and off the court regardless of my role. Those are really important things for a new team when they try to engage the community in our season."

Anders joins Evelyn Kampen of Women's Volleyball as the second recent CMU Blazer to sign a professional contract in their sport. Kampen played two and a half seasons in Germany and Denmark before returning to CMU last season to her current role as head coach of the CMU Women's Volleyball team.

*The University of Manitoba successfully appealed to the CIS for an additional year of eligibility to be awarded to Anders when the MCAC schedule was cut short due to the loss of one of the MCAC Men's Basketball program midway through a season. For this reason Anders university and college career spanned six seasons instead of the standard five.

 

 

 

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