His dominant slam in the second quarter may have been named as the Play of the Game, but for Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders forward Jamell Anderson, Sunday’s BBL Cup Final was all about the win.
In his second year with the Riders, the former Essex Pirate impressed throughout his 17 minutes on the floor, a display which saw the Nottingham-born forward drain 15 points and pick up 3 defensive boards.
However, following the game’s final buzzer, which cued scenes of incredible celebration for a sea of Riders fans in red, Anderson was lost in the rapture of a victory.
“For me, it’s better than Christmas,” a dazed Anderson revealed minutes after the game.
“At this point, I haven’t had chance to just sit down and think to myself ‘oh my God’. Right now, I’m just making sure that I say hello and thank you to everybody that has come down and supported me and the team today. All of my friends and family and all the Riders fans, I want to share this occasion with them. It’s all about enjoying the moment.”
Leading up to the showcase at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, Riders played an additional Championship game against London Lions; however Anderson insists that preparation was strong for the Cup Final – and that if anything, gametime helped.
“All the training sessions that we have put in recently; it allowed us to formulate a game plan and we were able to stick to it,” he said.
“We prepared well and, luckily for us, it has proved successful today.
“Playing games helped. It allowed us to get into the rhythm that we needed. Even though we didn’t practice that much, the practice we did do was good solid practice and it got us to where we needed to be.”
Jamell was one of a select few Riders players that were part of last season’s disappointing end to the season, ironically on the same floor and against the same opponents as Sunday’s victory.
Under Rob Paternostro, Anderson has developed massively, with the 21-year-old full of praise for his Leicester Riders coach as he admits his pleasure at how things are going on a personal level.
“Rob’s a great coach and if you play well, he will reward you with minutes. If you’re playing well, you’re helping your team on the floor and I’m happy with how things are going for me personally.”
This weekend, Leicester Riders return to BBL Championship matters against Surrey Heat at the John Sandford Sports Centre; however Anderson admits all he was thinking about following the Cup win was the night ahead.
“I’ve just said exactly the same thing to somebody else; firstly, we’re going to enjoy this right now. Then, for me, I will wake up tomorrow, go to the gym as usual and just focus on the rest of the season.”