Eric Anderson

eric-anderson-indystar
(Photo: IndyStar)

(Contributors: Dakota Thompson)

Eric Anderson Biography

Eric Walfred Anderson (1970-2018) was a basketball player born in Chicago, Illinois who played for Indiana University. He played the Power Forward position for the Hoosiers for four seasons between 1988 and 1992. He was a star player for St. Francis Desales High School in the Chicagoland area, and he was recruited by Bob Knight to play for the Indiana Hoosiers. In 1988, Eric Anderson won the award for Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois and was named as a McDonald’s All-American player.

  • Name: Eric Walfred Anderson
  • Position: Power Forward
  • Nationality: USA
  • Birthday: May 26, 1970
  • Deceased: December 9, 2018 (Age 48)
  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
  • High School: St. Francis de Sales (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Height: 6’9″ (206 cm)
  • Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
  • Seasons: 4 (1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1990-1991, 1991-1992)
  • Jersey: #32
  • Professional Team: New York Knicks (1992-1994)
  • NBA Draft: 1992 / Undrafted
  • Education: Sociology

Awards and Accolades

  • 1988 Illinois Mr. Basketball
  • 1988 McDonald’s All-American
  • 1989 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
  • 1990 Indiana Hoosiers Co-MVP
  • 1991 First-Team All-Big Ten
  • 2019 Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame

Eric Anderson High School Recruiting Profile

Eric Anderson was a Power Forward from Chicago, Illinois. He attended St. Francis de Sales High School, a private, Roman Catholic High school in the southeast side of the city. He was able to lead their basketball team to a second place finish at state in his final season at high school within the Class AA state tournament. The Pioneers finished 29-2 that season and Anderson averaged 28.8 ppg and 15.8 rebounds in his final six games of the season, each of which were against teams with 20 or more wins.

One of the most memorable moments of his career included remaining in the game after twisting his ankle against rival Chicago high school Simeon in the second quarter of the quarterfinal matchup. Despite injury, Eric Anderson stayed in the game and led the team to an overtime victory. In the finals, De Sales lost to East St. Louis Lincoln, who were ultimately responsible for both of De Sales’ losses that the season. 

Source: Chicago Tribune

In four seasons as a high school player, Anderson scored 2,164 points and had 1,153 rebounds. He was praised by many as a player that played with intensity and was always willing to improve his game. He was a coachable kid that wanted to do anything and everything for his coaches. He was not afraid to receive feedback or criticism, and he reacted well to coaching. Eric was recruited by Indiana coach, Bobby Knight in 1988.

He was the third Illinois Mr. Basketball award winner to cross state lines and play for Bob Knight. Before joining the collegiate ranks, Eric Anderson was rated No. 17 in the nation by Bob Gibbons

Eric Anderson Seasons with the Hoosiers

1988-1989 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (18th Season)
27-8 (15-3 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1989-1990 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (19th Season)
18-11 (8-10 Big Ten)
7th Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA First Round
1990-1991 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (20th Season)
29-5 (15-3 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1991-1992 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (21st Season)
27-7 (14-4 Big Ten)
🥈 2nd Place Big Ten
🥇 NCAA Final Four

Eric Anderson Indiana University Career Statistics

(Source: Sports Reference)

Season G MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1988-89 34 964 145 266 0.545 145 266 0.545 0 0 114 157 0.726 208 10 14 33 55 100 404
1989-90 29 957 182 339 0.537 180 332 0.542 2 7 0.286 107 147 0.728 202 24 10 16 64 80 473
1990-91 34 1039 175 345 0.507 174 341 0.510 1 4 0.250 115 165 0.697 243 38 26 51 53 89 466
1991-92 34 948 133 282 0.472 115 240 0.479 18 42 0.429 88 109 0.807 173 49 26 36 42 94 372
Total 131 3908 635 1232 0.515 614 1179 0.521 21 53 0.396 424 578 0.734 826 121 76 136 214 363 1715

Eric Anderson Indiana University Basketball Career

Starting in 1988, Anderson was already viewed highly by coach Bob Knight. He became the first freshman since Isiah Thomas in 1979 to start in his first game as a freshman. In his first game, he tallied eight points against Illinois State.

“Eric can shoot the ball, handle the ball, and pass it. I would say he will fit right in with everything we want to do.”

Indiana University Head Coach Bob Knight
Source: Indiana University Athletics

Anderson developed his ability to score as the season progressed and became a reliable option for the Hoosiers. He ended with an average of 11.9 points per game, which was the third highest on the team. Anderson then went on to win Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors after being a member of the Hoosier team that ended up winning the conference title in 1989.

As a sophomore, he was started to be viewed as one of the leaders on the team as there were not many upperclassmen. Their team was headlined by seven freshmen including Big Ten’s All-Time leading scorer Calbert Cheaney, who led the team with an 17.1 points per game that season. Anderson finished second on the team in scoring with 16.3 points per game and led with an average of 7 rebounds in each contest. With a younger team, the Hoosiers unfortunately struggled in to conference play with a final record of 18-11 overall and 8-10 in conference play. The Hoosiers were knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament by 9th-seeded University of California Berkeley in a disappointing two point loss.

During Eric Anderson’s junior season, the Hoosiers were expected to continue the development their young roster and add on to it with the recruitment of Damon Bailey. They ended up clinching a share of the Big Ten title with 15-3 in conference play. Calbert Cheaney continued to be the main offensive workhorse with 21.6 points per game, whereas Anderson dropped to 13.7 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. As more of a coach’s player, Anderson understood that his role as one of the primary offensive suppliers would transform into more facilitation-focused. With the team packed with scorers, Anderson’s new focus would be creating second chance opportunities and playing hard-nosed defense.

Source: Indiana University Athletics

In Anderson’s senior year, the Hoosiers led by his captaining had high expectations leading into the the season. However, they struggled with inconsistent play early in the season and lost to UCLA in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. Indiana went on to claiming a #2 seed and cruised through the first few rounds of the tournament beating Illinois State and a Shaquille O’Neal led LSU team 89-79.

After defeating Florida State in the 1992 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, Indiana faced UCLA in the Elite Eight. This time, they won in convincing fashion in one of the biggest blow-outs of the tournament 106-79. Indiana faced Duke in the NCAA Final Four, but ultimately could not pull out a victory, as Duke would go on to win their second-straight NCAA championship.

Anderson is one of four players in Indiana history to be ranked in the top 25 in points, top 10 in rebounds and top 10 in blocks with the other three being Alan Henderson, Ray Tolbert, and Juwan Morgan. Anderson left Indiana University with a total of 1,715 points and 826 rebounds as well as a degree in Sociology.

Eric Anderson Career after Indiana

Source: Endesabasketlover.com

Anderson entered the 1992-1993 NBA draft and went undrafted. He was added by the New York Knicks and played for them for two years. He was not of much utility as he played a combined 80 minutes over his two seasons and scored less than 2 points and rebounds per game. He was waived after his second season and went overseas for his career.

He went to Spain to play for Andorra and found success in his single season here with 13 points per game. He tried to come back to the United States and was not picked up by an NBA team so ultimately played for Fort Wayne. His career continued at Cagiva Varese (Italy), Galatasaray (Turkey), and Faber Fabriano (Italy) over 1996-1997. He played for Fort Wayne Fury one more season before ultimately retiring in 1998.

  • 1992-1994 Season: New York Knicks (NBA)
  • 1994-1995 Season: Andorra of Liga ACB
  • 1995-1996 Season: Fort Wayne Fury of the CBA
  • 1996 Season: Cagiva Varese of the LBA
  • 1996 Season: Galatasaray of the Turkish League
  • 1996-1997 Season: Fabriano (dissolved) 
  • 1997-1998 Season: Fort Wayne Fury of the CBA

Eric Anderson’s Family

Between 1998 and 2008, Eric Anderson was married to Tracy Anderson, who is an American fitness entrepreneur and author of fitness related books. She is most well known for her creation of the “Tracy Anderson Method” that features a custom diet and exercise plan that focuses on creating the body of a dancer. The 5-foot-0 picked up 40 pounds that was very tough to get back off until the creation of her fitness program.

Tracy Anderson mentioned that her method was developed when she was married to Eric Anderson and he was participating in a rehabilitation league in Puerto Rico due to Eric Anderson’s ailing back. During that time, she met a doctor who was attempting to reduce the strain on large muscle groups be targeting smaller, accessory muscles. As a result, her fitness program was created and inspired by that doctor’s work.

Tracy and Eric shared a son together, named Sam, who has his own clothing line that he has developed for his mom’s fitness brand.

Eric Anderson’s Death

On December 11, 2018, Eric Anderson was found to be dead at his house at the age of 48. His untimely death was attributed to natural, cardiac-related causes, specifically a heart attack. Friends close to him noted that he was being treated for a pneumonia and on occasion due to the increased stress on the body at the time, which could lead to cardiac pathology. Lost way too early, Eric Anderson and his legacy as an Indiana University Hoosier will be remembered by fans forever.

Eric Anderson recognized during the 1991-1992 team reunion. (Photo: IUHoosiers)

Eric Anderson Highlights and Videos

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