Lynn Tech basketball coach Marvin Avery felt in his heart he would be getting a phone call soon from Antonio Anderson, with the message that he had been expecting to hear.
Avery knew that his former star player at Tech had been excelling for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA Developmental League, having been selected to play in the league’s All-Star game earlier this month. Avery also understood that NBA scouts were keeping tabs on Anderson’s continuing progress for the Vipers.
Avery’s cell phone rang Saturday afternoon and that’s when Anderson told his former coach and long-time mentor that he would be signing a contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA on Monday.
“I’m just so excited for Antonio and not only for the Lynn Tech program but for the whole city of Lynn,” said Avery. “He’s been through a lot of adversity and the hard work paid off. It’s just very special to see one of my players out of my program go to the National Basketball Association.”
In the pre-season Anderson was the last player cut by the Charlotte Bobcats. He was the first player chosen by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, an affiliate of the Houston Rockets.
“I just told him to keep working hard and we felt that something was going to happen after the All-Star break,” said Avery. “Sure enough, it did and he got the phone call from the Thunder. Good things happen to good people.”
Anderson played three seasons under Avery at Lynn Tech, helping to lead the Tigers to the 2002 Division 3 state championship. After attending prep school, Anderson earned a basketball scholarship from Memphis University. At Memphis, the 6-foot-6-guard became a starting player and helped the Tigers advance to the NCAA Division 1 national championship game.
Avery hopes that Anderson will be with the Thunder for the remainder of the season. The Thunder, who have one of league’s rising stars in Kevin Durant, play the Boston Celtics on March 31 at the TD Garden.