ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It was a March Madness Sweet 16 game in 2016.
Thomas Bryant was leading Indiana to a win over Kansas.
The Rochester connection on that court was notable.
Bryant was from Rochester, of course.
So was one of the referees, Jeff Anderson.
Lyonel Anderson was also there as a coach and trainer for Indiana.
Anderson had played basketball, football and baseball for Wilson Magnet High School and shined in all of them.
He had gone on to play football for, of all places, Kansas then went on for a stint in the NFL.
Now living in Houston, Anderson still comes home to help out with local camps for Rochester kids.
That’s where Adam Chodak caught up with him to talk about his inspiration message.
Adam: What time at Wilson …
Anderson: Yeah, it was a run. The best part about it is we grew up together. And every other school they grew up together … so we all knew what was coming, it was just a matter of us becoming seniors and playing it out and seeing what happened. And I remember playing the War Memorial like it was yesterday.
Adam: And in that Sweet 16 game, huge Rochester connection in that game.
Anderson: Oh, big connections! We had myself, Thomas Bryant, Jeffery Anderson on the court at the same time. It was amazing and one of those things I won’t forget. Jeff remembers it, Thomas remembers it. In the moment we were just doing our best to keep it business, but man that was pretty cool because I remember when Jeff reffed our games at the Boys and Girls Club on Genesee Street and Thomas grew up playing ball at the Boys and Girls Club so that’s full circle.
Adam: Where did this motivation come from? Obviously, it started before high school.
Anderson: It started with my parents. My mom is a big motivator, she would always tell me stuff like, “They have theirs, you try to get yours.” And she would always keep me humble.
Adam: You make time to come back and talk to the kids who are playing on the same streets that you played on?
Anderson: They need to see that they can keep it out of the muck. They can make it out of it. Because anybody can lead when it’s 70 and sunny, but most people can’t lead when it’s dark and rainy outside and that’s where I want to show them how to do that.