ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester native and NCAA referee Jeffrey Anderson has reached the pinnacle of his profession, officiating each of the past three NCAA Final Fours.
“Honestly, it’s a humbling experience,” says Anderson.
But Anderson didn’t foresee his basketball career turning out this way. After graduating from Franklin High, he was content playing recreationally, that is, until a friend convinced him to go to a refereeing class.
“It was a natural thing for me when I went out on the court,” he says. “I don’t know why, I can’t tell you why, but I picked it up so fast. I haven’t looked back since.”
He’s gained notoriety not only for his performance but also because of the way he runs. There is a Jeffrey Anderson fan account on Twitter that lets people know when Anderson and his high knees are working a game. He says he only adopted his unique running style to make his chiropractor happy.
“People think it was some showboating and all this stuff, no, it really wasn’t,” says Anderson. “It was to try and help me, as far as my back goes, and take some pressure off my knees. You know I’ve been in games, I mean, major games, and guys will do it running up and down the court just to start off the game.”
Anderson still remembers getting nervous before his first time reffing at the Big House in Rochester before sectional championship games. Two years ago, he worked the National Championship Game, in front of nearly 70 thousand people.
“The stage is unbelievable. You stand there and say, ‘Hey man, this is what I worked for,'” says Anderson. “Sometimes there’s success. Sometimes we plateau at a certain level and when this is all over I’ll be one of the happiest guys in the world.”
Anderson is one of several collegiate referees from Rochester, including his son Joshua, who started working D1 games two years ago.