ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The NCAA men’s basketball championship game is Monday night and a Rochester native will be front and center.
Referee Jeff Anderson will be among the officiating crew for the game between North Carolina and Kansas, which is set to tip-off at 9:20 p.m. EDT.
NCAA officials announced Friday that Anderson was among the referees selected for the Final Four and title games. This marks the fifth time Anderson has been selected to officiate a Final Four.
The local ref 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.
In a 2020 interview with News 8’s AJ Feldman, Anderson said he 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 said. “I don’t know why, I can’t tell you why, but I picked it up so fast. I haven’t looked back since.”
Anderson said he still remembers getting nervous before his first time reffing at the Big House in Rochester before sectional championship games. A few years ago, he worked the National Championship Game, in front of nearly 70,000 people.
“The stage is unbelievable. You stand there and say, ‘Hey man, this is what I worked for,’” says Anderson. “Sometimes there’s a 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.
In a 2017 interview with News 8 anchor Adam Chodak, Anderson said that when he wasn’t traveling spends his time in Rochester working with kids through CYO, AAU, and the Boys and Girls Club. He also said he remained involved with local officiating through the Rochester Basketball Officials Board 60.
“This is where I grew up, this is where I belong,” Anderson said.