Men’s basketball honors seniors
Dee and Anderson play final game in JCP
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Last Saturday marked the end of an era for University of San Diego men’s basketball. On that day, Feb. 14, the seniors played their last home game. Senior Day is always a special event for the fans, as they get one final chance to salute the players they have been cheering on for the past four years.
This particular Senior Day carried even more meaning, as the fans in the Jenny Craig Pavilion knew this was the last time they would be watching record-setting guards Johnny Dee and Christopher Anderson.
Unfortunately the team was not able to send the seniors out on a winning note, as they lost a heart-breaker to the St. Mary’s Gaels in double overtime.
Dee and Anderson both had success throughout the game, with Dee scoring 21 points and Anderson providing a great all-around performance that has become his trademark. Anderson finished with a stat line that is typical for him, logging nine points and five steals in addition to 11 assists. Saturday was the 36th time that Dee scored at least 20 points, and the 11th time that Anderson has had double digit assists in a game.
Dee, a four year starter, described the feeling before stepping on the court as bittersweet, as he knew the significance that came with playing in front of the home fans for the last time.
“I will miss having my family and my friends being able to come down to games,” Dee said. “It’s been a fun experience and one that I will remember.”
Senior Day also brought an end to forward Thomas Jacobs, guard Nick Kerr and center Simi Fajemisin’s playing days at the JCP. These players were honored before the game alongside Dee and Anderson. In a classy move that is common for Senior Day, head coach Bill Grier opted to start all five of his seniors.
Jacobs, a transfer from Cal State Northridge, spent the last two years playing under Coach Grier. He is a ferocious rebounder for the Toreros, and he had the best game of his career earlier this season in a win against BYU, putting up 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Fajemisin has played in 127 games during his time at USD, serving as a solid bench player and an imposing presence around the rim. This season Fajemisin is shooting 62 percent from the field, which is the best percentage of anyone on the team.
Kerr, who is the son of Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, has appeared in 39 games for the Toreros. He made his first career start in the Senior Day game against St. Mary’s.
Dee will go down as arguably the best player in program history, holding school records in points scored, three pointers made, and free throw percentage. He has averaged over 15 points per game during his USD career, and he is the only player in school history to score over 2,000 points. Despite all of his individual achievements, Dee is always quick to point out the importance of his teammates.
“My favorite thing about playing for USD has been the teammates I have had,” Dee said. “I feel very blessed to be a part of a team that is close.”
Anderson, the other record-setting senior, has had a remarkable career of his own.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Anderson said. “Especially the Gonzaga games; the gym is packed.”
He holds USD records for most career assists as well as most career steals. But if you look beyond those two stats, you find that Anderson is an extremely well-rounded player. He boasts a career average of 9.3 points per game to go along with 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals. While his backcourt mate Johnny Dee gets the recognition as a great shooter, Anderson holds a respectable 38 percent career average on three pointers. After the game, he reflected on his four years spent playing point guard for the Toreros.
“My favorite thing about playing for USD was all the support and encouragement I received,” Anderson said. “The boosters and alumni and fans all give great support, and it goes a long way knowing you have people rooting for you always.”
The Senior Day game was a great one, despite the losing result for the Toreros. It featured several intense moments down the stretch as the teams battled it out at the end of regulation and throughout both overtime periods. Afterward, head coach Bill Grier spoke about the intensity of his seniors’ last home game.
“What a crazy game, especially down the stretch,” Grier said. “We had a lot of opportunities to win it but just didn’t get it done, which is disappointing. It’s such a fine line between winning and losing. Our guys kept fighting and we played our tails off. I told them they have nothing to hang their heads about.”