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Originally published February 8, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 13, 2007 at 11:31 AM

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UW Men's Basketball | Anderson has been a Bear to stop

Like another Ryan Anderson, this one also stands 6 feet 10. But rather than hurl fastballs like the Ryan Anderson, the Mariners' touted...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Like another Ryan Anderson, this one also stands 6 feet 10.

But rather than hurl fastballs like the Ryan Anderson, the Mariners' touted prospect who tantalized fans for a few years, this one snatches rebounds and fires up three-pointers.

He's done so with such panache this season for the California Golden Bears that he has muscled his way into a contender for honors as the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year.

Anderson is the only freshman in the conference ranked in the top five in both scoring (fourth at 16.9) and rebounding (fifth at 8.4).

Huskies fans will get their first in-person look at Anderson tonight when Cal visits for a 7:30 p.m. game.

Containing Anderson, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds in California's win over UW in Berkeley last month, figures to be the key for the Huskies.

"We have to be more aware of where he is out there on the floor," said UW forward Jon Brockman.

Tonight

California @ UW, 7:30 p.m., FSN

You wouldn't think that would be hard to do considering Anderson's size -- he weighs 235 pounds.

But a lot of college coaches had trouble locating Anderson in high school, as well, and he arrived at Cal with little of the fanfare that greeted other Pac-10 freshmen, such as Washington's Spencer Hawes or Stanford's Brook and Robin Lopez.

"He just was under the radar," said USC's Tim Floyd of Anderson, who played at Oak Ridge High in El Dorado, Calif., about 30 miles northwest of Sacramento, which isn't exactly on the beaten path for college recruiters.

Anderson said he also thinks he was looked over a bit because he didn't play on any big-name AAU summer-league teams.

"I didn't really get a lot of looks," he said. "I wasn't on the most well-known teams."

College coaches also might have been thrown off when Anderson grew from a 6-5 guard as a sophomore to a 6-10 post player as a senior.

"I kind of developed an inside-outside presence [because of that]," said Anderson, who has hit 40 of 104 three-pointers this season.

Floyd found out about Anderson only when Anderson attended a USC summer camp.

"We didn't know who he was coming in," Floyd said. When the camp was over, Anderson was the only one of the 60 players that USC offered a scholarship to.

The Golden Bears knew about Anderson because he was local. The other school in Anderson's final three, he said, was Gonzaga. But shortly before he was scheduled to visit Gonzaga, Anderson took his official trip to Cal and decided that "I just really wanted to be close to my family."

He began the season playing primarily forward but moved to center when the Bears lost 7-foot junior DeVon Hardin to a stress fracture that could keep him out all year.

Against the Huskies, Anderson bulled his way through UW for the most rebounds anybody has grabbed against Washington this season.

"He was relentless on the boards," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

That made up for the fact that he was 0 for 6 from three-point range.

"I think my defensive presence was known in that game," he said. "I just really worked hard. The coaches really wanted me to contain Spencer Hawes and Brockman and keep them off the glass."

Led by Anderson, Cal outrebounded the Huskies 47-36, becoming the first team this year -- the only other was Arizona last Saturday -- to outboard UW.

Tonight he'll try to do it again in a game the Huskies consider a must-win.

UW is 14-8 overall but just 4-7 in Pac-10 play. If UW can beat California, it will pass the Bears and move into sole possession of seventh place, and more important, take the first of three straight home games that figures to determine if there is any real hope left of making the NCAA tournament as an at-large team. UW hosts Stanford on Sunday and Washington State on Wednesday.

Smith to redshirt

UW junior guard Joel Smith decided Tuesday night to redshirt this season rather than attempt to come back and play. Smith has been out all year with two fractures of his right foot, the second one occurring in November after he thought he had recovered fully from the initial break in the offseason.

Smith returned to practice this week, but Romar said "he's not 100 percent and he just felt like when he came back, he wanted to be healthy and 100 percent."

With just nine guaranteed games left, there wasn't enough time to left to get to 100 percent and make it worth it to play this year, Romar said.

Romar said Smith made the decision Wednesday morning.

Smith will have two years of eligibility remaining. Without him, UW will finish the season with just 10 players.

NOTES

• Hawes reinjured his sprained ankle late in the Arizona game, Romar said, but he should be fine for the game tonight.

• Romar said there could still be some changes to the starting lineup but he wouldn't decide until today.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. Read his blogs on Washington football and basketball at www.seattletimes.com/huskies.

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