"It was a great town, a small community that was family oriented," said Anderson, who was inducted into the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night at the Casino-in-the-Park in Jersey City. "Everyone knew each other in Weehawken. I was from the Heights section, but I could go anywhere in Weehawken and know someone. It was a great place to grow up. I'm still all about Weehawken."
A basketball legend
Anderson was a basketball legend in the township and is considered one of the best players to ever come out of the town.
He was the first player to ever reach the 1,000-point plateau at Weehawken High School during his tenure from 1965-68. As a junior in 1967, Anderson helped the Weehawken Indians secure its first and only HCIAA championship, defeating Snyder in the title game, scoring a team-high 16 points in the win in the Jersey City Armory.
The Indians, coached by fellow Hudson Hall of Famer Warren Buehler, went all the way to the NJSIAA Group III title game, where they unfortunately lost to Lakewood in the championship game. Anderson had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Lakewood and averaged about 14 points per game that season.
Anderson then followed his junior season up with a tremendous senior year, setting a new single season Hudson County scoring record by averaging 30.9 points per game, a record that stood until fellow Hudson Hall of Famer Dan Callandrillo broke it in 1978. He scored 50 points in one game against Union Hill, the fourth highest single game total in Hudson County history.
"Those are all great memories," Anderson said. "There were so many great basketball players in Hudson County at that time. I was proud that the record stood for as long as it did. I was also proud of the team accomplishments, being part of the only county champion ever in Weehawken."
With his brilliant senior year, Anderson was named First Team All-County and All-State and even earned Street & Smith's All-America honors.
After graduating from Weehawken, Anderson first took his talents to Jacksonville University, where he played just one season of freshman basketball, averaging 27 points per game.
However, after one year at Jacksonville, Anderson had to return home to Weehawken upon the death of his father. He came home to play at nearby St. Peter's College and had a great career with the Peacocks (1970-73), scoring 984 points during his three years at SPC under Hall of Fame coach Don Kennedy.
"I had to come home, but I was fortunate to play at St. Peter's, which was close to home," Anderson said. "Playing at St. Peter's was great for me. I had some great opportunities there."
Anderson had some memorable games for the Peacocks, including a 37-point explosion against Fordham and a 31-point outing against Providence College, featuring Marvin Barnes and Ernie DeGregorio.
After college, Anderson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Condors of the ABA, had a tryout with the Atlanta Hawks and was even invited to have a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, even though Anderson never played organized football.
"I knew that I didn't want to get hurt," Anderson said. "I didn't want to even try that."
'A Hudson County guy'
Anderson was briefly a teacher in Jersey City before settling on career with the police department of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, remaining with the PA until his retirement in 1999.
"I spent [my entire] career at the Holland Tunnel," Anderson said. "So I grew up in Hudson County, played basketball in Hudson County in high school and college and worked in Hudson County my whole life. I'm truly a Hudson County guy. This was a great honor for me. I have a lot of great memories of my days as a basketball player. It's a great feeling and a great honor and I really appreciate it."
Anderson was one of 15 of Hudson County's all-time great athletes/coaches to gain induction this year. He became the seventh Weehawken native to earn induction, with Howard Wolf last year and Danny Gabbianelli (2002) as the prior two Weehawken inductees.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org