While the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team has been traveling overseas and playing exhibition games, one future Wolverine has been putting on a show on the other side of the world as well.
Michigan’s lone 2024 commit, point guard Christian Anderson Jr., helped lead Germany to a gold medal in Division B of the FIBA U16 European Championship over the last 10 days.
The young point guard did confirm that Juwan Howard and the Wolverines reached out to congratulate him on winning the medal.
“It feels great (to win) because Germany hasn’t won a gold medal in a long time,” Anderson Jr. told Maize n Brew Sunday evening. (When speaking specifically of FIBA U16 European Championships, Germany has only ever won gold in Division B two other times, and that was in 2005 and 2008). “I think it was a great moment and a great experience to be able to be a part of that, and be able to be one of the main people on the German team.”
The future Michigan point guard was named MVP of the tournament, scoring double-digit points in every game and averaging 16.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 57.1% from the field and 60% from three over eight games.
Anderson Jr. was super consistent from beyond the arc, hitting everything from quick corner threes to flashy step-backs. He dictated the pace of the game, and did a great job navigating screens, getting his teammates involved and scoring near the free-throw line when he couldn’t get to the bucket.
Christian Anderson (16.5 PPG & 2.8 APG at #FIBAU16Europe Div B) will return from his Euro trip with a gold medal and an MVP crown. Outstanding shooter (24-40 3P in 8 games), has been exceptionally efficient all over the floor (57.1%) while throwing dimes more often than not. pic.twitter.com/eaHZAxEF2J— CBB Europe (@CBB_Europe) August 21, 2022
For as young as he is, he has a knack for knowing when to pick his spots and knowing when to slither through the defense, when to pull up and when to pass to a cutter.
Anderson Jr. is not the quickest player in the world, but he does a great job keeping defenders guessing on his start-and-stop drives after a few dribbles. He makes the whole defense move with his dribble and knows when to attack and when to facilitate, similar to what we see out of young NBA guards like Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers and Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons.
Christian Anderson Jr. came to the rescue when Germany needed him the most: the Michigan commit scored or assisted on 18 of the last 20 points made by the team in a comeback win over Sweden in the #FIBAU16Europe Div B qtr finals. Absolutely bonkers 5' stretch. @chrisanders2024 pic.twitter.com/HekUW08uQt— CBB Europe (@CBB_Europe) August 18, 2022
When asked about his improvements over the past year, Anderson Jr. feels like he’s becoming a much better in terms at dictating the pace of the game with his ball handling. During his time with the German team, he got used to the physical style of play and started to embrace it.
“I’ve always played patient like as a style of play, but over the past couple of years I’ve been able to handle pressure better,” Anderson Jr. said. “My shooting, I’ve improved that and my playmaking. And while in Europe, I feel like I’ve also improved my ball handling, because of the foul calls — they let us get away with a lot of stuff that they don’t usually do in the U.S., so that’s helped me, too.”
Listed as the 77th-best recruit and the 12th-best point guard in his class on the 247Sports composite, Anderson Jr. says he’s put on 15 pounds of muscle over the summer and certainly feels a lot stronger.
“Me and my dad, we’ve been working in the weight room over the summer,” Anderson Jr. said. “Before heading out to Germany and Bulgaria to play all these games, me and my dad have spent a lot of time in the weight room and I’ve been putting on pounds. We have meal plans with the German staff, they have people to help us eat (healthy) and stuff like that, that’s helped me a lot.”
Anderson’s dad said they are trying to get to a few more camps before the school year kicks off. He also said he and his son plan to head to Michigan for his first official visit soon, since he’s starting his junior year of high school.
Anderson Jr. has stayed humble and feels this summer was huge for his development. Not many high schoolers start their first day of the school year with a gold medal and an MVP honor from an international tournament.
“I feel like I’ve improved as a basketball player over the summer,” Anderson Jr. said. “I’ve been doing good but there’s always room for improvement on my game. But overall, I think it was a really fun experience, playing Nike Sessions and going to Germany and playing in the European championships. They were lifetime experiences, so I think it was a great time and I got to see a lot of countries I’ve never seen before, it’s surreal.”