#St. John’s Mike Anderson roots on daughter Yvonne

#St. John’s Mike Anderson roots on daughter Yvonne

Mike Anderson’s alarm clock is set. His Monday began earlier than most.

Before the sun rose, he and his wife Marcheita plan to be in front of their television set eagerly anticipating the next few hours.

Their 31-year-old daughter, Yvonne, is playing for the Serbian women’s national basketball team in Tokyo, and making her Olympic debut for the country from which she recently gained dual citizenship.

“Where she goes, I go. We’ll be wide awake at 4:30 in the morning,” the St. John’s coach told The Post in a phone interview Sunday. “To see her at this stage, for me and my wife, it’s amazing what she’s done. We’re talking about the whole world. These are all the countries being represented and you have a daughter that’s participating in it, that tells me she’s special.”

The youngest of Anderson’s three children, Yvonne became the one to have a professional basketball career. A point guard like her father was, she played four seasons at Texas, averaging 8.1 points and 2.8 assists per game, and has been playing professionally overseas since 2013, with stints in Sweden, Luxembourg, Turkey, Greece and Italy.

"To have a daughter that has an opportunity to participate in it is kind of mind-boggling," Anderson said.
St. John’s coach Mike Anderson (c.) his daughter Yvonne (l.) and his wife Marcheita.
Courtesy of Anderson family

The Serbian coach, Marina Maljkovic, was her coach in the Turkish Women’s Basketball League in 2016-17 and invited the 5-foot-9 Yvonne to play for Serbia. She began playing for the country last November in an Olympic qualifying tournament.

In the EuroBasket Championship final last month, she scored a team-high 18 points in a victory over France. She averaged 14 points in the tournament after playing for Reyer Venezia in the top division in Italy. A bronze medalist in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Serbia, which faced Canada on Monday, is in Group A with Spain, South Korea and the Canadian team.

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“I’m so proud of her and excited for her. You’re talking about a spectacular event where the whole world gets a chance to participate,” Anderson said. “To have a daughter that has an opportunity to participate in it is kind of mind-boggling. It didn’t dawn on me until she sent me a picture of her at the opening ceremonies. Kids always have dreams of doing things, playing in the NBA [and the WNBA], playing college basketball, but you never fathom to have an opportunity to play in the Olympics. That’s pretty unique.”

Yvonne Anderson
AFP via Getty Images

Basketball has been a part of Yvonne her entire life. She was born a few weeks before her father would help Arkansas reach the Final Four as an assistant coach. She always played against the boys, in baseball and basketball, and had the same tenacious, take-no-prisoners style on the court that made her father a strong college player and later a top coach. She’ll tell her father she’s a better shooter than he is, which he admitted is probably true, and will put her coaching hat on occasionally to try to help him during the season.

“Each year she has continued to elevate her game. She’s a serious ballplayer,” Anderson said. “The thing I’m proud of is she’s done it her way. She’s done her own thing. Nobody’s given her anything. She’s worked at it.”

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