Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Heart Exam: Landus Anderson

When I first began this column, I mindlessly titled it "Heart Exam" to highlight fantasy NBA players who have achieved a certain level of "heart" that's not apparent when only looking at the stat sheets. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing because that makes no sense whatsoever. So in recent weeks, Heart Exam has shifted focus to basketball players who have gained success by raising their motivation/will/desire to a whole new level. To sum that all up, that's "heart."

Recent recipients of my Heart Exam included Ryan Anderson, Nicolas Batum, and of course, Jeremy Lin. Besides showing tremendous heart, these three players all had the common thread of being NBA players. This week, I want to highlight a player who has not made it to the pro level yet. As a matter of fact, he's not even in college. This kid really is still a kid, but the passion and love that he shows in his game overshadows his age.

Meet Landus Anderson.
At age 16, 6'4, and 170 pounds, Landus Anderson has the prototypical basketball physique. On the court, he's one of the quickest players in Florida. Averaging 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.5 blocks a game, Landus is easily the best player on his high school varsity team. Coaches and scouts alike have heralded Landus as one of those talents that come around every 20 or 30 years. With all the success and recognition, Landus is indeed a rare talent but that's before you realize he's accomplishing all of this with only his left arm.
During childbirth, Landus suffered permanent paralysis to his right arm due to Erb's Palsy. In an interview, Landus recounts about his injury, "I had broad shoulders. I almost got stuck. Doctors pulled me out by my right arm and disconnected nerves from my spinal cord." Having no control of his fingers and lower right arm, Landus has seen his arm atrophied, but that hasn't stopped him. When asked if he views himself as disabled, he remarks, "I hate that word. I don't see myself as disabled. I'm just as good as anyone else in my eyes, and I strive to be better."

Opponents who know Landus' weakness (going right) still have trouble keeping him in front of them. While most players shoot one-handed shots no further than 7-8 feet from the basket, Landus is shooting 20-foot three-pointers with only his left hand. To say that Landus has heart would be barely scratching the surface of a young man poised to achieve his goals. On one of Landus' Facebook pictures, he writes the caption: "Hustling isn't a talent, it's a desire."

Landus Anderson, you are more than a great story. You're an inspiration, a blessing, and a gift to all who have seen your desire, passion, and love played out on the court. You are living proof of what makes sports so emotional and captivating, and for this week, you have captivated the hearts of us at Gym Class All Stars.

Photos and video courtesy of


touching post. got a soft spot for those who have overcome a lot. :)

Nice story - I think he'll get a chance in D-1. There was another guy a few years ago with one hand who made it - Kevin Laue:

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