David Andersen keeps it simple as Melbourne United chase title win
David Andersen’s history of winning titles across the leagues of Europe has taught him a simple lesson about grand final games.
You must be up at the end.
It sounds silly compared to the complexity of professional basketball but the 37-year-old big man knows that is all that matters in a winner-takes-all game like Melbourne United’s NBL grand final decider against Adelaide 36ers at Hisense Arena on Saturday night.
Just like any others on the court, Andersen wants to win at home and it will be especially pleasing for the Frankston Blues product to claim his 12th professional title in front of his wife, children and numerous family members who attend Melbourne games.
Andersen will be doing all he can to be a difference maker during his minutes on the court as he also knows anyone can be the hero in such a pressurised setting.
“For me, it’s the best thing, it’s a big opportunity because you put it all out there, score more points than they do and you go home champs,” Andersen said.
“I look at it simply like that, you don’t have to get all complicated and look at scenarios and things like that – this is basketball, it’s Hisense Arena, hopefully it will be packed and everyone will be behind us, then we can go out and do something special.”
Andersen hasn’t played a big role in the finals or much of the season due to injuries and power forward Tai Wesley’s exceptional season but he has played some impressive cameos during the finals, including knocking down some pivotal baskets in the first three games.
While he has only averaged 13 minutes per game in the series, his plus/minus of +36 is among the best on either team and Wesley has battled an AC joint injury this week, so perhaps fate will see the four-time Olympian come to the fore this game.
Andersen, who will be the oldest player to win his first NBL championship should Melbourne win, said he would be ready to do whatever his side needed to claim the title.
“I’m making the most of my opportunities,” Andersen said.
“For me, it’s all about winning this championship and I want to be out there helping the guys, I’m hungry for that.”
Like fine wine, Andersen said his love of the game remains and while he is unsure what the future holds beyond Saturday night, he won’t be retiring anytime soon.
“When you have your crowd behind you and have people you love in the crowd supporting, you want to step your game up,” Andersen said.
“I’m not talking about retirement, if anything it’s the opposite and the body is holding together pretty tight so after this I’ll see what happens with contracts and stuff but for now it’s all about game five.”
Game five of the NBL grand final series is at Hisense Arena on Saturday at 6pm with SBS Viceland and Fox Sports showing it live.
By Roy Ward