One-handed Florida hoops star impresses and inspires teammates and foes

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Jim Abbott made athletes with one hand believe anything was possible, throwing a no-hitter and emerging as one of baseball's more reliable starters in a decorated career. Now a Florida high school star is trying to do the same thing for one-armed basketball players, and he might just be achieving that goal.

As reported by the Associated Press and a variety of other outlets, Tallahassee (Fla.) Florida High junior Landus Anderson leads his team in scoring, averaging 19 points per game. He also pulls down eight rebounds in an average game and has been a part of the Seminoles varsity squad since his freshman season.

Most impressively, Anderson has done it all without a right hand, a disability he has had since birth. The teen suffers from a condition called Erb's palsy, which left no control of his fingers on his right hand, which has been left withered.

"I wish I could go right, go right with my right arm," Anderson told the AP. "I think I'm pretty good how I am, with what I have."

What he has might even be enough to land Anderson a college scholarship. The 6-foot-4 teen used his blazing speed and court vision to lead his AAU squad, Team Florida Extreme, to the Team Nike AAU tournament's semifinals in 2011. He also led his AAU team in scoring and assists, averaging 21.5 points and eight assists per game.

Florida High junior basketball star Landus Anderson — Associated Press
Florida High junior basketball star Landus Anderson — Associated Press

His AAU coach, for one, is absolutely convinced that Anderson will succeed at the next level.

"A kid like Landus and his ability to play basketball, they come through every 20 or 30 years," said Curtis Miller, a veteran AAU coach who had Anderson on his 16-and-under Team Florida Extreme that played 30 games across the southeast last summer. "He's a talent. He can shoot outside, he can take it inside, he can overpower you skill wise, has basketball IQ. The sky is the limit." […]

"He'll have no problem playing at the next level," Miller said. "It's hard work, dedication. This kid is the total package."

No matter where he goes next, Anderson is sure to keep inspiring as long as he keeps the attitude and approach he has always brought to the basketball court.

"He gets the ball off the rim and is out and gone, running past people down the floor," Florida High coach Al Blizzard told the AP. "You're not going to stop him in the open court, I don't care what level you're on."

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