The following year Houston and Olajuwon and Anders were back in the Final Four but trouble was abrewing. Benny had temporarily quit the team and now he was at the far end of the vicious pine. Still, he arrived in Seattle duded out in a tuxedo with a smashing pink bow tie and cummerbund. What Anders wore to the semis, however, was, he claimed, "the wrong brand of sneakers," and that's why coach Guy Lewis did not put him in against Virginia.
In Houston's championship-game loss to Georgetown, Anders played briefly (10 minutes) and rallied the Cougars with his quickness, smarts and zest for combat. But, as he said, "This was a battle of the benches. How can the man [ Lewis] forget the athletes he has on the bench? I could have scored at will."
Nonetheless, as Benny lolled around the huddles, a banner was unfurled in the Kingdome stands, reading: BENNY ANDERS FOR PRESIDENT. Back at the hotel Anders met his constituency: two guys from Jackson, Ky.
A week later, one of the Kentuckians, John Gambill, received a package in the mail. Inside was Benny Anders's Phi Slamma Jamma warmup. "I'll never let it go," Gambill says. "But the best part was Benny in the flesh. We met the man behind the legend."
Anders sat out the '84-85 season at Houston with a knee injury. Then, in May, things took a turn for the worse. One day at Jeppesen Fieldhouse on the UH campus, he got into an argument with a fellow student "because the guy wanted to play basketball with Benny," according to prosecuting attorney Cheryl Turner, "and Benny didn't want to play. The argument got heated, and the other guy threw a [sprinter's] starting block at him." Anders went outside to his car, got a gun, returned and aimed the pistol at the guy who wanted to play basketball with him.
A university police officer arrived, and Anders ran off. Eventually, Benny returned and took the police to the weapon. Fully loaded and cocked, it lay in a gymnasium shower. Anders, sentenced to three years' probation, is still enrolled at Houston, and once in a while he showed up at a basketball game. "Finishing school, that's my main priority," he says. He is majoring in sociology and intends to graduate even if he doesn't play basketball, which he won't.
It is a shame, but wonders do cease. Benny Anders has sat on the vicious pine and taken it to the rack and worn a tuxedo with a pink bow tie and cummerbund and run for President at his last Final Four.