Anderson poses with his ROBY merchandise in a German store - Dwayne Anderson II
Former Villanova swingman Dwayne Anderson II became one of the hardest-working basketball players in recent memory, and that has followed him to his pro career in Germany as well as his side-business, Rock Out Be You.
You might not remember Dwayne Anderson's freshman or sophomore years in college. He arrived at Villanova in time for the 2005-06 season but he was only sparingly used that year, and the year after. What you will remember is the junior and senior seasons where Anderson transformed into a key player for the Wildcats who could do a little of everything and brought a high motor and motivation to the court.
Now, Anderson is in his fourth season of professional basketball in Europe, playing for S.Oliver Baskets in Wurzburg, Germany, and in his free time, he works to build a t-shirt and apparel brand called Rock Out Be You, or ROBY.
"Playing for Coach Wright really helped the transition [to pro basketball]," he explained. "He helped groom me into a man that does not give excuses. Many Nova fans know how my career went at Nova, not playing the first two years and almost transferring."
The professional game in Germany isn't a huge adjustment from Anderson's roots.
"The game is not that much different to me, especially playing in the Big East, each game is very physical. In college, guys are given scholarships, so you know everyone has talent and potential. The only difference now is that in college you are a little bit more spoiled and professionals receive a check."
Anderson has been lucky to see a few familiar faces over in Germany. Reggie Redding, who joined him on the 2009 Final Four team, and Allan Ray are both playing in the German league this season as well. Despite playing for three different teams, they remain friends.
"[Redding] is like my little brother, and I am a big fan of the way he plays the game. After he made a great play he turned to our bench, looked directly at me and said 'that's a Villanova Guard.'
"A-Ray's team ended up beating us by a few points, and we also spoke some after the game. I told him when he comes to our arena I will have my fiance cook him a nice home cooked meal . . . if my team wins.
"It's always a pleasure to run into the Nova guys; once a Wildcat always a Wildcat."
Ray's team is at the top of the league table early on this season with a 6-1 record, but there are plenty of games left and Anderson believes that his team is capable of winning a championship this year.
"We are 3-4 and in all of the four games we lost, we ended up losing by just a few points in under a minute of play," he explained. "That has been a bit frustrating, but the Nova fans know what type of player I am, and I will keep pushing and fight to win every game.
"My personal goal is to help the team try to win each and every game."
In the midst of his work on the court, he has launched a t-shirt brand that has grown quickly since inception. The ROBY shirts can now be purchased online, and Anderson has worked to get his product into German stores. Recently, they have had the shirts on sale at the arena for S.Oliver Baskets games and they will soon be available for sale on-campus at Villanova.
Though the brand seems very calculated today, it didn't start out that way.
"ROBY - Rock Out Be You was kind of started by mistake," Anderson explained. "My buddy Vincent Scollo called me and said he had an idea of a brand: ROBU - rock out be u. I laughed, and said that it did not make sense. Over time, I thought about it, and came up with 'ROBY'. We made some shirts on a whim while walking around the mall and within just minutes people were stopping us to ask what ROBY was.
"People love the idea and concept... and here we are."
The response was strong enough that they launched for real in July 2012, and Anderson has worked hard to build credibility for his brand. Along the way, he has had a little bit of help from his friends as well.
"My basketball career has definitely helped me to form relationships that have been key in jumpstarting this brand," he noted. "I have benefited from contacts at Villanova University, and players and coaches from both the NCAA and the European leagues. The American and European fans have also been so supportive of the ROBY movement. I have also been in contact with a gentleman (basketball player turned businessman) from Philly who could really help take the ROBY brand to the next level."
"Several NBA players and college coaches have been part of the ROBY movement: Randy Foye, Ty Lawson, Dante Cunningham, Brandon Roy, John Thompson III, Tom Crean, Coach Wright, and the list goes on."
Anderson has channelled his desire for success on the court into a drive for success in the business arena as well. Rock Out Be You (ROBY) is more than a hobby for the S.Oliver Baskets scoring leader.
Despite being busy with his playing career and side business, he always takes the time to check in with his alma mater -- even though he spends the entire basketball season six hours ahead of Philadelphia.
"I will always follow Villanova Basketball!! I sometimes even stay up to watch some games.
"This year's team I believe will surprise the Big East. These young guys are hungry and want to get better."