Found: College Basketball Star Who Vanished 30 Years Ago

Benny 'the Outlaw' Anders discovered by filmmaker in Detroit area
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2016 10:22 AM CDT
Updated Oct 8, 2016 4:35 PM CDT

In the 1980s, the University of Houston's Cougars basketball team—aka the Phi Slama Jamas—made their way into three Final Fours. The player described by the Houston Chronicle as "one of the more flamboyant members" has now been found in the Detroit area by a filmmaker, three decades after he disappeared from the public eye. Sports Illustrated reports on Benny "the Outlaw" Anders, the subject of an ESPN "30 for 30" documentary directed by Chip Rives to come out later this fall, and it's such a shocking development that the SI headline reads: "Benny Anders is alive!" Anders was one of college basketball's "enduring mysteries" after he was benched in 1985, quit the team, came back a few weeks later, and then fell off the map after whipping out a gun during a fight with a classmate; he was sentenced to three years' probation for that incident, per a 2013 SI article.

And as the current SI article notes, he didn't go back to his hometown of Bernice, La., or keep in touch with teammates or relatives. Instead, he became what SI says was "a jheri-curled version of a phantom." "It's like he turned the lights out on his existence," an ex-Houston player says in the documentary. But Rives, with the help of former teammate and ex-Chicago cop Eric Davis, followed a bunch of leads until they tracked him down in a rental apartment outside of Detroit. The SI reveal doesn't tell much about Anders' current state of affairs, other than noting he works in a local restaurant and "looks good … weighing far less than 350 pounds, as was rumored." Fans will have to wait for the ESPN movie to find out more. (No good news for this former college basketball coach.)

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