"They don't know me. They don't know what I'm capable of." Diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, a form of autism, as a toddler, Anthony Ianni wasn't expected to succeed in school or participate in sports, but he had other ideas. As a child, Ianni told anybody who would listen, including head coach Tom Izzo, that he would one day play for the Michigan State Spartans.
Centered: Autism, Basketball, and One Athlete's Dreams is the firsthand account of a young man's social, academic, and athletic struggles and his determination to reach his goals. In this remarkable memoir, Ianni reflects on his experiences with both basketball and the autism spectrum. Centered, an inspirational sports story in the vein of Rudy, reveals Ianni to be unflinching in his honesty, generous in his gratitude, and gracious in his compassion.
Sports fans will root for the underdog. Parents, teachers, and coaches will gain insight into the experience of an autistic child. And everyone will triumph in the achievements of Centered.
Foreword, by Tom Izzo
Prologue: The Bres
1. "We Are Okemos"
2. The Diagnosis
3. That Anthony Kid
4. Talking to Nobody
5. Pushing My Buttons
7. Grandpa Nick
8. Hating to Lose
9. On the Banks of the Red Cedar
10. "Do Those Impressions"
11. "We Want to Tell You a Story"
15. Instant Classic
17. On Campus
18. The Streak
19. Sophomore Slump
21. Getting Back Up
22. Sitting Out
23. The Jersey
24. "I'm Screwed Up"
25. The Carl Vinson and the Garden
26. The Big Ten
27. Tournaments and Awards
"Both authors did an amazing job in writing a book that is a definite resource for parents, students, schools, hospital workers and everyone to understand Autism Spectrum."~Fran Lewis, Book Pleasures
"Centered is a captivating and uplifting story about pursuing dreams, pushing through difficult times, and reaching one's full potential. Anthony Ianni's story shows what can happen when young people and their families hold themselves to the highest standard of accountability."~Nick Saban, Head Football Coach, University of Alabama
"Anthony Ianni is such an inspirational success story, and his new book provides tremendous motivation and practical experience in how to adapt, overcome and achieve, despite the obstacles. Anthony's story provides a thoughtful and influential guide to doing your best and being your best self, no matter what."~Jay Bilas, ESPN College Basketball Analyst
"Anthony loved sports ever since he was a little kid and he did not let autism hold him back. He was bullied and classes were really difficult for him. He succeeded in earning his degree and playing college basketball. When he talks to students at schools, he tells them to chase every dream and to work hard."~Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures
"Everyone will benefit from reading Anthony's first-hand account of living life on the autism spectrum. They say you can never judge a book by its cover, and he is the perfect example of that. You look from the outside and he is a tall, athletic, accomplished athlete, husband and father. You assume his struggles have been minimal, which in fact could not be more inaccurate. He has, with the tireless efforts from his family and friends, overcome daily struggles to live a 'normal' life, and he continues to do so with great resiliency. His willingness to be the face of autism is brave, and this book shows you what that REALLY means."~Allie LaForce, Sports Reporter, TNT
"Anthony Ianni's story reminds me of my journey growing up. It was very inspirational and encouraging to know that I am not the only one. With all of the hard work and great support of family, kids like us can accomplish anything we want to do in life. Anthony's story is a great example of how to navigate difficult issues in life while being impacted by autism."~Armani Williams, first NASCAR driver with Autism
"If the general reader is deeply moved by Ianni's story, parents of autistic children, and the children themselves, will find Ianni's story a source of boundless, manifold inspiration."~Alan Moores, Booklist (starred)
"Enlightening. Uplifting. Motivating. Just a few words that come to mind while poring through the body of work that is Centered. Anthony Ianni's story is one that demonstrates how we can all walk into our purpose despite the limitations that others may try to place on us. Ianni teaches us that there's only one person who can hold us back from our goals and dreams. That person being the one who stares back at you in the mirror."~Al Martin, host of "Current Sports," WKAR-TV / Radio
"An exceptionally well written, inherently fascinating, impressively candid, memorable and inspiring memoir. Centered: Autism, Basketball, and One Athlete's Dreams is especially and unreservedly recommended, especially for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography collections."~Able Greenspan, Midwest Book Review
"Centered is both a captivating triumph of the human spirit and a testament to people behind the scenes who guided Ianni in his journey without a roadmap or manual for how to help him."~Brenda Ortega, MEA Voice
Writer's Digest feature: 8 Tips for Co-Writers to Create an Authentic Voice for Their Book
WKAR Public Media feature: Profiles The "Rudy Of MSU"
Fox 2 Detroit interview: Former MSU Basketball Center Anthony Ianni Releases New Book, Centered
SLAM Magazine feature: Anthony Ianni, the First D-I College Basketball Player with Autism, Describes His Journey
WRTV Indianapolis feature: Book details Anthony Ianni's journey as college basketball player with autism
Writers' Voices interview: Anthony Ianni - Centered
New Books Network interview: New Books in Sports
Irish Examiner article: "Why Didn't You Tell Me?"
Golden State Media Concepts Book Review Podcast: "Episode 337: Interview with Anthony Ianni"