GODFREY – Carlos Anderson is ready to roar. He’s going to become a Cougar.
Anderson, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior forward from Alton High has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The Cougars belong to the NCAA Division I Ohio Valley Conference.
“It’s absolutely a good fit for Carlos,” AHS coach Eric Smith said. “They’ve been going after him for a long time and it’s nice to know that somebody really wanted him. It’s also great that they could get an area kid.”
Anderson chose SIUE over Drake, UIC and Western Illinois. He visited the sprawling SIUE campus and liked what he saw, Smith said. Anderson also visited the UIC campus in Chicago. Former Lewis and Clark Community College coach Deon Thomas is an assistant coach for UIC.
“Carlos has a good relationship with the SIUE coaching staff and he was impressed with the visit,” Smith said. “He really likes it.”
The Cougars went 11-20 last season and finished 7-9 in the OVC. They qualified for the league tournament for the first time. Lennox Forrester will be starting his eighth season as SIUE’s head coach.
The 2014 schedule includes nonconference dates with SIUC (Dec. 3) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Dec. 20) and at Saint Louis University (Dec. 13).
Last season, Anderson averaged 10.4 points per game and 4.1 rebounds for the 22-6 Redbirds. However, he missed 15 games in the middle of the season after breaking his right index finger Dec. 26 at the Centralia Tournament.
“Carlos has worked hard in the off-season to expand his offensive game, whether he’s playing a wing or forward,” Smith said. “He’s a little under-appreciated because he’s a guy who tends to always make the right play.”
This summer, Anderson played for the Southwest Jets, an AAU team based out of St. Louis.
He averaged 11.2 ppg as a sophomore and 7.7 as a freshman. Anderson figures to be a key component of this year’s team that also includes 6-7 Bryan Hudson and forward Darrius Edwards. They are also returning starters.
“We’re pretty excited about this season because we have a good core of guys coming back,” Smith said.
Guards DeAntae McMurray (Southwestern Illinois College) and Michael Williams-Bey (Lewis and Clark Community College) are among the graduates, yet the Redbirds have ample talent returning.
“We have quality guys to step in for us and I expect us to be athletic and deep,” he said. “We’re pretty confident in the abilities we have on this team.”