By Josh Brown
TROY — For some players, deciding which college to commit to takes years of research and recruiting calls.
For Troy Christian’s James Anderson, attending one game sealed it.
Anderson — the Eagles’ 6-foot-9, 200-plus-pound senior center — signed his National Letter of Intent on Thursday afternoon to play basketball for the University of Saint Francis, an NAIA Division II college in Fort Wayne, Ind., after making a verbal commitment to the school just last week.
“It feels great,” Anderson said. “I went to one of their games, saw their atmosphere and just fell in love. It felt like I was at home when I was there, so I knew it was the right place for me.”
Anderson, who also was considering nearby Cedarville University — where another former Eagle, Grant Zawadzki, currently plays — as well as Davenport University in Michigan, said he plans on studying business in college. And when it came down to it, the fan support that the Cougars — who are currently ranked No. 3 in the latest NAIA D-II poll and are 22-5 this season — enjoy was the deciding factor.
“I like the campus a lot. It’s just a gorgeous place,” Anderson said. “But at that game, I just saw their fans and how behind their team they are. Seeing them cheer the team on, it’s 100 percent every game. It’s a very exciting atmosphere, and I can’t wait to play in it.”
Saint Francis coach Chad LaCross can’t wait to have Anderson playing in it, either.
“Obviously, we were in need of a big guy,” LaCross said. “We love James’ size, his footwork, his hands. I think he can have an immediate impact on our program. And just getting to know him over the last year, he’s just a great young man as well.
“He’ll be an outstanding addition to our program, and we’re looking forward to having him. The impact that he can have right away is exciting.”
Anderson becomes the seventh Troy Christian player to move on to the next level during coach Ray Zawadzki’s tenure. Earlier this season, he also became the second Eagle ever to break the 1,000-point barrier during his career, with the milestone coming in a 44-42 victory over Dayton Christian that gave the Eagles sole possession of the Metro Buckeye Conference lead — which they will put on the line Friday night at home against Legacy Christian for Senior Night. The Eagles are currently 17-2 overall, having won 13 straight games, and 11-1 in MBC play.
Anderson is currently second in the MBC in both scoring and rebounding with 18.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
“James is the seventh player since I’ve been here at Troy Christian (to sign to play in college), and we’re very excited about that,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “James is just continuing the tradition of Troy Christian basketball, and he’s very deserving. He’s put in a lot of time and a lot of energy to get better at his craft, and today he got to sign and reap the benefit of all that hard work.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.