Making it official
By Matt Tasler firstname.lastname@example.org
After helping to lead the Cleburne Yellow Jackets
to the Class 4A, Region II quarterfinals, Cleburne senior Ethan Anderson
will take his game to the next level in the fall.
Anderson, a 6-3 guard-forward who was the District 16-4A and All-Johnson
County most valuable player, signed a letter of intent to play
basketball at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.
“It’s a lot of stress off my chest,” Anderson said. “I feel
Anderson said schools started calling him before the basketball season,
when he was still playing football.
“I visited Dallas Baptist,” Anderson said. “That was it. There
wasn’t a lot, but it was like peer pressure [to sign]. It was real
Former Cleburne basketball coach Lyle Lackey said Anderson has put in
countless hours of work to get to this point.
“It was one of Ethan’s goals and it’s something I give him a lot
of credit for,” Lackey said. “He never really put that at the
forefront. He just said, ‘Coach, I just want to play and do the best
for my teammates. I want to be a good teammate and help this program
out.’ Because of that it’s like what we always said — and what
Coach [Jeff] Cody has always said — if your team has recognition, then
individuals get recognized. I feel like the last couple of years, with
the success we’ve had with the program, going to the playoffs the last
couple of years and Ethan being a big part of that, our team has gotten
great recognition and he’s gotten recognized by college coaches coming
out and watching him play.”
Anderson said he is unsure of which degree plan he will follow at
Northeastern, but he said getting an education is the most important
The adjustment to playing college basketball will be tough, Anderson
said, but he’s confident in his ability to make the jump.
“I’m going to play wing, maybe a little point guard,” Anderson
said. “[I’ll probably be a] scorer. It really doesn’t matter to me
though. I’ll do whatever they need.”
Though he visited Dallas Baptist, Anderson said having an opportunity to
play for Northeastern, under head coach Larry Gipson, was something he
couldn’t pass up.
Northeastern won the national championship in 2003 with a 32-3 record
and finished the 2002 campaign with a 28-2 record.
“I just fit in better with them,” Anderson said. “I felt more
comfortable there. I met all of them [his teammates]. They’re just
like the guys down here.
“It’s going to be hard to adjust at first, but I’ll get used to
Lackey said several junior colleges and other Division II schools showed
interest in Anderson and some coaches still call to ask whether he has
He said they were most impressed with the way Anderson carried himself
on the court.
“I give Ethan a lot of credit,” Lackey said. “This is something
he’s wanted — to go to college and play college basketball — but
he never put that as the most important thing. He put his team first. He
put his family first. He put his coaches first. He worried about the
college thing when everything was done. These coaches came and talked to
him, and there were a lot of coaches impressed with him. I’m just
excited for him to have the opportunity to get an education.”
Lackey said Anderson’s experience playing with the Dallas Mustangs and
other select teams over the years have prepared him for what to expect
at the college level.
Anderson also was selected to play in two all-star games this season,
which Lackey said shows the level of respect opposing coaches have for
“I think once he gets used to the speed of the game — every level
that you go up, from junior high, to freshman, to JV to varsity and then
on to college — that’s the main thing that changes is the speed of
the game and how people guard you,” Lackey said. “Once he realizes
that and learns how people are going to guard him at the college level,
he’s going to adjust tremendously. Ethan is probably one of the
highest basketball IQ kids I’ve been around, from picking up the game,
knowing it and learning it. He’s going to adjust just fine. He can
play point guard. He can play shooting guard. He may struggle a little
because at that level he’s going against 6-8 and 6-9 guys, but
Ethan’s got a good outside shot, so that’s where he’ll take them.
I think he’s going to adjust just fine and fit into Coach Gipson’s