Boardman’s Anderson ready for Lakeland
BOARDMAN — Derrick Anderson hoped things would’ve been different. He can’t wonder what might have been, playing AAU basketball and taking a handful of on-campus visits.
That wasn’t possible. The COVID-19 pandemic put a screeching halt to those kind of activities.
Enter Lakeland Community College, which was 22-7 last season. LCC, located in Kirtland, was preparing for the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament when the coronavirus spread more rapidly than a quick-moving transition game.
“Just pretty unique because he was getting a good amount of interest from some Division II schools and they wanted him to come,” Boardman boys basketball coach Pat Birch said. “Obviously he couldn’t do that with schools being shut down. Everything got put in limbo. We decided to explore the junior college route a little bit and eventually got in contact with Lakeland. They needed a point guard. Derrick knew the school. It kind of worked out both ways.”
Anderson, a Boardman High School senior, was instrumental in the Spartans boys basketball team winning more than 40 games the past two seasons.
Anderson, arguably one of the area’s best backcourt players, signed with Lakeland earlier this week. He averaged 22.7 points this past season for Boardman.
He’s thankful for the opportunity in northern Ohio, but knows with hard work he can progress to another college program.
“Definitely look at Division I, Division II,” said Anderson, a 6-foot-1 point guard. “I know I’m only going to get better, going to progress. Going to a winning program like Lakeland and being around great players and being coached by great coaches, I’m only going to develop and get better. The sky’s the limit.”
Lakeland will get some looks by collegiate scouts, wanting to add talent to their rosters.
“I think he’ll get some exposure there with some other kids that are also in the same situation as him,” Birch said. “When they scouts are watching them, hopefully Derrick can open their eyes a little bit.”
Anderson can usually be found at a local Planet Fitness, working toward next season or getting a little workout during the campaign.
Those facilities open later this month.
The state of Ohio said individual workouts can resume on Tuesday, but facilities opening will be on the discretion of each school.
“I can’t wait,” Anderson said. “This is the longest period time in my life I’ve gone without playing basketball. I just can’t wait to get back in the gym, get better and continue to perfect my craft — get ready for Lakeland.”
He doesn’t have a hoop at home, so he found a place in Youngstown he can rent out to play. He’s only done that a few times.
“It’s frustrating,” Anderson said.
No worries. He’s been working out at his home, lifting weights, doing push-ups and running 5 miles a day.
“Physically I have to get stronger, faster for the next level,” Anderson said.
It’s an opportunity Birch is glad to see his former player receive.
“The thing I tell people as much as I can, not only was a he a really good basketball player, but he’s just a really good kid,” Birch said. “He’s very genuine. He’s very humble. He’s easy to talk to. He’s easy to like. Not a sense of arrogance or anything. That’s why I’m happy for him. He’s getting an opportunity and really deserves it.”