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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Anderson signs with St. Catharine

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Seated from left: Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield, Sikeston senior Ben Anderson, and his parents Kenneth and Shirley Anderson
(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON - Sikeston High School senior basketball player Ben Anderson signed a letter of intent to continue his playing days at St. Catharine College in Kentucky.

The Catholic school is located 50 miles southeast of Louisville and is considered one of the top junior college programs in the country.

Other schools that showed interest in Anderson were Rend Lake, Williams Baptist, Bethel College, SMSU-West Plains, Wallace State, Meramec and Mineral Area.

Anderson, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound center, helped guide the Bulldogs to a 13-13 record this past season while playing perhaps the toughest schedule in the area.

He averaged 5.2 points and 5.1 rebounds while blocking a team-high 64 shots this past season. He shot 52 percent from the field and 62 percent from the free throw line.

But it was his improvement from his junior to senior year that stood out for Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield.

"Ben really came on and had a good senior year," said Holifield. "He has great size. He's had a lot of interest in colleges because, No. 1, he's a very good post defender. And he can do some good things with the basketball. He can pass it, catch it and shoot it. His playing time went way up his senior year. After Christmas he was a very good post player for us. He understood his role and he did a great job defensively."

St. Catharine head coach Kevin Burton said signing Anderson was exactly what they were looking for.

"First of all, he's a great kid -- that's something that's very important to us," said Burton. "We try to bring in high character kids and he certainly fits that. The other thing that attracted us to him was the need for his position. It was a good fit as far as us looking for post players and good kids. And we also want kids that want to be here. After his visit, I think he saw some of the potential and upside that he could bring to St. Catharine. Those three dynamics is what attracted us to him."

Burton said it took a stroke of luck for his program to even find out about Anderson.

A stroke of luck in the form of mom.

"I got a call from his mother, which seems pretty odd at this level," said Burton. "A lot of schools won't follow up on that, but it's in my nature to follow up on every phone call, because you never know when you're going to stumble upon something. I'm just so thankful that his mother found out about St. Catharine. But we followed up on it, got some film on him, got him up on a visit and worked him out. We offered him and there you go."

St. Catharine went 23-8 last season and spent most of the season ranked in the top 20 in the country.

The school sent five players to Division I schools this year, which left a void in the post positions.

"He's going to have to improve a lot, but if there's ever a year for a post player to come into St. Catharine it's this year," said Burton. "This past year we were as deep as anybody in the country with post players. We lost all five of our post players. This is a good year for a kid like Ben to come in and improve and get a chance to play."