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Anderson thriving at LaGrange College

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Lincoln Anderson is hoping his final season as a LaGrange College Panther will be one to remember.

Anderson, a LaGrange Academy graduate, is heading into his senior year on the LaGrange College men’s basketball team, and he will be a focal point of a team looking to bounce back after a losing 2019-2020 season.

“We lost a lot of close games,” said Anderson, LaGrange College’s second-leading scorer last season. “We lost a great amount of seniors from the year before, and people who got a lot of playing time. We had people playing more minutes, playing different roles, playing different positions. I think that was the thing we lacked a little bit. We didn’t have any seniors. Coming back this year, I think everybody knows that they have to step up one or two things within their personal game to help the whole team, to increase chemistry on the court. I think everybody coming back knows that. Everybody that’s coming back knows that we are going out to win every game, and not give up, try to finish the game.”

Anderson, who attended Callaway High before transferring to LaGrange Academy for his junior and senior seasons, joined the LaGrange College program as a freshman in 2017, and he got his feet wet and averaged four points a game for a team that went 13-13.

Anderson’s role expanded for the 2018-2019 season, and he averaged 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds a game as the Panthers went 17-9.

The Panthers were hit hard by graduation following that successful season, and Anderson became a starter and a key contributor on the 2019-2020 team.

Anderson played nearly 30 minutes per game, and he averaged 13.6 points while making 60 percent of his shot attempts, and he pulled down seven rebounds a game.

“My freshman and sophomore years, I was learning the speed of the college game,” Anderson said. “My junior year, coach Wallace talked to me and he told me I was going to have to step up. I knew in the summertime leading up to the season that I would have a big role, just because I knew I was one of the tallest players returning, and I knew I’d be one of the oldest guys on the team. And I was going to be the only captain coming back because I was a captain my sophomore year as well. I knew I had to step up. My teammates always encouraged me, even though sometimes I messed up or feel like I didn’t play my best on the court, they always picked me back up. I was able to pick up my teammates. I had to be leader, but they picked me up as well.”

LaGrange College head coach Kendal Wallace got to know Anderson when he was excelling at LaGrange Academy, and he’s been thrilled to have him as a part of the Panthers’ basketball family.

“He’s a gentleman through and through,” Wallace said. “He’s always looking to try to help somebody. He likes to serve on committees, and he works with many organizations on the LaGrange campus. He does a really good job being one of our leaders. He’s kind of a quiet guy, but because he does everything the right way, people look up to him and kind of want to be like him. He sets the tone for us, how to act off the court, and on the court as well. I just can’t say enough good things about him.”

As far as Anderson’s abilities on the court, Wallace said “he can pretty much do a little bit of everything.”

Looking ahead to the 2020-2021 season, Wallace is counting on Anderson to provide some valuable leadership as the Panthers look to get back on the winning track.

“I’d like to see Lincoln be a little bit more vocal this year,” Wallace said. “We talked about it in our individual meetings. When we recruited him, we talked to him about coming here and winning championships. He’s real quiet. If he would have his voice with his body and his presence, I think more kids would buy into what we’re doing, and kind of follow his lead about his work ethic, and move us in a forward direction. I’m looking for him to be a little more vocal this year, a little more demanding, leave that nice-guy stuff off the court.”

Anderson has relished his time as a Panther, and the 2019-2020 season was a fun one, even if wins were hard to come by.

“I had a lot of fun this season, even though we didn’t win many games,” Anderson said. “I learned a lot, I had fun with my teammates. We all got better. I wish it could have been a better win-loss record, but I think this year is really going to change. It was fun playing with my teammates, and knowing I can go out there and help contribute in a big way. I just put it all out on the court.”

Since he arrived at LaGrange College, one constant for Anderson is the joy he takes from being around his teammates.

“I enjoy each and every one of the guys on my team, from the person who doesn’t play many minutes, to the person who plays the most minutes, to the person who doesn’t score much, to the person that that scores the most,” Anderson said. “I have a great relationship with each and every one of my teammates, and I love that about the LaGrange team. We all love one another. We don’t have a beef with each other. At the end of the day, we all come together as brothers and as a team, and I love that. We have fun on road trips, we have fun during the games. Even throughout practice, I enjoy that, because every day I know I’m going to have a good laugh and be with my brothers. I love my team.”

Anderson, who is majoring in psychology with a minor in business, has also enjoyed being a part of the LaGrange College community as a whole.

“Being on a small campus, I’m able to have more opportunities on the campus, and in the community,” Anderson said. “I can be an athlete, and also be in different organizations on campus that will help me build my resume, or just be involved. I have enjoyed it a lot. If we go back for the fall semester, hopefully, it’ll be just as awesome, and I’ll learn just as much. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”