of Marist Achilles Anderson This fall I decided to play football for the first time. It has led to an unexpectedly bright future in the sport, with four Division I offers since the season ended.
This also made the young forward a different player on the basketball court.
“The brotherhood aspect of football is very different because it is very physical,” Anderson said. “It’s like you and 10 other guys are going to war, you’re out there fighting for your life.
“I think the leadership aspect is a big thing that I bring to the basketball team.”
Anderson adds an important element of toughness to the Marist squad. He did that on Thursday night with eight points and eight rebounds as the visiting RedHawks defeated Joliet Catholic 62-43 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
Surrounded by talented players who can score in bunches, Anderson is expected to rebound and play tough defense inside for the RedHawks.
“He lifts a lot of weight in football and is a lot stronger,” the Marist coach said. Brian Hynes aforementioned. “He does all the dirty work for us. His hands are huge. I wish he would finish his layups.
“But he’s a great kid and his teammates love him.”
It’s Anderson’s job to do the dirty work.
“Someone has to do it, and I’m okay with it being me,” he said. “I like.”
Anderson, a defensive end, received football offers from Northern Illinois, Akron, Ball State and Yale. Even though his football future was bright, he did not lose his passion for basketball.
“After I got my first scholarship offer, my dad said: ‘Now that you’ve got this, you can relax in basketball. That takes a lot of pressure off,” Anderson said. “Initially I thought it would ease the pressure, but I know I won’t relax because I’m here for my superiors and all my teammates.
“I have no problem putting in extra work, not only for myself but also for the team.”
Thomas definitely appreciates this.
“Achilles is a great guy,” Thomas said. “He’s had so many football offers, but I still see him staying after school and coming in early to shoot. He always does the dirty work for us and we really love and appreciate it.
“We wouldn’t be here without him.”
The RedHawks started slowly on Thursday night, with Joliet Catholic leading 14-13 after the first quarter. Behind Wills’ four 3-pointers, the Hilltoppers trailed just 33-30 at the start of the third quarter.
However, Marist closed the quarter with a 9-0 run and pulled away.
The RedHawks, who learned earlier Thursday that they had placed second in the Class 4A Rich County Regionals, are tied with Benet in the conference standings. Both teams have two matches left.
“We have a chance to win the conference,” Thomas said. “Only three teams have done that for Marist in 40 years. Every team we play the rest of the way is trying to take that away from us.”
“We don’t like it, so we have to lock down.”
But Anderson scored six points in the second half to help the RedHawks take control. Hynes saw a different Anderson emerge after his first football season.
“We saw a very confident kid,” Hynes said. “He’s gotten a lot bigger. I think the offers from football have made him a little taller. We all couldn’t be happier for him.”