Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
The basketball career of North Adams senior Isaiah Anderson took a positive turn last week when the Devils’ guard signed his letter of intent to become part of the mens’ program at Rio Grande University. The signing ceremony took place at NAHS on Wednesday, April 26.
Anderson was the leading scorer for the Devils for the first half of the 2016-17 season and a sure-fire All-Conference and All-District player before an academic issue with a post-secondary course caused the OHSAA to declare him ineligible. Even with that setback, he could still be found at practice every day and on the bench during games, still encouraging his teammates, which was impressive to North Adams head coach Nathan Copas.
“I was very proud of Isaiah for keeping his head in the game even though he was no longer allowed to play,” said Coach Copas. “That second half of the year he was at every practice and he was a great teammate and I think those qualities that can carry over to the college level. I’m happy for him to get this opportunity to go back and play again. He showed some resiliency there when he could have just shut down and felt sorry for himself.”
“His quickness will be beneficial to him and he will need to improve his shooting a little but I think being around that college caliber of player will help his game.”
“I thought I owed it to my team after letting down a lot of people who counted on me,” said Anderson of his decision to stick with the program even after his ineligibility was confirmed. “I stuck with it for them and I really never thought about playing college ball but sitting out gave me the motivation to try and prove people wrong about me.”
“Rio had been scouting me and I was sending them tape and I went up there on Recruiting Day and played in front of the coaches and with the team. The coaching staff called me a couple of days later and told me they wanted me.”
Rio Grande assistant coach Len Collins was present for the signing ceremony and says Anderson will begin with the Redstorm JV program, with ample opportunity to move his way up to the varsity level.
“The first time I actually saw Isaiah he was sitting on the bench but I reached out to Coach Copas who was an All-American at Rio and we had conversations about Isaiah and he wanted that opportunity to play after high school,” said Collins. “He came up and worked out and we liked what we saw. Most of our freshmen play JV games and it gives them a chance to see the changes from the high school to college games. We want him to be a leader as a point guard.”
“Numerous kids have started at the JV level and worked and grinded and took care of what they needed to do in the classroom. If he takes care of those things, the opportunity is definitely there.”
While at Rio, Anderson plans to study Business.