By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebel senior class of Alex Anderson, Cameron Donegan, Patrick Green, Jalen Hurt, Reggie Lewis, Myles McClinton, RJ Seals and Ethan Stewart has a chance to make history.
When players like Anderson and Green were sophomores they joined forces with players like Andrew Anderson and Tysen Banks to help the Rebels reach the Division II-A State championship game for the second time in school history.
Fast forward to the beginning of the 2020-21 basketball season, new faces are poised to join Head Coach Cedric Anderson’s intense defense and smooth offense to make another run to Nashville. Coach Anderson noted both side of the ball begin with his son and senior Alex Anderson.
Alex, who was a finalist for the Tennessee Mr. Basketball Division II-A, is in position to become the first 2,000-point scorer in TRA history. The youngest Anderson learned the game for his father Cedric and older brothers Cedric Jr., Aaron and Andrew. Last season Alex tried to be the big brother of the Rebels.
“Alex is going to have to step up and do more as a leader,” Coach Anderson acknowledged. “This year he’ll have a lot more help. He doesn’t have to take the whole burden of scoring and rebounding all on his own. And then lead the team.”
Coach Anderson noted the senior group along with Alexander N’don Blue, Eli Ramsey and Will Hughes will be a part of the rotation. Both Anderson have built up a lot of trust in senior point guard Donegan.
“About three quarters of the way through the season, Cameron started to take a leadership role and during the offseason he hasn’t taken a step back,” Coach Anderson said. “He’s taken on a strong leadership role. He’s the one that gets us in our right position offensively and defensively. He’s the coach on the court.
“It’s going to be 32 minutes of chaos the entire game,” he continued. “This year’s edition is going to be different from all other years. You have more depth with kids like Ethan Stewart, Eli Ramsey, Will Hughes. Those kids will do a great job for us. Jalen Hurt will do a great job as well. You’ve got Eli West, a freshman and you also got Blue stepping up to do a great job.”
If everybody stays healthy, the Rebels will compete with the likes of FACS, Lausanne, Northpoint and the teams from Jackson.
Coach Anderson is pleased with the development of his team with limitations because of the global pandemic. And the man Cedric Anderson is happy is youngest son has a chance to play his senior season.
“As his dad I’ve watched him grow as a kid to a young man,” he said. “I watch him go from the guy who took the backseat to his big brother and big cousin Andrew Anderson and Tysen Banks. He’s now the leader on the team. I appreciate him so much because it was tough for him.
“Then for him to go through the transition of having his brother leave the team,” Coach Anderson continued. “He’s gone and now he’s here kind of by himself, he’s taken a love to the Tipton-Rosemark community. The growth of basketball they’ve embrace. I’m really savoring every moment. I’m not rushing anything because I know this is my last go-around with him. I’m really embracing every moment with him.”
Coach Anderson said his son understands the legacy being authored at TRA. And his baby boy knows when it comes to the Anderson household he has to live up to the accomplishments of his brothers, aunt Alexis and especially his mother Vicki.
“In the house we always talk about success in every aspect in life,” he said. “His mother was a two-time National champion for the University of Memphis as a pom pom dancer. Then her sister won the National championship.
“They talk about all the time how they won National championships,” Coach Anderson concluded. “Then my oldest two won Powerade National champion. So he’s come behind success. We talk about everyday what success looks like and how it starts with preparation. You eat right, you rest right and you prepare right.”