Penn Hills resident helps lead CCBC basketball team to 26-1 record
Andre Anthony has been playing basketball since he was 7 years old. He graduated from Penn Hills High School in 2009, after four years of varsity basketball, three of which saw him in the starting five.
Now 21, Anthony is a member of the Beaver County Community College Titans. After posting an impressive 24-6 record last year in NJCAA Division-II basketball, they topped themselves this season with a 26-1 record and nearly captured a national championship. The Titans lost to Cecil County Community College (Md.) in a regional final, 96-95.
Titans Coach DeWayne Walker said he has high expectations for a freshman-heavy team that was ranked No. 1 in the country for much of this past season.
“We fell a little short this year,” he said. “I think our youth played a part in that late in the season. It's a long year — college is very different from high school. But coming in next year, the guys know what to expect, and I think we'll make another run at this thing.”
Walker said Anthony will be a key component in that run.
“Andre had a great year,” he said. “He really took the bull by the horns and helped lead this team. He's probably one of the top (junior-college) point guards in the country.”
Anthony, who recently has been attracting attention from larger schools including NCAA Division-I programs, spoke with the Progress about the Titans' season:
Q: Was there a certain point during your regular season that you began to think, “This is a special team?”
A: Yes, we scrimmaged Alderson-Broaddus College, an NCAA Division-II school, at the beginning of the season and beat them. Our school is a community college, and for us to beat a four-year school said a lot about our team.
Q: What did it mean for you personally to not just post an undefeated regular season, but also to be on top of the NJCAA Div. II rankings this year?
A: It meant a lot because I've had a long road to get where I'm at now. The season was an example of how hard I've been working over the years and who our coach is. Coach DeWayne Walker really pushed us to be the best we could possibly be everyday.
Q: The Titans were ranked No. 1 in points per game — how did Coach Walker put together such a high-octane offense?
A: It started with conditioning in the off-season. One day we ran 10 miles straight. We worked really hard to be the best-conditioned team in the country.
Q: What was your favorite moment of this past season?
A: My favorite moment of this past season came against Potomac State College (W.Va.) in our conference final. We were trailing by two with about 15 seconds left, and I converted a three-point play off a rebound to take the lead. My teammates never gave up and it proved that a game isn't over until the clock says zero.
Q: You've been named an NJCAA Division-II Second-Team All-American and this team is loaded with freshmen who presumably will be returning — do you think the Titans are poised to have a nice run in the next few years?
A: CCBC is a community college and a two-year school. As far as next year, the expectations are very high and Coach Walker will always have the Titans prepared.
Q: You shot nearly 60 percent from the floor this season and averaged nearly 22 points per game — how did you work to improve your game over the course of the season?
A: I shot almost 500 shots every day, lifted weights and watched film. My mental preparation was the most important part of the season. I lost a few family members and friends this year, so that motivated me to push for my family and myself.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.