Elijah Anderson used his talent in basketball to earn an opportunity to compete at the college level. The recent alum of Inglewood high school now attends Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“I went to the HBCU basketball showcase at Lynwood high school and they saw me and they liked my game,” Anderson said. “After that, they got in contact with me and said they wanted to offer me, so I took it.”
Anderson had been playing basketball since he was nine years old. His senior year was the only year he played varsity for the Inglewood Sentinels. His efforts earned him MVP honors on the team. Anderson noted how becoming MVP was “amazing.”
“All the hard work paid off, early morning workouts before school, late night workouts,” he said. “It’s just a relief of stress just to see that all my work has paid off.”
Anderson helped the Sentinels to a 9-10 overall record and a 3-2 Ocean league record. A highlight of the season for him was attending practices.
“My teammates were great,” Anderson said. “We had a lot of fun, we competed and had fun in practice.”
The work they put in during practice helped the Sentinels get a spot in the playoffs. Anderson helped his team secure a postseason victory; he mentions how the win was a proud moment.
“It’s something I’ve never did in all of my years, not even on the JV level that I made it to playoffs,” he said. “That night was amazing for me and then we got back to work soon after.”
For Anderson, being a student athlete means being focused on succeeding in school because good grades allow athletes to compete. To balance his obligations, he sticks to a tight schedule of exercising and studying.
“I wake up before school and work out,” Anderson said. “Then I have school and once I get home from school, that’s when I do my homework and then after I’m finished with my homework and studying, that’s when I work out again.”
Anderson’s favorite class is journalism. The class taught him how to write in a way that gets the reader’s attention.
“Learning about it, it helped me out especially as far as English and writing my essays and just being more interested in reading up on certain things,” he said.
Along with playing for the Sentinels, Anderson further honed his basketball skills by playing travel ball. Through this experience, he learned how trust can improve team chemistry, which can lead to wins.
“It helped me as far as gaining trust quickly,” he said. “When you play for certain teams, you might not know everybody when you first get there.”
Outside of academics and athletics, Anderson works with organizations to help the less fortunate.
“A mentor group that I’m in, we’ve given away clothes, shoes, food,” he said. “I feed the homeless with my church and also with the mentor group, we’ve cleaned up parks.”
Anderson wants a career that allows him to contribute to the game of basketball.
“If not playing professional basketball, I want to be a professional trainer so I could still be connected to the sport and still be around what I love,” he said.