Wilson’s Emmitt Matthews Jr. is going to the University of Connecticut.
Timberline’s Erik Stevenson is going to Wichita State University.
Rainier Beach’s Kevin Porter is headed to USC.
Shaw Anderson? He’s just this spindly post player from Kelso, right?
Wrong. The Kelso junior played against or next to the best talent in the state. And each time, he was put into the conversation with those NCAA Division I commits.
“I’ve watched him enough that no, it didn’t surprise me,” Kelso coach Joe Kinch said. “Those guys are super-talented basketball players, but he was never overwhelmed by an opponent or the moment.”
Anderson earned a second-team selection on the 3A State All-Tournament team. He would have undoubtedly won the MVP of the West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament, if there was such an award. He was the co-MVP of the Greater St. Helens 3A League.
Every step of the way, Anderson shined. He led the Scotties to their first league title since 1993, the GSHL’s first bi-district title since the new format was introduced in 2010 and Kelso’s first state trophy since 1959.
He led the area in scoring, averaging 22.4 points per game. Yet, he was a “perfect” teammate who always deflected praise. By season’s end, though, he knew when to take over, when to lead by taking the ball in his hands and putting in the bucket. He never stopped improving, and that’s what earns him TDN’s 2017-18 Player of the Year.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned among the same names as those guys. They’re good players,” Anderson said. “They put their time in. I’m continuing to put my time in.”
But like Kinch said, an opponent never intimidated the Scotties junior.
“Before the games, you notice you’re playing against those guys,” Anderson said. “When you’re on the court, that stuff doesn’t matter. I wanted to compete with them. That will make or break you.”
It certainly made Anderson a household name in Washington state hoops. But beyond his talent — which featured crafty post moves, the ability to battle through contact and a fluid jumper he showcased late in the year — Anderson’s best asset may have come off the court.
“I think it meant a lot to him to be able to play well for the seniors,” said Kinch, who has been named TDN Coach of the Year. “He really took it upon himself to do that. He’s a consummate teammate. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. … At the same time, he showed maturity in being willing to put himself out there. He truly cares about his teammates.”
The road doesn’t end here for Anderson, who will likely garner more double and triple teams next season in Kelso. With eyes on a college gig, the 6-foot-6 post will develop his perimeter skills. Though he plays like he’s 6-7 or 6-8, Kinch said, he’ll have to make a transition outside for college ball.
After showcasing top-notch talent this year, Anderson very well could step into the state’s elite ranks next season.
“He works at his own pace on what he’s going to unveil,” Kinch said. “When he’s comfortable he can do something well, he’ll bring it into the game.”
And if that means Anderson shoots more, dribbles more and spaces the floor, opponents might want to start worrying now.