A family affair for the Anderson’s

WEST GOSHEN – The West Chester East High School boys basketball has been led for the last 19 years by head coach Eric Anderson. And when teams talk about being a family, they usually mean that each player and coach would do anything for each other, hopefully on and off the court. Recently, the Vikings have truly been a remarkable family affair.

Anderson has gotten the opportunity to coach his three talented sons, Eric, who graduated in 2010, Eddie, who left in 2012 and currently his youngest son, Evan, who is a senior leader on this year’s team.

“I can truly say that I have been very lucky to coach and see all my sons’ games,’ Anderson said. “A lot of parents do not get the opportunity that I have had. I would not have it any other way. When they were young, I knew this day would come and I relished it. They all loved basketball at an early age and we went to camps in the summer together and they came to our games when they were younger, we talked about the game on the way home and at dinner. It has been a great experience for me.’

Anderson is one of the best x-and-o coach in District 1 and although when the West Chester School District split into three high schools, it seems East got the worst of the draw, Anderson has continued to work diligently for every game like it is for a district title. And the younger Anderson’s have certainly left their marks on the program. All three — Eric, Eddie and Evan — were the best players on the team.

“All three were different in the way they played the game but all three worked very hard and I was tougher on them than the other players,’ Anderson says. “They caught a lot of flak for the other kids because I expected more of them. When they were young, they practiced dribbling the basketball with baseball gloves on. They were eager at an early age to be the best they could be.’

The 2014-15 Vikings took a big hit in a scrimmage with Perkiomen Valley, when 6-foot-5 Josh Brady came down wrong on his ankle and will be out six weeks. East, already a small team, will have to find other ways to stay in games. And the best option, like it has been for some time, is to get the ball in Evan Anderson’s hands. Anderson averaged eight points a game as a sophomore, then went to 18 per game as a junior and has his sights set even higher this season.

“I want to leave my mark on East basketball and average 20 points a game this year and get to 1,000 points,’ Evan said. “As far as my dad being my coach, I feel honored to be his son and it is a great opportunity to learn basketball because he is a great head coach. It sometimes gets tough because he is so demanding, but he is doing it to make us better as players and young men.

“As much as I want to get to 1,000 points, I really want the team to do well. We struggled a little last year, but we are working hard and we want East basketball to get back to the playoffs. That is all we talk about in practice and if we work hard we can do it.’

Eric said he a little surprised that Evan turned into the type of basketball player he has become and he contrasted the game of his sons.

“Eric was a hard nosed player and he was a scoring point guard. He always thought he was better than his opponent. He was a scoring point guard and he was a fierce competitor. He liked the challenge of playing the other teams best player. Eric always thought he was the best and first scoring option.

“Eddie was more of a playmaking point guard that loved to pass the basketball. I had to get on Eddie to shoot and score more. At times, I really needed him to score to keep us in the games. He was a little less selfish on the court than Eric. Eddie was also a real good defender. He was tough out there and he always wanted to pass the basketball first.

“And now, Evan is a combination of Eric and Eddie. he shoots the ball better than the other two did. He is a point guard that can pass and score equally as well. He really surprised me because he came so far after Eric and Eddie. They come to the games and say ‘ boy look at are little brother.”

While all the Anderson young men say that basketball is one of the most important things in their and their father’s life, it is the bond one sees when you go to an East game or practice. You see the head coach put his arm around one of his sons or implore him to drive to the basket and you realize that family is the paramount thing to the Andersons.

“Sometimes some of the other kids will say that my dad is really tough on us, but I tell them that he is just doing that to make us better on and off the court. There is nothing my dad wouldn’t do for any of his sons or his players.’ Evan said.

No matter what the record is this season, the Anderson brothers and the young men who play for East have and will be well taken care of by their head coach, a man who cares deeply about family and making improvements in the lives of young people. That is truly what a winner is.

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