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Cathedral freshman likes to distribute the ball to teammates

Cathedral High School’s Jardarius Anderson, left, looks to dribble past Natchez High School’s Freddie Singleton during their ninth-grade game Monday night at NHS. Anderson has been primarily a point guard for the Green Wave this season, and he said he prefers to pass the ball rather than shoot it. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — A dilemma runs through Jardarius Anderson’s mind every time he touches the basketball.

More often than not, one side always wins the argument.

The freshman guard for Cathedral High School sees many opportunities for an open shot, but he doesn’t always take them. The debate of whether to shoot or pass to a teammate always pops up in the split second Anderson has to make a decision. Anderson usually opts to pass, he said.

“I like to shoot, but I also like to share the ball a lot,” Anderson said. “When I have open shots, I try to take them, but I like to share the ball more than I shoot it.”

Anderson has been splitting time at point guard with teammate Alex Weadock, and he also plays shooting guard. Even with his love for passing the ball, Anderson said Green Wave head coach Peter Arnold often gets onto him about passing it so much.

“Coach tries to tell me to shoot it more,” Anderson said. “I’ll be wide open half the time and force passes, and he told me rather than forcing it, just shoot it.”

Arnold clarified the comment, saying that he wants Anderson to be more aggressive in certain situations.

“Against man-to-man (defense), he’s aggressive,” Arnold said. “You need someone to be more aggressive when they’re playing against man-to-man. That’s when I tell him to shoot more.”

Anderson admitted that his coach’s advice hasn’t completely sunk in yet.

“It’s come into me a little, but not all the way,” Anderson said.

With Anderson playing the point so much lately, Arnold said he welcomes his player’s pass-first mentality.

“A traditional point guard doesn’t shoot the ball,” Arnold said. “He’s facilitating for the rest of the team. Passing is the first option, and shooting is not even second (on the list). It’s maybe third.”

When he does go for the shot, Anderson said there’s no hype building up inside him while he takes the shot.

“It’s just another shot,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t feel special until the end of the game — if we win.”

Anderson also said he’s not looking to pass just so people won’t think he’s a ball hog.

“I’d just rather pass before I shoot,” Anderson said. “Maybe one of my teammates can do something that I can’t. I just consider myself a regular player. I just try to help the team make plays.”

Since he also plays football and baseball, Anderson said it’s tough at times adjusting from one sport to the other. That’s been especially true this semester, he said, after the football team’s 51-40 loss to Pelahatchie High School in the first round of the MHSAA Class 1A playoffs Nov. 9.

“It’s kind of tough coming off a big loss like we did, but we just have to get used to (adjusting),” Anderson said. “I try not to think about it too much.”

Anderson said he takes approximately 10 to 12 shots per game, and he wants to improve his shooting percentage going forward.

“When I do shoot it, I’d rather know I can make it every time,” Anderson said.

Arnold said his young guard has a bright future ahead of him.

“His footwork is outstanding, and his shot is gradually coming together after getting over being bulked up for football,” Arnold said. “His footwork and agility is as good as any freshman.”

Anderson is the son of Amber and Johnell Anderson.

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