Floor Generals: Anderson slowing down pace to lead offense

Published 12:06 am Monday, January 12, 2015

Cathedral High School’s Jardarius Anderson drives to the basket against Monterey High School Friday. Anderson has learned to slow down his fast-paced mentality approach to the game. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral High School’s Jardarius Anderson drives to the basket against Monterey High School Friday. Anderson has learned to slow down his fast-paced mentality approach to the game. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Jardarius Anderson’s biggest hurdle as a basketball player has been learning patience.

With a dynamic skillset that allows him to run by defenders and convert short-range shots, Anderson’s abilities enabled him to put the Cathedral Green Wave on his back in middle school and power them to victories by taking roughly 15 shots per game. Now, as a high school junior, Anderson’s role is far different.

“Well, he’s a phenomenal athlete, a player who has great ability to handle the ball,” head coach Peter Arnold said. “So we ask him to run our offense, but we want him to operate within our system.”

The Green Wave’s system is far different than other means of various offenses in the area. Cathedral makes no secret about its key to success — keep the game below 60 points and grind out wins. So how do you tell a player whose speed is his greatest asset to slow it down and run a set offense?

“It takes understanding, unselfishness and maturity with age,” Arnold said. “He’s done all of that.”

Of course, Anderson’s freshman and sophomore seasons were mostly spent adjusting.

“Your instincts want you to go,” Anderson said. “I used to go, go, go, because I always played around the neighborhood and didn’t play organized basketball before I came here.”

But playing on the streets doesn’t offer the same satisfaction for victory, and most of the time, it doesn’t make you rely on four other players to produce wins. Junior high basketball hardly did, as well, for Anderson.

“Middle school is all about a one man gang, but once you get to high school, you realize that everybody has talent,” Anderson said. “You want to distribute the ball. I like driving, but I’ve always been the type of person that likes to make others around you better.”

As an upperclassman with Cathedral, Anderson is still racing up and down the floor, giving his team advantages in fast break opportunities, but he’s also learned to slow it down and set up the offense. That’s been the evolution of Anderson as a ball player, and it’s made him more effective in a system Arnold has created for success.

“You really have to be disciplined to keep games under 60,” Arnold said. “But Anderson’s gotten so much better at maintaining patience. With his speed and pace, he’s always going to turn the ball over two or three times a game, but as long as he’s still running the offense the way it’s supposed to be run, we’ll be OK.”