• 84°

Scholar Athlete: Anderson hopes to follow in father’s footsteps of being engineer

Vidalia High School’s Johnny Anderson plays basketball and football for Vidalia while earning a 3.1 GPA in school.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia High School’s Johnny Anderson plays basketball and football for Vidalia while earning a 3.1 GPA in school. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Like most athletes featured in previous Scholar Athlete stories, Johnny Anderson’s favorite subject is math. Anderson doesn’t have an answer as to why so many athletes in the area draw toward math, but he can tell you why he does.

“I grew up around it,” said the Vidalia High School senior. “My dad is an engineer, so he was always working on cars and working with numbers, so I was exposed to it.”

Anderson’s father Johnny Collins has had a huge impact on his life, encouraging him to make good grades in school. Thus, Anderson has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps in hopes of becoming an engineer.

“He and my mom (Debbie Anderson) are my role models because they always pushed me to do well,” Anderson said.

Eyeing schools such as Northwestern State in Natchitoches, University of Louisiana-Monroe and University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Anderson’s priority is his academics, but not too far behind is athletics. Football is his favorite sport, but currently, Anderson is one of the contributing members of Vidalia’s basketball team.

Because of the Vikings’ lack of size and Anderson’s athletic ability, Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders has used Anderson as a forward for the Vikings. That’s not to say Anderson won’t find a way to take shots from the outside.

“We want to use him in the 4 position, but he wants to play on the perimeter,” Sanders said. “Every now and then, I have to reel him back in, but he’s a good kid.”

Anderson is still adapting to his role with the team, and after Natchez rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Vikings 67-63 Tuesday night, he said he has a lot of work to do in his development.

“We’ve been doing good, but some games we have problems finishing the game,” Anderson said. “Say for instance, (Tuesday), against Natchez we couldn’t finish the game, and that’s from our mistakes. Me being a big man, I didn’t box out. I take responsibility for stuff like that.”

Anderson hopes to walk-on and play football wherever he ends up going to school. If he makes it, he’ll be thrilled, but if he doesn’t, he’ll be just as excited about the opportunity to make his parents proud academically.