Like sister, like brother.
Cole Anderson, a record-setting junior this year for the Clovis West High School basketball team, decided to follow in his sibling’s footsteps and committed this week to play for UCSB starting in the 2021-22 school year.
Sister Megan, a junior at San Jose State, announced that she will be transferring to UCSB next fall and will also begin playing for the Gaucho women in 2021-22.
“She committed first, but UCSB has always been my No. 1,” Cole said. “Even before the season started, I felt like I had built a really good relationship with coach (Joe) Pasternack and coach (Ben) Tucker.
“A month ago, before committing, she was down to either UCSB or the University of Pacific, and I kept telling her to commit to Santa Barbara. I had a feeling I’d end up there, too.”
UCSB’s coaches are unable to comment about recruits until they sign a national letter of intent. Anderson, a 6-foot-4 point guard, said he intends to do so during the fall signing period.
He’s been highly recruited ever since making the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Freshman Team in 2018. He won the Tri-River Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player Award for the third time this season after leading the Golden Eagles to a 26-6 record and the CIF-Central Section Open Division final.
Anderson was a third-team selection on this year’s Cal-Hi All-State Open Division squad, averaging 27 points per game while shooting 48% overall and 44% from the three-point line. His 137 three-pointers broke the CIF-CS record, and he’s on pace to shatter the section’s all-time scoring record next year.
“In all my years of coaching, I’d have to put him as probably the best shooter I’ve ever coached,” said Clovis West coach Vance Walberg, a former head coach at Pepperdine (2006-08) who also spent four years as an assistant coach in the NBA.
Walberg, who originally coached at Clovis West from 1989 to 2002, returned to the school in 2016.
“He’s definitely helped me a lot throughout high school — he’s a great coach,” Anderson said. “People weren’t expecting us to be as good as we’ve been in the past, but we lost in the section’s open division final by just two points.
“It was a really fun year. The team really bonded, and we’re only losing three players.”
Basketball has been a family affair for the Andersons. Cole’s older sister, Emily, led Cal Poly in three-point shooting during her senior year of 2017-18. His other sister, Megan, set a single-season record at San Jose State when she made 43.8% of her three-pointers (46-for-105) as a freshman. Her career three-point percentage of .403 is also the school record.
Megan Anderson ranks second at San Jose State in career threes with 185, and she would have easily broken the school record of 199 had she not decided to transfer to UCSB.
“It runs in the family, I guess,” Cole said, “although my dad actually played football in college.”
Nick Anderson played free safety at Cal Poly in the late 1980s. His mother, Jill, also went to college in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs were among their son’s finalists, a list that also included Fresno State, Washington State and Loyola Marymount. He was also recruited by San Diego State, USF, UTEP, San Jose State, Montana, Montana State and UC San Diego.
“I took a trip to UCSB sometime in November — it was my first time there and I was really amazed with how nice it was,” Anderson said. “I’ve been talking to them ever since. I also went to their last league game when they beat Cal Poly on a buzzer-beater.”
A three-day, family trip to Santa Barbara sealed the deal last weekend.
“We hung out by the pier, sat on the beach, and did stuff like that,” Cole said. “It was right after that weekend that I talked to my parents about it. I said, ‘Since there probably won’t be an AAU season this year, why not just commit to Santa Barbara right now?’”
Anderson had previously played club basketball for Chuck Hayes Elite out of Modesto. He was planning to play this summer for West Coast Elite until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen now,” he said. “But I have been trying to work out as much as I can. My high school coach gave me a shooting machine and I’ve been using it outside my house.”
He said he tries to model his play after Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro, a former Kentucky star.
“I saw a You Tube video of him and thought I kind of play like him,” Anderson said. “I’ve been following him ever since.”
He’s finishing his online classes at Clovis West this week.
“Now I’m mostly just shooting the ball outside with my sister,” he said.
But the Swish Family Andersons should be making a family home on the beaches of Santa Barbara soon enough.