The Thanksgiving holiday is still five days away, but for Killeen Kangaroos post Melvin Anthony, Friday marked a day where he added on more thing to be thankful for.
His hard work as a Roo paid off when he signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith during a signing ceremony at the Killeen High School gym.
“It felt good to finally sign the paper and know where I was going,” Anthony said. “I was really excited, but nervous at the same time. I was happy that I was able to sign somewhere that showed me a lot of love.”
UAFS is an NCAA Division II school that plays in the Heartland Conference.
This season, UAFS is 4-0. Last year the Lions went 16-12 and beat Texas A&M International in the conference tournament’s first round before losing to St. Mary’s in the second round.
Anthony said that he expects to play forward when he gets to campus.
“What I’m looking forward to most is being a part of the program and seeing where I can fit,” Anthony said. “They told me where I can fit, but I want to see how it works out. That’s really what I’m looking forward to is being a fit to the program.”
Anthony averaged nine points during his junior season last year and provided a defensive presence for Killeen with seven rebounds and three blocks per game.
Roos basketball coach Reggie Huggins said that helping an athlete get better and make it to the next level is one of the most gratifying aspects of his job.
Huggins believes that Anthony has the natural gifts to excel at UAFS.
“A lot of times players like him are called ‘tweeners’ because they’re big enough where they can post up and fast enough that if a bigger guys guards him, he can go right by him,” Huggins said. “He has the skill set that allows him to do multiple things on the court.”
Anthony said that his visit to the UAFS campus and the chemistry that was built with the coaching staff really attracted him.
Lions coach Josh Newman sold Anthony on the program and it made it possible for the 6-foot-5 post to pick UAFS over Texas State, Abilene Christian, New Mexico and the Texas-Arlington.
“He wanted me for more than just basketball, he wanted me as a person,” Anthony said.
“He stressed academics as well when most coaches just care about basketball.”