Trae in Transition: Transfer tries to find new role at Eastern


Chynna Miller

Trae Andreson, a junior guard/forward for the Eastern men’s basketball team, is a transfer from Southwestern Illinois College. Anderson said he’s looking to take on a scoring role for the Panthers this season. The Eastern men’s basketball team’s first exhibition game against University of Saint Francis will be Monday, Nov. 10.

Jehad Abbed, Staff Reporter

The second practice with the Eastern men’s basketball team is when junior forward Trae Anderson first noticed a difference after making the jump from junior college to a Division I program.

“My body was tearing down on me,” Anderson said, “It’s a little tough, but I can get used to it fast.”

Anderson has no doubt in his mind about his preparation and readiness to succeed at a high level with the Panthers. He is one of Eastern’s newest additions to the team as well as being one of three Southwestern Illinois College products to suit up this season.

Seniors Dylan Chatman and Mat Piotrowski transferred from Southwestern beforehand, where they established a relationship with Anderson.  He said they let him know all about the team and the type of atmosphere he would be coming into at a program like Eastern.

“I felt like Eastern was the right choice for me,” he said.

Anderson was in contact with Jacksonville State and other Division II programs, while making a decision on the right school. Anderson said that he was connected with a former assistant coach for Eastern at this time and that Chatman and Piotrowski definitely affected the decision.

The Southwestern transfers come from a program ran by a hall of fame coach in Jay Harrington. Anderson said that he enjoys the coaching style of Jay Spoonhour here at eastern.

“I’m not going to say that (Spoonhour) is a lot easier, but coach Harrington is definitely the more crazy one by far,” Anderson said.

He cited Harrington’s radical approach to coaching as a big reason for being so prepared to take the step into a higher level of competition.

The Panthers’ strategy plays into Anderson’s strengths on the court. He said he gets most of his points off of fast breaks and Spoonhour has introduced a more up-tempo style of play.

“I like fast break games,” he said, “ That’s what we are doing here and I like it.”

Anderson will be looked as one of the players to score for Eastern this season. The Panthers lost their leading scorer from last year in Sherman Blanford.  The former starting forward averaged 14.5 points per game last year.

Spoonhour could possibly be looking for Anderson to help fill that void. He said the coaches want him to take on a big scoring load for the Panthers.

“We need another strong offensive player,” Anderson said, “ I feel like I could bring that to the table here.”

Anderson exudes nothing but confidence in himself and his team. He openly expressed his ambitions for OVC All-Conference honors.  Coming off an 11-19 record in the 2013-2014 season, he said he sees the team completely flipping the numbers this year.

“I feel like we could do it with this team too,” he said, “We’ve got all the right pieces.”

Jehad Abbed can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].