13 March 2013
Last year, Ya Ya Anderson and Yvonne Smith, two top Fluco athletes signed up with Radford University, to continue to compete in basketball and swimming, at the collegiate level. According to their respective coaches at Radford University, both of these athletes have gotten off to solid starts.
Mike Jones, the mens’ basketball coach at Radford, said that Anderson overcame some serious injuries to have a good initial season with the Highlanders. In an early preseason practice, Anderson suffered a broken bone in his foot. As a result, he was unable to participate in most of the teams’ preseason workouts. He was only cleared to return to action, just before the season started. Obviously, this is a quite disadvantageous development for a freshman who is hoping to work into the starting line-up, or the regular rotation.
Nonetheless, Anderson started the season as the Highlanders’ sixth man and he gradually became a serious contributor to the teams’ offensive production. During the middle part of the season, Anderson put up 14 points against Eastern Kentucky, and he led the team in scoring with 13 against The Citadel. He also tied for scoring leader against Towson. Unfortunately, Coach Jones notes that just as the Highlanders swung into Big South Conference play, Anderson went down with a severely sprained ankle. He missed only two games, but Jones notes that Anderson was not quite 100% when he returned to action. As a result, his scoring and shooting suffered somewhat.
However, for the season, Anderson made a serious contribution in his freshman year. He was the team’s third leading scorer with an 8.8 point per game average. On average, he was on the floor more than half the game, logging 23.1 minutes per game (college games are 40 minutes long). He also made 47 three point shots to finish second on the team in this statistic. In fact, it is in this area that Coach Jones is most excited about Ya Ya Anderson’s future. He comments that Anderson “could become the best three point shooter in Highlander history.”
Radford is making strides under Coach Jones, who has just finished his second season at the helm. In 2011 the Highlanders were 5-24 overall and 2-16 in Big South Conference play. This year they have returned to respectability with a record of 13-19 overall and 7-9 in conference play. Hopefully, with Anderson’s contributions growing in the future, the team will be able to move into the winning column in the next couple of seasons.
Another former Fluco competing at Radford this winter was Yvonne Smith. Smith was a top swimmer and diver for the Flucos. Radford women’s swim and diving coach, Ian Coffey said that Smith is swimming, but not diving for the Highlanders. Coffey comments that “Smith improved a lot in her first year of college swimming.” Smith improved a number of her times in setting personal bests. She swam in sprint events for the Highlanders, both in the freestyle and the backstroke.
In an early season meet against UNC Asheville, Smith gained three points for her team with third place finishes in both the 50 yard and the 100 yard freestyle. She also helped the 400 yard freestyle relay team to gain four points with a second place finish. The Highlanders won that meet 123-68.
Later in the season Smith swam in the 50 yard and the 100 yard backstroke in a meet against Florida Gulf Coast University. She gained points for the Highlanders in both of these events. Coach Coffey notes that he believes that Smith will continue to improve her times in the coming seasons, noting that he is sure that “her best swims are still ahead of her.” Coffey was pleased with the Highlanders’ performance this year, as the team recorded seven wins in dual meets.