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Hoop City Classic Notebook: Ex-Memphis guard guides Lynn English

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Lynn English (Mass.) Head Coach Antonio Anderson talks with the official during a break in the Bulldogs game against Yankton on Friday in the Hoop City Classic at Corn Palace.

Antonio Anderson’s basketball travels have taken him all over the globe and to the Corn Palace this week.

The former Memphis men’s basketball player and professional basketball journeyman is the head boys basketball coach at Lynn English (Mass.). The Bulldogs are playing at this week’s Hoop City Classic in Mitchell and the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

Anderson is coaching the Bulldogs for his third season and also spent time coaching in Mike Miller’s AAU program, M33M. It’s since been changed to Hoop City Basketball Club.

Miller and Hoop City Classic Director Ernie Kuyper bragged up the environment to Anderson and he had to see it for himself.

“They always used to tell me about this place,” Anderson said. “The history of it and Mike used to tell me about it when he played. It was a no brainer. I am excited to be out here with my group of guys and bring our talent from Massachusetts out here.”

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It’s just another stop in Anderson’s long basketball journey. After playing high school in Massachusetts, Anderson starred at Memphis and started on the NCAA national runner-up team in 2008. Anderson started alongside Derrick Rose, Joey Dorsey, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Robert Dozier. He then bounced around the D League, NBA and overseas before coaching.

“It was a great experience and being able to play against teams from all over and go to different arenas,” Anderson said. “You will have those memories with you for a long time. I think my guys who are playing tonight will be remembering the Corn Palace, will remember the Pentagon for the rest of their lives.”

Lynn English returned four starters from a state championship team last season. Anderson said the local basketball fans will appreciate the way his Bulldogs play and they mirror a South Dakota team.

“We are fast. We are big. We shoot it and we play hard,” Anderson said. “I think people in South Dakota love basketball teams that give it their all and blue-collar kind of guys. That’s we have. It should be fun for them to watch and good for my guys to showcase their talent on a big stage.”

Academics are just as important as athletics for the Travis family

Athletics have become synonymous with the Travis name, but so have academics.

When Jalen Travis took the Corn Palace floor on Friday, he followed in the footsteps of two older brothers -- Jonah and Reid -- both of whom starred for Minneapolis’ DeLaSalle High School and played in the Hoop City Classic.

Jalen is set to become a Division I athlete next fall, just like his older brothers and he is going to do so at one of the nation’s top academic institutions, just like his brothers.

Jonah, who participated in the inaugural Mike Miller Classic, played basketball for Harvard. Reid came through next and the McDonald’s All-American graduated from Stanford and played one season with Kentucky. Jalen won’t be playing basketball, but instead the 6-foot-8, 280-pounder is committed to be an offensive tackle for Princeton.

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“Academics is always going to be there for us and be our default,” Travis said. “Obviously we love sports and we want to excel at the highest level, but we know academics are always going to be there. My dad and my mom were so hard on academics. You have to take care of business in the classroom before you can do it on the field.”

All three Travis children could have competed for closer school such as the University of Minnesota, which is less than a mile from their home. But, They have been encouraged to see what the rest of the world has to offer.

Like Jonah, Jalen also won’t be attending college on an athletic scholarships -- which are not offered by Ivy League schools -- but he believes that a degree from Princeton will be worth much more than the tuition he will have to pay.

Each Travis child was encouraged to choose a place that will challenge him in pursuit of his plan of becoming involved in politics and the Princeton coaching staff holds political ties, which was part of the draw for Jalen to commit.

“You want them to enjoy the process of developing their minds, wanting to go to a place where they’ll be challenged,” Travis’ father Nate said. “If you ask if we’re cracking the whip? No, it’s not a whip crack. It’s doing what you’re supposed to do and it unfold before your eyes as you grow and develop.”

Travis still has plans of playing football professionally, just as Reid is currently playing pro basketball in Germany. But if those plans do not come to fruition, his dream is to become a United States senator.

“I like to see the issues at hand and help people figure it out,” Jalen said. “I’m a people person and I like working with people.”

DeLaSalle topped Cornerstone Christian School (Texas) 54-49 on Friday and is slated to face Yankton at 8 p.m. today at the Pentagon.

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Barksdale returns to Hoop City Classic with a new team and happier circumstances

Casey Barksdale brought Cornerstone Christian School to uncharted territory when it arrived in Mitchell, but for Barksdale, the Hoop City Classic is nothing new.

In 2016, Barksdale served as the interim coach of St. Anthony in San Antonio, Texas, which competed in the classic at the Sanford Pentagon. Fast forward three years and Barksdale is now coaching San Antonio-based Cornerstone, which fell to DeLaSalle (Minn.) on Friday.

When Barksdale was last in South Dakota, he was thrust into St. Anthony’s top coaching spot after Jeff Merritt left when several players -- including current Western Kentucky University standout Charles Bassey -- were deemed ineligible. Now in a more stable role, Barksdale was eager to bring his new troops back to the Hoop City Classic.

“We like to come here because it’s tough,” Barksdale said. “It’s cold, it’s a travel (after flying) from Omaha and I hope that develops toughness. I also hope to learn from (DeLaSalle) what it’s like to make winning plays and there’s a price tag on winning.”

The Warriors face Huron at 9:30 p.m. today at the Pentagon.

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