Carson Anderson was back in his old stomping grounds on Wednesday.
He spent his formative years of playing basketball for the Sierra High Timberwolves, at times, playing sparingly.
But he grew and developed in recent years, opting for Modesto Junior College after graduating in 2018.
Anderson grew both physically and skill-wise for the Pirates under head coach Mike Girardi. By the time he was done, Anderson, who was a 6-foot-6. 205-pound high school center, had grown to 6-9, 221 pounds.
He was a full-time starter, for the most part, during those two years, in the end becoming the school's top shot-blocker and the third-leading rebounder.
"I learned a lot by getting more playing time," Anderson said Wednesday during his official signing to play basketball at the next level for Pacific Union College located in Napa Valley.
The Pioneers of the California Pacific Conference (Division II, NAIA) finished 7-7 in league, 10-15 overall. Anderson picked Pacific Union, a liberal arts school, over that of BYU, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, UC Merced and Cal-Lutheran.
His father, Jim Anderson, was surprised and impressed with his vast improvement on the hoop court while at MJC.
"I was wondering if that was the same kid," said older Anderson.
Carson Anderson credited hard work and dedication on his big jump in play. But mostly he credited MJC assistant coaches Dan and Matt Morelli for taking the time and working with him.
"It was all about going to class followed by basketball practice and weight training," Anderson said.
He learned to block shots while drawing the foul. Anderson, who was particularly adept on the offensive glass, had a few plays designed for him on the low post late this past season.
Steve Clark, his principal at Sierra High, remembers him as a football player and sharing a lead role in the school production of 'Damn Yankees.'
"He's multi-talented," he said of Anderson. "I saw Carson playing on the 'D' line Friday (for the Timberwolves) in a victory for us in football.
"On Saturday, he's starring in our school musical."
Anderson started playing basketball in the seventh grade. Up until his junior year at SHS, he was doing both football and basketball.
By his senior year, his focus became basketball.
"He made the big jump from high school (basketball) to junior college, succeeding because of his work ethic and attitude," said SHS Vice Principal Andrew Lee, who also serves as the school's athletic director.
He and Clark were proud to see Anderson back at SHS for his special signing day.