Four-year letterwinner Celia Anderson’s basketball career has been a series of dreams fulfilled. As a graduate of the University of Arkansas and published author, her life serves as an inspiration to future Razorback athletes on how to combine a successful academic and athletic career into a successful life.
A product of Little Rock, Ark., Anderson was a member of Hall High’s 1997 state championship team before signing with the Razorbacks. Her freshman season, Arkansas reached the NCAA Final Four. As a sophomore, the Razorbacks won the 1999 Women’s NIT title over Wisconsin in a game that was the tournament attendance record and remains a Bud Walton Arena women’s basketball record 14,163.
The individual peak of her Arkansas career came at the 2001 Southeastern Conference Tournament in Memphis as she turned in a career high 22 points with 12 rebounds to lift the Razorbacks past Miss State. The opening round win set the stage for Arkansas’ first trip to the SEC Tournament semifinals. By leading Arkansas to the 94-76 win, Anderson offset the greatest offensive performance in SEC Tournament history, a 44-point day by MSU’s LaToya Thomas.
In four seasons at Arkansas, Anderson played on four postseason teams, two in the NCAA and two in the WNIT, and shared the court with several of the Razorback’s legendary players. Anderson was a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll as well as a multiple selection to the athletic department honor roll.
Anderson went on to a professional career in Europe, notably as the top rebounder in the top division of women’s pro basketball in Greece for Alexander the Great, before returning to Fayetteville to fulfill her next career dream.
Now 29-years-old and completing her master’s at Arkansas under the tutelage of E. Lynn Harris, Anderson already has her first published novel, Love, Ocean. The book follows the trials of a 17-year-old junior from New Orleans displaced by the Katrina disaster to Little Rock. The novel is more than an example of the write-what-you-know school of fiction as Anderson cleverly meshes a message about education through the text.
Anderson plans a four-volume series tracing Ocean Sims’ life from high school through college and into politics. Along with the obvious emphasis of using education to elevate one’s life, Anderson slips in practical aids for her target audience – at least 25 vocabulary words to assist high schoolers with standardized college entrance exams like the ACT.
The University of Arkansas’ Athletic Department recognizes its heritage and the countless contributions made by African-American student-athletes in all 19 of its varsity sports. The Razorbacks are proud to celebrate this great tradition and recognize some of the inspiring pioneers, great student-athletes and outstanding role models that have worn a Razorback uniform as a part of Black History Month.