“I told him he can use his past as a crutch or to propel him into what he was meant to do… “In only a few words, GOCC Instructor Michelle McNamara aptly described the story of recent class of alumni Karvel Anderson ‘09.
If that name sounds familiar, it is for good reason. Anderson, now shooting guard for Robert Morris University’s Division I basketball team, has been examined and celebrated in countless articles over the past several years. When asked about the media attention, he acknowledged that he has received recognition for his game since high school, but that … “it increased a bit at GOCC, and it just got crazy once I got here (Robert Morris University).”
The six-foot-two Elkhart, Ind., native had been through incredible setbacks his entire life (and three junior colleges in as many years), but is now finally where he belongs — leaving his mark as a very talented ball player at one of the top schools in the country.
What probably is most fascinating about Anderson is how hard he has fought for everything — to graduate from Glen Oaks, to make his own opportunities and to develop that quick release jump shot that keeps bystanders mesmerized. This jump shot is arguably what got him noticed by RMU in the first place through a video which came to the attention of the team’s assistant coach, who, in turn, shared it with RMU’s Head Coach Andy Toole, who soon offered Anderson a spot. However, this is not to say that his skills or any of the opportunities stemming from them were just dropped in his lap — every area of his life personal, educational, and athletic) has been met with a challenge through which he has had to fight his way. Homelessness, absent parents, a broken wrist and academic struggles have been chief among them, and would have typically been met with defeat and bitterness by any other without his fortitude.
Still, Anderson has overcome all of them and humbly credits those who have helped him along the way, including some Glen Oaks mentors. Steve Proefrock, GOCC men’s basketball coach, counts Anderson as one of his most talented and favorite players. “When you’re on this team, you’re always part of a family… but you have your favorite children, and he’s one.” Their mentor-mentee relationship was immediate, and Proefrock can still recount conversations about accountability and sincerity as well as those about aiming for better grades. In addition to that, their mutual admiration for each other is still apparent.
“What first impressed me about Karvel were his skills — I saw a video of one high school game where he scored 42 points. But the bottom line was we had a great connection.”
“I definitely miss The Oaks a lot,” said Anderson. “I had some great experiences there athletically and academically. I honestly wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Coach Pro (Steve Proefrock, GOCC men’s basketball coach) pushing me every single day to become the best student athlete I could be, and my teammates constantly supporting me, my professors staying on me academically, and the support of everyone else at Glen Oaks. I really felt like people at GOCC really care about their students and that’s something you don’t get at most colleges. Everyone really took care of me and did everything they could to help me graduate.”
He also expressed thanks for the help from one of his favorite instructors, Michelle McNamara, instructor of business communications. She taught the last class he attended at GOCC … “he needed those last few summer credits in order to graduate and take his spot on the RMU basketball team.”
McNamara remembers, “He was very dedicated and willing to improve. He was aware that he needed that class and he showed that in his work. He approached the class as if it was the most important thing he needed at that time to get him there.”
It’s safe to say that most all who know Anderson are deeply struck by his story, but his personality is what stays with you—the gratitude and the humility, especially.
“He’s not cocky,” she recounted,”… he’s very approachable and willing to learn, to roll up his sleeves and work.” Glen Oaks agrees.