By Dan Ninham
The Circle News
Editor's Note: The following article appeared in the Circle Native American News and Arts from Minneapolis. Cooper Anderson is the grandson of LCO's own "Famous" Dave Anderson and the article is reprinted here as a special interest to our community readership.
Cooper Anderson (Choctaw/ Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe) is a junior lacrosse and basketball player at Edina High School. He also plays club lacrosse for Team Minnesota on the 2025 team. Anderson accepted an offer to play NCAA DI college lacrosse at Providence College.
Anderson tied the Edina Lacrosse record with 60 points including 37 goals and 23 assists. Last spring he was named 2nd Team All State, 2nd Team All Metro, 1st Team All Section 6 and 1st Team All Lake Conference.
Anderson’s indigenous roots help guide him in his play on the field and knowing where the game comes from.
“My Indigenous core value that sticks out the most is family,” said Anderson. “Doing my best for my family and my lacrosse family. I know this is the creator’s game so I work hard to respect the game. When I do my best I know I am representing Native peoples in a good way.”
“I remember when I was little my Dad asking me if I wanted to dance pow-wow. I know he danced when he was young. I said ‘no’ but when it came to lacrosse I was into it right away. I have loved playing the game since the first time I held a stick,” added Anderson.
Anderson is continuing to prepare to be at peak performance when lacrosse practice starts after the basketball season. Last June 8, 2023 Prior Lake defeated Edina 11-8 to win the Section 6 Tournament and the Hornets ended the season 13-3. The team is also preparing to be highly competitive in the 2024 season.
“Right now I have captain’s practice with my high school team once a week and my club team once a week,” said Anderson. “Otherwise I am lifting weights and working on my shot. I need a faster shot to compete at the highest levels.”
“I would like to be 185 lbs. by the time the high school season starts. I would like to win a state championship before I graduate. I also have one more summer of club lacrosse. I enjoy traveling to the east coast to play some of the top teams and players in the country. I would also like to be able to step into my first year of college and be a contributing member of the team,” added Anderson.
James Anderson is Cooper’s dad. He talked about his son showing the emotion of playing at the highest level. He said, “Cooper is a very good lacrosse player. I appreciate that he acts like he has scored or made great plays before. He celebrates by giving high fives but never showboats or rubs it in any way. He lets his actions define him and that rubs off on his teammates. When his teammates score they celebrate in a respectful way. He is never too high and never too low and it is about doing what is best for the team.”
“Cooper best attribute is his personality,” said Andy Lee, Head Coach of Edina Lacrosse. “He knows when to push, and he knows when to laugh and keep his teammates all together in the best and challenging times. Cooper understands the game well, and always involves his teammates.”
“The best story can come from last year at rival Minnetonka, down by two goals with 5 (minutes) to go. Despite having an off day, he kept fighting and encouraging with his teammates to get us back in the game. Cooper ended up scoring our sixth goal right before we tied it in OT. Then in OT, he knew exactly where his teammate Drew Stocco was going to be and without hesitation gave him the chance to finish the game to which Drew did. Unselfish player, who grows with each practice and game,” added Coach Lee.
“Cooper is a unique athlete and person,” said Rob Graf, Cooper’s club lacrosse coach with the Team Minnesota 2025 team. “Opposing coaches and college recruiters have seen his 6’ 4” size, basketball quickness, sprinter speed, high-level skills and lacrosse IQ on the field, and these qualities command respect by their impact on the result of whatever game he’s participating.”
Coach Graf talked about how Cooper makes others better by being respectful to all people. He said, “As examples on our sidelines, in the heat of a mid-July practice, it’s Cooper that offers to give his bottle of water to a teammate who has drank his, no questions asked and no criticism offered.”
Coach Graf said, “I’ve been coaching lacrosse since roughly 1989, and I can honestly say there are very few individuals who combine the natural level physical abilities and skills, a burning competitive fire on the field, and willingness to do the extra work that Cooper has along with the kindness toward others that Cooper brings to all he meets.”