Anna Jefferson-Polk loves Weatherford, and she loves Weatherford College. And now she is going to add to her family legacy at the school.
Jefferson-Polk, a senior at Weatherford High School, has signed a letter of intent to play basketball for the Weatherford College Lady Coyotes next season.
“First of all, I got a full ride, so I didn’t have to worry about anything,” Jefferson-Polk said with a chuckle. “But I love Weatherford, and staying here to play feels great. I’m very comfortable with this decision, and I’m really excited to start the next part of my journey.”
Lady Coyote coach Bob McKinley is also excited about the Lady Kangaroo standout joining his squad.
“She is going to be great for us. I’ve known her a long time, and she’s a great player and a great person,” McKinley said. “She comes from a great family. She can do a lot of things on the basketball court.”
One of the reasons McKinley knows her so well is her uncle, Doug Jefferson, has worked at WC for 26 years and is currently the associate dean of student development.
“This made my uncle Doug very happy,” Jefferson-Polk said with a smile. “My aunt played there, my uncle Pat played there and now my uncle Doug works there.”
Anna’s mother, Darla Jefferson, also played for WC under Betty Jo Graber. And her grandfather, the Rev. Curtis Jefferson, volunteers as a member of the WC Foundation Board of Directors.
Jefferson-Polk, a 5-foot-3-inch point guard, was named the District 3-6A Most Valuable Player this past season, leading the Lady Kangaroos to a third straight playoff berth. She did so after being the lone returning player (not lone starter, but the only player) from last season. She was recently recognized as a 6A All-State honoree by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
As a junior, she was the 3-6A Defensive MVP. She was also honorable mention All-District 4-6A as a sophomore.
“I’m really excited to have her stick around. Coach McKinley will really help elevate her play,” said Lady Roos coach Darryn Shearmire. “Plus, I think it’s great to have the connection between WC and WHS now. Anna is loved by so many here that they will become avid Lady Coyote fans, and that is a win-win in my book.
“Anna is on a quest to become one of the best. The conference is tough, and I know she will rise to the challenge and become one of the best around. There are not many like her and what she can bring—leadership, unity, intensity, high moral character and just classy all the way to the core. I’m looking forward to being a huge supporter of Lady Coyotes basketball and the AJP Fan Club.”
Jefferson-Polk said she is also looking forward to advancing her game playing at the next level for NJCAA Hall of Fame coach McKinley, who has 910 career victories. He will be entering his 42nd season at WC and was named the 2017-18 North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Co-Coach of the Year (the 12th time he’s earned the honor) after the Lady Coyotes won a share of their 13th league title with him at the helm.
“I’ve known him for such a long while, and now being able to play for him is great,” she said. “He’s only going to make me better and will prepare me so much more for playing at the (NCAA) D-I or D-II level.”
Jefferson-Polk said she knows this signing would have made her late mother and grandmother proud.
“I know they are happy. I miss them every day,” she said. “I grew up around basketball, but no one in my family ever pushed me. Their main thing was that I am happy, and I’m happy having my family watch me play.”
Jefferson-Polk lost her mother to cancer in 2005. Her grandmother also succumbed to the disease as Jefferson-Polk was set to begin her freshman season on the varsity. She now lives with her grandfather.
Jefferson-Polk offered some advice for the returning Lady Roos.
“I just tried to lead the team in the best way I could, knowing this was my final season at WHS,” she said. “And my message to them is keep on playing, have fun. If you’re not having fun, why do it?
“I want to thank God, my family, my friends, Coach Shearmire and all my coaches for helping me get here. I’m so happy to be going from being a Lady Roo to a Lady Coyote.”
by Rick Mauch