By Heather Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Former Madison Heights star Ray Tolbert felt a little strange walking the hallways of a school that no longer bears the name emblazoned on the jersey he wore on his way to being named Mr. Basketball in 1977.
Sad to not see any Pirates memorabilia in the halls of the current Anderson High School, Tolbert wishes all three Anderson high schools could be honored in some way.
AHS took a small step toward that dream Thursday night.
At halftime of the Indians’ game against Muncie Central, Tolbert and former Anderson stars Roy Taylor and Kojak Fuller were honored for their contributions to Anderson basketball. All three were named Mr. Basketball – Taylor in 1974, Fuller in 1993 – and will soon see their jerseys hanging on the gym’s wall along with fellow Mr. Basketballs Johnny Wilson and Troy Lewis.
“I had a lot of good memories here, a lot of good friends from Anderson, Highland and Madison Heights. I’m just kind of glad it’s all coming together,” said Tolbert, who also won the national championship at Indiana University in 1981. “I’m just glad that something like this will always be enshrined forever here at Anderson High School.”
For Fuller, it was a night to celebrate the long family legacy of his No. 33 at Anderson. His brothers Archie Fuller and Kenny Chamberlain wore the same number for the Indians. Fuller, moved to tears during the ceremony, said this night wasn’t just about him.
“All of the accomplishments, awards, records that were set and were broken, those two individuals had a lot to do with it,” Fuller said. “As well as the community, the black community that I grew up in. They have a lot to do with that jersey being retired tonight. It’s huge.”
Fuller, whose star rose nearly two decades after Taylor, said the elder Indians standout, co-Mr. Basketball with Southwestern’s Steve Collier, set the bar very high for those who followed.
“He definitely gave some attention to the talent that was here in Anderson,” Fuller said. “I think he really paved the way, but I think he also set the bar for individuals to say, ‘Hey listen, I just can’t settle on being OK. I have to strive to be the best out there on the basketball court.’ I think for myself I know that’s definitely how I played.”
Taylor, who has recently been dealing with health issues, was proud to be part of the ceremony alongside Tolbert and Fuller.
“It’s a real honor to be in the same class with them,” Taylor said. “It’s an honor to have something like this happen to me. It just makes my day.”
Anderson High School coach Joe Nadaline kept his team on the bench during the presentation, making sure they witnessed this moment in Anderson basketball history.
“It’s a great night, long overdue,” Nadaline said.