Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SHU upset by Kyle Anderson's decision

SHU upset by Kyle Anderson's decision

By John Lopiano, Assistant Sports Editor
The Setonian
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 13:09

The Seton Hall campus breathed a collective sigh of frustration on Monday evening as one of the most heralded recruitment processes in recent memory came to a sudden end.

Kyle Anderson, regarded as one of the premier recruits in the high school class of 2012, announced he would be playing for coach Ben Howland at UCLA after graduation and not Seton Hall.

"Had a great family meeting," Anderson said via his Twitter account at around 10 p.m. "I've decided to be a UCLA BRUIN!!"

The decision came after a long recruitment process which saw Anderson's interest dwindle to just five teams as of two weeks ago. After Georgetown and St. John's were bumped, the list contained just three schools: Florida, UCLA, and Seton Hall.

Anderson, a native of Fairview, N.J., has been considered one of the most unique players in the nation over the last three years, first while a freshman at Paterson Catholic and then after his transfer to St. Anthony's in 2009. At 6-8, 210 lbs., Anderson is capable of playing several positions but has stated he would explicitly like to play point guard in college.

Last year for St. Anthony, as a junior, Anderson averaged 14.4 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, and 4.2 assists per game. In the 2010-11 season he played alongside teammate Myles Mack who will play for Rutgers University during the upcoming season.

St. Anthony finished last season with a 33-0 record and a national title victory. The national title is coach Bob Hurley's fourth.

Anderson's roller coaster recruitment was sure to disappoint someone, but for Seton Hall the pain will linger a little longer. Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard's recruitment was flawless, according to Anderson's father, Kyle Anderson, Sr.

"I think with the five schools we narrowed it down to, he couldn't go wrong with any of the schools," Anderson's father said in an interview with The Bergen Record. "I think Seton Hall did the best job recruiting him, but in this business, the best recruiter doesn't always win.

"There is no textbook way of how to recruit someone, but if there was, Seton Hall did it."

The pressure on Anderson to stay home was heavy. Even after his announcement, Anderson tweeted "the last thing I want [out of] all this is to still go to SHU games and have SHU still on my side!!"

On campus, the reaction to losing out on a recruit as lauded as Anderson has been understandably grim.

"It's definitely disappointing," said Connor McCormick, a senior at Seton Hall. "I think Willard and his staff did everything they possibly could, but not landing him is pretty devastating for a program looking to get back into contention."

Last week over 100 Seton Hall fans, adorned in blue and white, packed the Kennedy High School gym in Paterson, N.J. for Anderson's fall league game, holding signs and cheering his name. This wasn't the fans' first display of support either.

During his official visit in early September, students crowded him as he walked around campus with former AAU teammates and current Seton Hall players Jordan Theodore and Fuquan Edwin. The campus has been buzzing ever since he showed interest.

"His recruitment ignited such a craze around here," McCormick added. "Just imagine if he had come here, how it would have affected this school."

Despite the best efforts of both the coaching staff and the fans, Anderson will take his talents to a storied UCLA program, one that holds many NCAA records including 11 National Championships and 18 Final Four appearances.

According to Anderson, his decision was difficult and involved much consideration; however he was intrigued by coach Howland's ability to run a guard orientated offense at UCLA, one that has produced NBA stars such as Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison.

"Sometimes it's been a little bit overwhelming," Anderson said in an interview with the Star Ledger. "It's just been crazy, but I'm happy it's over with."

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