St. Anthony star Kyle Anderson stayed poised during recruiting process before choosing UCLA
By Matthew Stanmyre/The Star-Ledger
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 4:30 AM
The blue-clad Seton Hall University fans filed into the gym at Paterson Kennedy High School last week, a group of more than 100 people that filled the bleachers for Kyle Anderson’s fall league basketball game.
As Anderson, the highly rated 6-8 senior swingman from St. Anthony High, tried to focus on the game, he couldn’t help but note the most unusual recruiting tactic during what had been a frenzied battle for the coveted player.
“Sometimes it’s been a little bit overwhelming,” said Anderson, a First-Team All-State selection for The Star-Ledger who is rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2012, according to Rivals.com.
“But you’ve got to think of the bright side. There are millions of kids that want to be in my position and be wanted by all these schools.”
In the end, the efforts by Seton Hall’s fans couldn’t sway Anderson, who verbally committed to UCLA Monday night. He chose the Bruins over Seton Hall, St. John’s, Georgetown and Florida.
The decision marked the end of an intense recruiting war for Anderson, whom scouts love for his blend of size and versatility.
The past few months he has been deluged with messages from fans sent to his
Facebook and Twitter accounts. His cell phone has seemed to constantly buzz for long stretches. No matter where he went, people asked about his college decision.
“It’s just been crazy,” Anderson said. “But I’m happy it’s over with.”
Anderson has been a highly touted player since his freshman season at Paterson Catholic, which closed after the 2009-2010 school year, prompting his transfer to St. Anthony. This past season, he helped lead the Friars to a 33-0 record and coach Bob Hurley’s fourth national title.
Anderson grew up playing the point guard position, but a massive growth spurt allowed him to sprout to his current height, while keeping his ball-handling skills. He selected UCLA largely because of coach Ben Howland’s track record with grooming guards such as Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison for the NBA.
“Certainly this kid, as he should right now, is dreaming the dream about playing professionally,” Hurley said. “(He) thinks coach Howland will give him a good chance to continue to develop as a player.”
Anderson informed UCLA of his decision Monday night, not long after a home visit with Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard.
“I thought it was the best fit for me,” Anderson said. “I really liked it from the beginning.”