High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Hoophall Classic

Rankings don't register for Kyle Anderson

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
7:45
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Kyle AndersonKelly Kline/ESPNHSKyle Anderson said he and the Friars love their new role of underdog.


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- There are so many things that make Kyle Anderson a typical 18-year-old high school basketball player: He’s an avid hip hop fan, he’s a social media junkie and he rocks Beats by Dre headphones prior to games.

The one thing that makes him a bit different is that he doesn’t pay attention to rankings of any kind.

Seriously.

“I’m telling you, man,” Anderson said, “I don’t look at that kind of stuff.”

It's obvious the St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) senior point guard knows that statement might raise a few eyebrows, so he adds a quick follow-up to reinforce his claim.

“I swear I don’t get in to all that stuff,” said Anderson, a UCLA signee who is ranked No. 5 in the ESPNU 100. “That’s for other people to decide. All we do is go out there and play as hard as we can. We stay focused on that.”

The Friars, ranked No. 4 in the POWERADE FAB 50, will need that focus today when they face No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., at 11 a.m. ET on ESPNU.

“We look at the polls at the end of the year,” St. Anthony coach Bobby Hurley Sr. said. “Other than that, I don’t really put any thought into where we’re ranked and things like that. It doesn’t matter to me.”

That said, Hurley was “aware” that fresh off of an undefeated (33-0) season and a No. 1 final ranking in the 2010-11 FAB 50, his Friars began this season ranked No. 9. After some digging, Anthony fessed up to “not really understanding” how they were ranked so low after a perfect season.

“I didn’t really get it,” Anderson said. “But that’s what I mean, that’s why I don’t really keep up with those things because it’s someone’s opinion. I’m sure that there are some teams that are better than us, but eight teams? Do I agree with that? Nah.”

To be fair, St. Anthony lost Myles Mack, an ESPNHS first team All-American who averaged 15.2 points and 3.6 assists per game last season. Mack is now a freshman at Rutgers averaging 10.2 points and 2.1 assists per game for the Scarlet Knights.

Still, you get the sense that Anderson has drawn the conclusion that the eight-spot drop in the preseason was the voters’ way of saying that he alone wasn’t enough, even if he is putting up 17.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for the Friars.

“Kyle is the most versatile player in the country,” said Miller Grove coach Sharman White. “He’s the guy and he’s been the guy. If we’re not able to slow him down or stop him from getting into a groove, then it’s going to be a long day. I’m not sure why St. Anthony was slighted in the rankings from the beginning, but I know that Kyle and Coach Hurley will only use that as motivation.”

White is exactly right. Anderson said he and the Friars have come to relish the role of the underdog.

“It’s a new situation for us, but we love it,” Anderson said. “A lot of people are overlooking us, and that’s fine. It’s like people don’t see us coming, but we’re definitely coming. We’re definitely coming.”

And everyone will have to pay attention to that.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Jerrett propels La Verne past St. Patrick

January, 14, 2012
1/14/12
11:21
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.) forward Grant Jerrett had to make an adjustment.

Grant Jerrett
J. Anthony Roberts/ESPNHSGrant Jerrett scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead LaVerne to a win over St. Patrick 68-66 in overtime.
In the first half of the Trojans’ game against St. Patrick, Jerrett couldn’t find a way through their zone double team designed to eliminate his effectiveness.

“They did a really good job,” said Jerrett, a senior who is signed to Arizona. “I knew that I had to step through better, and once I did that I was able to get it going.”

Jerrett scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Trojans past the Celtics, 68-66, in overtime Saturday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Eric Cooper Jr. added 17 points and five rebounds and Elijah Davis led St. Patrick with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

“It was a great win for our team,” said La Verne Lutheran coach Eric Cooper Sr. “Just to come out here at a quality event like this and get a win really separates us and keeps us moving toward where we want to be.”

Neither team could separate itself in the first half, but the Celtics rode the hot hand of Jared Nickens to who knocked down three 3-pointers in route to 11 first half points to give St. Patrick a 29-25 lead, despite committing 10 turnovers.

“It’s just two great teams playing,” Jerrett said. “Sometimes it’s hard to shake people. We knew that it would come down to the wire just by the way the game was going.”

Late in the fourth quarter, Cameron Osorno drained a corner 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give Lutheran a two-point lead. The Trojans could only increase that lead to three down the stretch and with 7.1 seconds left in the game, DeAndre Bembry drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to send the game to overtime.

Both teams traded baskets for most of the overtime period, but in the last minute Jerrett threw down a monster dunk, sent Davis’ layup flying, secured a key rebound and knocked down two free throws to secure the win.

“I knew I’d have to come up big if we were gonna get the win,” Jerrett said. “I’m just glad that I was able to make big plays down the stretch. It’s a great win.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

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