Kyle Anderson picks UCLA Bruins
Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony) committed to UCLA on Monday night, lifting the Bruins to No. 2 in the class rankings.
Call Him A Playmaker
UCLA may have landed the most unique player in the class, Kyle Anderson, because of his ability to affect the game without scoring. He is a tremendous passer with an innate ability to deliver the ball on time and on target to his teammates for a score. Coaches refer to him as a true facilitator because if he is not getting the assist, he is normally the guy who delivers the pass prior to the assist.
When you watch Anderson play even for a few minutes you can see how the game comes easy to him. He can grab a defensive rebound and take it coast to coast, knock down open 3-pointers when his feet are set or drive into the lane and get to the basket.
While some debate what position he plays, the real answer is playmaker, because he's an extremely versatile guy who can potentially play all five positions on the floor. He is yet another weapon for coach Ben Howland. With so many scorers potentially returning to UCLA in Norman Powell, Josh Smith, Tyler Lamb, David Wear, Travis Wear and a group of talented freshman. It starts to become exciting for Bruins fans to forecast the future. A lot of coaches recruit talented players, but not many coaches take talent and make it defend like Howland.
-- Paul Biancardi
Anderson repeatedly stated that he would decide on Sept. 20, his birthday. The only deviation from his plan was word coming a day early. Other than that, Anderson stuck to the script. Seton Hall recruiters visited him at his home on Monday, and afterward the No. 5 overall prospect in the country huddled together with his family and decided to commit to the Bruins over Seton Hall, Georgetown, Florida and St. John's.
"Me and my family stuck to our plan from the beginning to end," Anderson said. "I don't think I would change anything at all."
As a sophomore, Anderson attended Patterson Catholic in New Jersey and, before the school closed down, he helped it capture a City of Palms title. This past season he helped lead Saint Anthony to an undefeated season and the No. 1 spot in Fab 50. The versatile wing now joins forces with Bruins coach Ben Howland, a frequent visitor to the Final Four. Winning was clearly a significant part of his decision. However, during the recruiting process, Anderson learned more and more about Howland's reputation on the defensive side of the ball.
"That's an area I need to improve to make it to the next level, so he will help me out a lot," Anderson said. Often listed as a small forward, Anderson has a point guard's mentality and is comfortable with the ball in his hands, a la Magic Johnson. Defensively, he is in position limbo.
Anderson sees big things for himself and the Bruins in his first season. "Of course, winning the national championship and being a strong contributor," Anderson said, while describing his ideal UCLA experience. "Staying at UCLA until I am ready to go to the NBA and enjoying the whole college process."
Anderson joins a stellar recruiting class with fellow ESPNU 100 commits SF Jordan Adams (Lawrenceville, Ga./Oak Hill) and PG Dominic Artis (Richmond, Calif./Findlay). However, the Bruins are still looking to add talent.
Anderson is thought to be close to Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), the nation's top prospect. "Bazz has to make his own decision based on what's best for him," Anderson said. "I do hope he comes, though."
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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