With the 2013 recruiting season underway, UCLA basketball is back on the trail, looking for fresh new talent to stock up for not the new season, but the next new season. Recruiting season never dies in basketball or football, and it’s important to keep up with the happs in recruiting.
We’ll be taking a look at some prominent recruits that UCLA has offered, and that have shown at least “medium” interest level, according to Scout.com. First, let’s take a gander at 5-star center BeeJay Anya.
Anya is a consensus five-star recruit that has received offers from nearly all of the top basketball programs in the nation, and has shown interest in schools like UCLA, Georgetown, Ohio State, Indiana and pretty much a dozen others. (For a complete list, please check out Anya’s profile on ESPN.)
And for good reason. Dude has a 7’4” (!) wingspan on his 6’8” body, meaning the dude’s lengthy as hell. He also likes to stay in the post on both offense and defense. This is key, really, because true centers that are cool with banging down low are hard to come by: Every player, tall or short, wants to settle for a 15-foot jump shot, just because.
But there are issues regarding this, specifically, though, and it’s an issue we’re all too familiar with: Weight and conditioning. (Remember Josh Smith, guys? He’s our center who can’t seem to get going because of, well, his weight and conditioning.) At 6’9”, he weighs a pretty heavy 275 pounds, and although it’s possible to be that big at that height, conditioning and weight could wind up being a problem too.
What about his offensive polish? It’s not as good as we’d hope, according to Scout and ESPN, and though he’s made progress, he’s still nowhere near as crafty as Josh Smith was under the basket. The good thing is that there’s apparently “daily” improvement on his footwork and back-to-the-basket skills, which are totally necessary and is the difference between Anthony Stover and Josh Smith (with the latter being the correct starter, if he’s healthy).
Defensively? This is apparently a strong-point for Anya, as evidenced by the mixtape above, and the scouting reports seem to agree. (Again, take these highlight tapes with a grain of salt; but it’s important to note that the majority of them are him blocking, crashing the boards, and dunking the ball, a testament to where he excels at.) The dude gets up there and his length is going to be a pain in the ass to deal with if you’re the opposition. He seems to have a tendency to plop in the paint and contest anything and everything at the rim while eating up the glass to ensure no second-chance opportunities. He’s a defensive game-changer, it looks like, and that’s valuable to any college program.
By the time Anya is ready for college, Josh Smith will be a senior, and it’s possible that, if Smith does well enough, he heads to the NBA (or flames out; hopefully he sticks around because he’s that good, but we’re getting off topic here).
Either way, think of Anya as a more defensive-oriented Josh Smith with more length and less offensive savvy. At least until more mixtapes surface, then we can speculate him to be the next Michael Jordan or something stupid like that.