It begins to sound like the stuff of folklore.
On a sunny September Saturday, in a stuffy, half-empty middle school gym, tucked away inside Jamaica, Queens, New York City, just over two miles from the campus of St. John’s University, Kyle Anderson showed why he is a consensus Top 5 player in the country.
The 6’8” New Jersey product dropped 61 points (yes, 61 points) and grabbed 8 rebounds for the New Jersey Playaz in a 131-91 win in the first round of the iS8/Nike Fall Tip-Off Classic.
“A lot of big-time players like to come play in iS8,” Anderson told JohnnyJungle.com of playing in the tournament. “And me being right across the bridge [in New Jersey], coming over to play every spring and fall, it’s just a blessing.”
Anderson, nearing his September 20th college decision, is in the midst of a final round of campus and in-home visits before he chooses between St. John’s, Georgetown, Florida, UCLA, and Seton Hall.
This past Wednesday, September 7th, the St. Anthony (NJ) senior visited St. John’s campus, a visit that included time with the team and speaking with former UCLA guard and current Cleveland Cavalier Baron Davis, who was on campus for a workout.
Steve Lavin was also one of only two head coaches at St. Anthony yesterday, along with Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard, to watch Anderson work out. Another former UCLA point guard, Earl Watson, accompanied Lavin.
“It means I must be doing something right,” said the poker-faced Anderson, who has taken care not to hint toward which college he may be leaning. “Those are two great coaches right there and for them to take their time to actually come see me, that means I picked a great five schools.”
St. John’s has two commitments from the Class of 2012: Louisiana forward Ricardo Gathers and Washington D.C. point guard Darrick Wood, the latter of which plays AAU with Anderson on the New Jersey Playaz.
And the possibility of playing together has come up in conversation between the two.
“Yeah, we have those talks. But, you know, it’s still something I have to think about,” said Anderson. “I’ll go where I want to go, but it would be a plus to have another person that I played AAU with. That would help.”
Wood is currently enrolled at Bridgton Academy (ME), after transferring from NIA Prep (NJ), and did not make the trip to play in iS8 this weekend.
Ranked #5 overall by ESPN, Kyle Anderson is the highest-rated player St. John’s recruited heavily in the Lavin Era. If Anderson commits to the Red Storm, he would join the six Top 100 recruits that Lavin has already lured to Queens, along with top junior college players Nurideen Lindsey and God’sgift Achiuwa.
Anderson will host UCLA for an in-home visit tonight, September 10th, and Florida on September 12th, then travel to Florida for an official visit September 16th and 17th. A Seton Hall in-home will follow on September 18th, before the decision comes on his birthday, September 20th.