As ESPN.com’s Paul Biancardi reported, 2013 basketball recruit BeeJay Anya will take his official visit to Indiana University on the weekend of October 19-21, which is when the Hoosiers will hold their annual “Hoosier Hysteria.”
With commitment time starting to quickly approach, IU seems to have many factors that could convince the 6’9 big man to choose Bloomington as his college destination.
Anya attends Maryland’s DeMatha Catholic High School, which is where one of the Hoosiers’ current leaders, junior guard Victor Oladipo, graduated from back in 2010. Maurice Creek, who has been hampered with injuries the past three seasons, also calls Maryland home, which combines for a very nice sell that IU can pitch to Anya.
If Anya were to choose the Hoosiers, there could still be a small sense of home for him in Bloomington that he might otherwise miss out on if he doesn’t end up going some place closer to home, like North Carolina State, who is also recruiting him.
Luckily for IU, the personal connections to Anya don’t stop there.
Anya’s current teammate Stanford Robinson has been climbing the 2013 recruiting ranks, and he is already committed to play for the Hoosiers.
Also, Anya and his family are close to new IU assistant coach Kenny Johnson.
Simply put – the personal connections IU has to the highly-touted center are quite abundant and will certainly help their efforts to land the 6’9 standout.
But stepping away from the personal connections, there is another factor that could likely sell Anya more strongly than any of the individuals previously mentioned.
Head coach Tom Crean has been criticized by some for not being a coach who is the best at helping his players develop into high-end NBA prospects. As a highly rated recruit, Anya possesses this level of potential and will surely be looking to attend a school that will put him in the best position to maximize his future NBA stock.
But is the Crean criticism warranted?
When Crean’s ability to find and evaluate talent is brought up, there is nobody better to start with than Dwyane Wade.
Wade was not as highly recruited out of high school as you may think. In fact, he was only really sought after by Marquette, Illinois State, and DePaul University. He joined Crean at Marquette and went on to be the 5th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.
You can even look back to Victor Oladipo, who was a pretty lowly ranked 3-star recruit out of DeMatha. With two years of major playing time under his belt, many think Oladipo is ready to take off as one of college basketball’s premier scorers and defenders in 2012.
While Wade and Oladipo are very impressive cases, the most relevant to BeeJay Anya is IU’s current big-man, Cody Zeller.
Most of you probably already know the story behind Zeller; coming from a basketball family that saw his oldest brother Luke play basketball for Notre Dame and the middle brother Tyler star for Roy Williams at North Carolina (before being a 1st round draft pick this past summer), Cody has had tons of pressure on his shoulders for years. So far he’s exceeded all expectations, and is on his way to fulfilling the prediction that he’d end up being the best ‘Zeller brother’ of them all.
Zeller had a productive freshman year at IU, consisting of 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting at 62.3%. Heading into 2012, Cody has been picked by many to be this upcoming season’s top player in all the nation while leading a Hoosier squad that just may be the best of the best.
And if all goes according to plan this year, Zeller could very well be the number 1 overall pick in the next NBA Draft, which isn’t a fate many saw coming when his recruiting rank fell into the late teens during his senior year of high school.
If Anya does choose IU, he’ll be able to work with the same strength and conditioning coach, Je’Ney Jackson, that has added around 45 lbs of muscle to Zeller since he got to campus as a long and lanky freshman.
You can think of it sort of like John Calipari and his point guards – one success story can lead to many more.
Coach Cal has led many successful PGs who went on to be prominent NBA players: Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Knight, and Marquis Teague. So who knows, maybe Cody Zeller could really be the start of something for Tom Crean as far as big men go.
The best way to put it is this: sure, there are a lot of selling points the likes of NC State, Louisville, Ohio State, and others could give to Anya. But it’s hard to have more than Indiana University does at this point.
Does every recruit end up at the destination that seems the most sensible on paper? No. Just look at Michigan State’s Gary Harris.
Nonetheless, Kenny Johnson, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, and Tom Crean are certainly are filling up said paper quite nicely for Anya.