Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — The Kyle Anderson Sweepstakes is heating up here at the Peach Jam.
With the 6-foot-8 St. Anthony High School guard slated to announce his college choice Sept. 20, all five schools recruiting him are following him down the stretch of the summer basketball circuit.
UCLA coach Ben Howland, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, Georgetown coach John Thompson III, Florida coach Billy Donovan and assistant Norm Roberts and St. John’s assistant Tony Chiles were all on hand as Anderson put up game-highs of 27 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 turnovers to lead the Playaz Basketball Club over The Family from Detroit, 90-82, in their first game.
St. John’s coach Steve Lavin arrives Wednesday.
“I would assume that all five head coaches that are recruiting him are here,” Kyle Anderson Sr., the Playaz coach, said after the game. “If they’re not, shame on them.”
Kyle Jr. said he notices which coaches are watching him.
“Yeah, that’s important,” he said. “It shows that they’re really interested in me, and it shows that I also did a good job of picking those five schools because it shows that they care.”
Kyle has visited four of the five schools and said, “I’ve been to every campus except the University of Florida. I think I’m going there in September.”
Against The Family, Anderson displayed his versatility, playing point guard, power forward, even some center.
“Today I had to help hold it down at power forward, being the tallest guy on my team,” Anderson said. “Sometimes I had to play center. It’s whatever my team needs me to do.”
Kyle Sr. has the luxury of playing 5-10 Sekou Harris at the point and his son off the ball. The team also features 6-1 off guard Myles Davis, 6-6 Villanova-bound power forward Savon Goodman and 6-7 St. Anthony big man Jerome Frink, among others.
“If Kyle’s in the game, he’s the point unless they put a little guy on him,” his father said. “If they put a little guy on him, then someone else goes to the point and we post Kyle up.”
Kyle Sr. initially said his son would play on the wing on this summer, but isn’t taking the ball out of his son’s hands at the Peach Jam.
“Yeah, I did but this tournament is a little too big to take the ball out of his hands,” Kyle Sr. said. “I’d rather have the ball in his hands unless he has a mismatch.”
Kyle Jr. has been playing the point since he was a little kid and that is his natural position. He wants to be recruited at that spot, but is also willing to play a point forward spot if the offense can run through him.
“Point guard, that’s what i’ve been playing since I was a little kid,” he said. “Whatever school I go to, whatever the team needs me to do that’s what I’m willing to do. To play at the next level I’m willing to do whatever position.
As for how he will announce, Anderson said he wants to keep it low-key on Sept. 20, his 18th birthday.
“I don’t want it to be too big,” he said. “My mother wants to do a big thing, but I just want to call all five schools and let it be known. I don’t really want to do a big press conference or anything.”
Before decision day, he’s here at the Peach Jam to try and win a title. The Playaz entered at 11-4 on the summer EYBL circuit and are the No. 2 seed in their pool behind Memphis YOMCA.
“Of course I want to win a championship,” he said.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.