The season hasn’t started, but we’ve had another player announce his intentions to turn pro after the season.
Kyle Anderson’s father all but told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that he will be heading to the NBA after the season. Both Marcus Smart and Jahii Carson made similar statements already this offseason.
“It’s more than likely that it will be time for Kyle to move on at the end of this college season,” he said.
Anderson is a slow-footed but extremely talented 6-foot-9 point forward. He averaged 9.7 points, 8.6 boards, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals as a freshman, but he did much of it while playing off the ball and somewhat out of position. Anderson, who was a top three recruit in the Class of 2012, ended up returning to school for his sophomore season. He considered entering the draft, but he was a long way from being a lock to go in the first round.
“Kyle has made great strides in his mental approach to the game and his work ethic since being at UCLA,” Kyle Sr. told ESPN.com. “The major deficiencies in his overall game are his lack of strength, quickness and explosion, and inconsistent shooting. … We feel that both of which can be addressed more efficiently with more time and repetition.”
Where Anderson’s season gets really intriguing is that under new UCLA coach Steve Alford, he could end up being the Bruin’s point guard given the lack of a lead guard on their roster. Anderson is a talented creator, but with Larry Drew II shouldering the point guard load last year, it forced Anderson off the ball. He proved himself to be a better rebounder and playmaker defensively than some expected, but that’s not the strength of his game.
Anderson is currently projected as a late-second round pick by Draft Express. It will be interesting to see where he is slotted if he has a big year.
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.