Four-star recruit won't be swayed by WVU conference ties
WHEELING, W.Va. - DeMatha Catholic junior star BeeJay Anya said he won't decide where he will play his college basketball until sometime after his senior season begins - anytime from December to March, 2013.
West Virginia University remains in the mix, whether the Mountaineers are in the Big East or the Big 12.
"Coach (Bob) Huggins is a great, great coach," said Anya after finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots in his team's 62-47 win over Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the Cancer Research Classic Saturday at Wheeling Jesuit University. "The Big East is a great conference and West Virginia is one of the top teams in the Big East. That definitely sticks out.
"Even if they go to the Big 12, it's a great conference too with Texas and Oklahoma and other teams. Hopefully, they'll go down there and do good as well."
The Mountaineers are in a list of schools Anya said have offered him - which includes Big 12 members Kansas and Texas, along with Syracuse, Indiana, Ohio State, Georgetown, Maryland, UCLA and Arizona.
He is averaging 13.1 points, 11 rebounds and 6.2 blocks per game, while shooting 71 percent from the floor for the Hyattsville, Md.-based private school.
Not long after WVU upset No. 9 Georgetown on Saturday, Coach Bob Huggins made the 80-mile trip to Wheeling. Also showing up at a packed McDonough Center at Wheeling Jesuit University was Pittsburgh Coach Jamie Dixon.
As far as the Nigerian descendant is concerned, it doesn't matter who watches him or where he goes - he needs no more motivation than what he received the last nine months.
He was selected for the U.S. Basketball Developmental National Team last March.
However, he wasn't one of the 12 players picked to represent the United States at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship or the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championships.
Being out of shape was one of the reasons Anya was cut from the team last summer. That's when the work really began.
Anya has since shed 30 pounds from his still-intimidating frame.
Instead of watching the closing moments of games from the bench, he's running the floor with teammates and closing out victories.
Rather than breathing heavily after a couple trips down the floor, he's sprinting during fast breaks.
Most importantly, "I'm not calling for a sub because I'm tired," he said. "I notice my stamina's better. I'm in the game a lot longer, especially close games, because I'm not tired like I was last year in games down the stretch."
DeMatha Coach Mike Jones said much of the credit for his star's motivation belongs to Anya's father.
"His dad and he went through a major metamorphosis this summer," Jones said. "His dad ran him everyday. You can just see he started to feel better about himself. The USA Basketball experience made him kind of get locked in to know what he needed to do to play at that level.
"He had a diet and meals made for him. He committed himself."
The travel that goes along with playing for a nationally known program like DeMatha helped put Anya on the national stage.
He was noticed before this season, but his a natural evolution in the recruiting process includes improving his overall game.
"Last year, when we wanted to get up and go we were getting him off the floor and getting somebody else in there," Jones said. "This year, he'll lead the press sometimes because he moves so well and he covers so much ground because of his wingspan."
His arms extend 7 feet, 9 inches across.
The Stags won the Torrey Pines (Calif.) Holiday Classic Dec. 27-30 in San Diego where they won every game by at least 10 points.
Their goal, naturally, is to go undefeated and win a mythical national high school championship.
For his part, Anya plans to enjoy the flood of interest of recruiting.
"I just have to take it one step at a time, and not make a decision until next year when I'm a senior, sometime toward the beginning or middle of the season of my senior year," he said. "I'm just going to take it all in and enjoy it."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.