When looking for a post player in the Class of 2013, BeeJay Anya (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) is considered not only a highly ranked player but one who is starting to mature on and off the court, according to his high school coach, Mike Jones.
“BeeJay is very excited about his recruiting process," Jones said. "He is navigating his way through the calls and visits with patience. Not rushing but looking, listening and trying to figure out the best fit for him.”
They don’t make them much bigger than Anya, who stands at 6-foot-9. Watching his development closely over the years, his commitment to taking care of his body has been evident both from a conditioning standpoint and with his nutritional intake. He watches the types of foods he is eating and how much he is eating. He has his weight down to 280 pounds while continuing every day to shape his body and learn how to use his massive frame.
Jones is overseeing Anya's two-a-day workouts in the morning before school and in the afternoon. “BeeJay continues to work on his body with weights and conditioning in the morning and does skill work in the afternoon,” Jones said.
Besides having a wide body to carve out space in the lane, he is blessed with some of the most important attributes a player needs for the post game: an enormous wingspan of 7 feet, 9 inches, a gigantic pair of hands that firmly control the ball and good footwork to gain position in the paint and score.
From an offensive standpoint, he has been able to score at a high percentage in the past on what coaches refer to as “garbage points” -- put-backs from his teammates' missed shots and drop-off passes from dribble penetration. But recently he has incorporated a signature jump hook with his right hand over his left shoulder and has started using a drop step inside and getting fouled more. He is working ever so hard on scoring inside with both hands, shooting a face-up jumper from the foul line and attacking the basket from one or two dribbles. He posted a double-double last year by averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game with a school record seven blocks per game and he is looking to improve on those numbers.
On the defensive end he always has committed himself to the glass, using his ridiculous wingspan to block shots and become a barrier to the rim by making it hard to score over him inside. This year for DeMatha, he will be the one of the leaders by his work ethic and his production.
"Other players are seeing him work on his game and body and want to join him," Jones said. "We are going to feed BeeJay this year and let him go to work."
For all his hard work and development, he was named to the U.S. team for 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships this past June, and his recruiting has taken off with his improvement. From a long list of suitors, he has it down to a group of schools with no leader or order at this point. But what he does have is a plan, as he had DePaul and N.C. State in his home on the very first day of the contact period.
His campus visit schedule looks like this:
• He took an unofficial visit to N.C. State last week and is in the process of setting up an official visit there in October.
• Will be going for an unofficial visit this weekend, Sept. 14-16, to Pittsburgh, where his high school and AAU teammate (Team Takeover) James Robinson plays.
• Syracuse is in the mix, as another DeMatha grad and Team Takeover running mate Jerami Grant is a freshman for the Orange.
• Officially he will go to Louisville Sept. 28-30, Ohio State Oct. 5-7 and Indiana Oct. 19-21 for Hoosier Hysteria.
"I am looking for a school and a coach that has had success with big men before and one that will have a good point guard when I am there," said Anya, who understands the value of having someone else help him with the process. “Recruiting is an overwhelming task, so I have my parents [Oby and Ben Anya, who also go on the visits] to hear the same things I hear to help me figure it out."
Anya said Jones will accompany him whenever his parents can’t make it. “Coach Jones has been a great mentor for me," Anya said. "His experience helps me figure out to read between the lines.”
Look for this in-demand big man to lead DeMatha to another championship-type season.