Thanks to class of 2013 power forward BeeJay Anya for doing the interview with us. The 6’8, 280-pound big-man talked to us about the schools he is interested in, why he plays basketball, an NBA player that is recruiting him and much more.
No, I’m completely open right now. But the schools that are interested in me are Texas, Syracuse, UConn, Ohio State, St. John’s, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kansas, U.C.L.A., Florida, Florida State and West Virginia.
Do any of those schools stand out to you?
No, not really, they’re all the same at to me because, like I said, I’m just completely open.
With the college coaches being able to start watching you play now, what do you think that will be like?
It’s going to be the same for me because I’m still going to be playing as hard as I can and do whatever it takes for my team to win so hopefully that stands out to them.
When coaches could start calling, who called you first? Does that mean something to you?
The first school to call me was Virginia Tech. I don’t think it means anything, really. I just know that they’re interested in me so it doesn’t mean anything.
Who else called you?
Duke called me, Ohio State, U.C.L.A., Kansas, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, UVA, Georgetown, Maryland, Marquette, Indiana, Boston College and I think there’s some more, Rutgers and Syracuse.
Did any of those conversations stand out at all?
No, not really, I just remember the coolest school to talk to was Texas, because we had a long conversation about the recruiting process and we talked about what I would love to see in a school, that’s the last conversation I remember.
What are the coaches telling you?
They’re just telling me how my style of play can fit into they’re system and right now hopefully I check into their program because of my size and my length and because I do well for my AAU and high school team.
I’m more of a back-to-the-basket player, I like to power down low and rebound. I love defense and I like blocking shots — I love blocking shots, that’s my favorite thing to do — and I love dunking.
What school fits your style of play the best?
I’m not sure exactly, I think I can fit into any kind of system because I think I can adjust well. As of right now, I’m really not sure because I think I can fit into any kind of program.
Will style of play impact your college decision?
It will, but I don’t think I’m going to worry about that until my senior year.
Did you have a favorite school growing up?
Yeah, I always changed it up though when I was growing up. One year I liked UConn, the next year I liked Syracuse, then I liked Texas, then I liked Georgetown and it always changed.
So who’s your favorite school this year? Do you think that affects your recruitment at all?
This past year was Syracuse, I don’t think it impacts anything because next year I’ll probably have a new favorite school (laughing).
So what are you looking for in a school?
I’m looking for a school where I can make an impact immediately and where I can become better as a player. I also want to go to a school that has a “home feeling”… a school where I feel like I’m at home at is big.
Does location play a factor in your recruitment?
I don’t think it will, like I said, whatever school where I feel like I’m at home is where I would like to be for my college career.
Are there any high school guys that you would like to play with in college?
Yeah, definitely some teammates from AAU team, and from my high school team. [Class of 2012 small forward] Jerami Grant and [class of 2012 point guard] James Robinson, those two are like my really, really good friends. We mess around and play around about going to the same school but I’m not sure if it will affect my recruitment.
So how serious is that kind of talk between you guys?
It’s a little bit of joking around but that I also want to go to college with them. I would feel more at home because I would already know somebody at the school and I would play with someone who’s from the same area as me and have the same kind of clothing style as me, I would feel completely at home, I would have friends there.
Definitely, [sophomore shooting guard] Victor Oladipo from Indiana, who went to my high school (DeMatha Catholic), he’s like my big brother. He’s trying to get me to come to Indiana. The other thing is [Boston Celtics small forward] Jeff Green is talking to me about coming to Georgetown.
What’s that like having an NBA player recruiting you?
I was kind of shocked, but it was cool that he came up and talked to me. It was just really cool.
What are those two guys telling you when they are recruiting you?
Victor is just saying how much Indiana wants me and how much they need me. He’s saying how much I would love it out there and that Indiana is a great place to live and that basketball is the number one spot there. He also talked about how when I walk around people will always be looking out for me out there. Jeff Green was telling me how good of a fit I would be at Georgetown, about how much he loved it at Georgetown and about how much better he got at Georgetown.
So how good of a job is Victor and Jeff doing recruiting you?
He’s made his school sound really good, hopefully I get to take a visit out there one time. He made Indiana sound like a good place. Jeff Green did a pretty good job too, he kept telling me how much I would benefit going to Georgetown and how great the academics are.
So how was your U.C.L.A. visit?
It was a really good visit, my mom came with me. They just showed us the campus, the construction of the new gym that would be done by the time I get there, and we walked around the dorms and stuff like that. It was a great experience because the campus is beautiful and I like the weather too.
Did your mom like it too?
Yeah, she liked it, she enjoyed the visit.
Speaking of your family, what do they want you to do? Are they pushing a certain school?
No, they are letting me go to any school that I want to. They just want me to make the right decision for me and they are guiding me and giving me advice of which school I should go to.
So who would you say has helped you the most in the recruiting process?
Definitely my parents, and my two head coaches — DeMatha (MD) head coach Mike Jones and Team Takeover (D.C.) head coach Keith Stevens.
What have the four of them done for you?
My parents have been looking at schools that I’m looking at to get a background of them. They are looking at where I could feel at home, where the academics are good — so I can learn a lot and have a good future and have something to fall back on later in life —, the style of play at certain schools, where I could be successful and play and a system that has a big man that crashes the boards.
Just the general quality, definitely the general quality. I’m looking for a more well-rounded school.
Do you think playing at an elite high school that has a national schedule helps prepare you for college?
Definitely, we travel to the west coast, the east coast… the time difference won’t affect me as much because I’m already traveling and moving around so much. I’m used to going on planes and flying around all the time and getting on buses to go on six or seven hour drives. I’m used to that so by the time I get to college it won’t be anything new to me.
Which schools are recruiting you the hardest?
All of the schools are recruiting me the same, every school has offered me except for Duke.
Who has offered you?
Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, U.C.L.A., Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, Texas, Ohio State and some others that I’m forgetting. Virginia Tech, Texas, Indiana and Florida have been in contact recently.
Which event or camp has been your favorite so far throughout the summer?
I play with Team Takeover at the Nike EYBL and I liked going to L.A. and Dallas, those were great experiences. I think the EYBL has done a lot for me because it’s so competitive since every game is a must-win and we’re playing to win.
Which coaching staff do you have a strong relationship with?
I had a good relationship with the Maryland coaches but then [former head coach] Gary Williams left and I haven’t had the chance to talk to the new staff at Maryland.
What’s one thing that you think people don’t know about the recruiting process?
That there is so many schools, so many great schools recruiting you. The decision is going to be hard because there’s so many great choices and I wish I could choose all of them but I can only choose one.
What has been your favorite part of the recruiting process so far?
Just to know that schools are recognizing that I’m working hard.
What has been your least favorite part of the recruiting process?
The decision, definitely. All of them are such great schools and I want to pick all of them but I can only pick one.
What advice would you give younger basketball players?
I would just tell them to work hard and dream. If you work hard you will see results and if you take care of your body and play for something greater than yourself — play for your team or your family — then you tend to play harder.
Okay, so who do you play for?
I play for my family, they have always been there for me growing up and I feel like I owe them a big thank you.
So what advice would you give to younger basketball players about the recruiting process?
Take your time and don’t rush anything. You don’t have to make a decision really quick — if you want to, that’s fine — but I would just say take your time, relax and play your own game. Slowly cut down your schools and study up on all of them so you know more about them.
You talk about taking your time, is that what you plan to do? Do you have a timetable at all?
No, I don’t have a timetable at all for anything. The only thing I know for sure is that when I go into my senior year that’s when I will start making decisions.
Why do you play basketball?
I play for my family, I play to represent my family on and off the court and I play because it’s fun, it’s really fun and I love it.