Zagoria Column: Featured Future Pro, UCLA’s Kyle Anderson

By Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog

Kyle Anderson isn’t on DraftExpress.com’s 2013 Mock Draft board just yet, but the talented point guard could end up in the NBA by 2014.

The 6-foot-8 Anderson out of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony has an extremely high basketball IQ and has drawn comparisons to Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose and a young Lloyd Daniels.

“He’s got a chance to be one-and-done, but he’s gotta play with some good players,” said one Division 1 assistant coach who recruited Anderson. “He’s gotta do some things with his body to get him ready.

“I don’t think the family’s going to rush it. I think two years [of college], he should be good. You gotta work your ass off.

Anderson on Monday ended a much-hyped recruiting process by choosing UCLA over Seton Hall, St. John’s, Florida and Georgetown, crushing the souls of many Seton Hall fans in the process.

In addition to the appeal of the warm weather and ambience of Los Angeles, Anderson decided that Bruins head coach Ben Howland was the best man to prepare him for a pro career.

Howland has tutored current NBA point guards Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday.

“I think it had a lot to do with Lil Kyle’s decision,” Kyle Anderson Sr. said in an interview with Clay Dade on Blog Talk Radio. “He saw that as UCLA being able to get their guards to the league. I’m not as sold on that aspect as he is. I believe for the most part players that go into college, if they’re a pro, they’re a pro.

“There’s not a lot of developing into pros unless you’re a big man. Guards, if you’re a pro when you go to college, people know you’re a pro. So I think Lil Kyle put a lot of emphasis on that, but myself I really didn’t.”

Anderson Sr. raised his son to be a point guard since he was a young boy, and last year he helped lead St. Anthony to an undefeated season and a mythical national championship under Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley.

“From the neck on up, he’s the best high school player in America, irrespective of class, right now,” longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said.

“He elevates your basketball IQ. He has a basketball IQ on steroids.”

Yet because he goes by the nickname “SloMo” and is not the most agile defender in the world, there have always been questions about his defense at the next level and beyond.

“One of [his goals] is improving his defense,” his father said. “Improving his ability to take the 3-point shot and make the 3 point shot and also playing around players that are pros, as we project he will be.”

UCLA already has a point guard committed for 2012 in Dominic Artis of Oakland, and Anderson said he would be happy to play alongside Artis in the backcourt.

“I am looking forward to playing in the back court with Dom Artis,” Anderson said. “Dom can play both positions so when we are on the floor together it doesn’t matter who has the ball, kinda like when I played with Myles Mack [at St. Anthony] and we were very successful playing together.”

Going forward, Anderson could play some type of point forward role. He is an excellent passer, sees the floor extremely well and makes smart decisions with the ball.

“He’s a G-rated version of Lloyd Daniels,” Konchalski said. “You had to have seen Lloyd Daniels in his prime to realize what a supreme complement that is.”

Anderson has also been compared to Magic and called a right-handed Rose.

High praise indeed, but he is indeed a special talent and a high-character young man, too. Expect to see him shaking David Stern’s hand after a year or two in Westwood.

**Check out this video interview with Kyle Anderson and his family on his decision.

Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog covers the future stars of the NBA for SheridanHoops.com. His column appears every Saturday.

 

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