Anderson Soars

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Junction City basketball star James Anderson and his dad Robert while at the Nike All-America Camp in Indianapolis to update his recruiting picture.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Those who have seen him play high school or AAU basketball the last two seasons know that Junction City's James Anderson is a truly gifted basketball player - one that the University of Arkansas would dearly love to sign.

Any doubts the shy, reserved star has about himself should now be dispelled as evidenced by the fact that he was named late Sunday to Nike All-America Camp All-Star game - an honor reserved for the top 20 seniors in the event.

Anderson (6-6, 190) scored nine points as his Team Shox downed Team Flight 121-94 before a bevy of college head coaches, scouts and media at IUPUI's National Institute of Fitness.

"Camp went really good for me," Anderson said Sunday. "I've been scoring, shooting the ball well and passing it really well. I think I have just been getting after it. All of this has been really nice, the stuff on the court and the class sections. There was also stuff about nutrition. I think it will all help me."

Anderson, rated as the No. 1 player in Arkansas and the 32nd-best player overall in the country according to Scout.com, is seriously considering eight schools according to his dad Robert, who made the trip in from California to see his son at Nike.

"Right now I get calls from about eight or nine colleges that he is really looking at right now," said Mr. Anderson, who played basketball himself at Junction City back in the day. "Arkansas is certainly a school he has a lot of love for."

Arkansas joins defending national champion Florida, Alabama, LSU, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State - all of who have offered scholarships - in the hunt.

"Arkansas is still sitting good, just like always," Anderson said. "I am going to have me a top five by the end of the summer and then take some (official) visits in September."

The first of those visits is destined for Arkansas on Sept. 1-3, the weekend when the football Razorbacks host USC.

"There are a lot of people telling me to sign with Arkansas and yes, sir, that's the first one I am going to go see," Anderson said. "Right now I am just trying to figure out which one is the best for me. I am looking at the different ones and just right now trying to decide on a top five. Right now I am going to take all five visits and see from there. I don't know if I will, but that's what I am thinking."

The younger Anderson was born in El Dorado and lived in Junction City all his life, but attended school across the state line in Spearsville, La., until the ninth grade when he began attending school in his actual home town.

He has never been one to open up much and is clearly uncomfortable talking about himself.

"He's a lot different than I am," Robert Anderson said. "He's very, very quiet and I haven't ever seen as humble as he is to be as good as he is."

The elder Anderson has lived in California since 1988, but gets to see his son play a few times each year. He was overjoyed to be able to spend the week in Indianapolis watching him at the Nike All-America Camp.

"I get to see him play about three of four times a year," Robert Anderson said. "He is real good now. He's so good that I won't even play him now. It's pretty big. I think he needs to to work on his shooting and probably a little bit of defense, but he's pretty good and I am very proud of him."

At first the Andersons were thinking that it might be the spring before Anderson actually signed with a school, but that is up in the air right now.

"We are going to try and take a couple of visits in September and then we'll see from there," Anderson said. "As for when he might sign early, but it's one of those things where he has got to get it down to the final five and take a visit or two before we know how that will work."

Anderson is now off to play with the Arkansas Wings at this week's Nike Peach Jam, which begins with pool play on Wednesday and ends on Saturday in North Augusta, S.C.

The event features the top 24 Nike touring squads and brings together the best of two different Wings squads - one that includes Anderson and the other which features 6-3 guard Marcus Britt of Forrest City.

Anderson and Britt do not play on the same team during normal AAU play, but did team up to help the Wings to a runner-up finish at the Memorial Day Classic in Nashville.

"We've only got to play that one tournament together and that tournament turned out pretty good," Anderson said. "We are going to go to the Peach Jam together along with guys like Stefon (Weaver), Willie Baker, Rakim Couch, David Cline, Kevin Brown. I think we will do really well."


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