Now Antonio Anderson is making the most of his opportunity.
The former Lynn Tech (Mass.) two-sport star has given up football and is starting to reap the benefits of his decision after a year of playing at Maine Central Institute (Maine).
The 6-4 ½, 190-pound wing, who will spend another year at MCI as a post-grad, has gone from a recruit looking at UMass and Drexel to one being pursued by the likes of Marquette, UConn, Virginia Tech, Memphis, N.C. State, Providence, Charleston and VCU. In fact, he says all but UConn have an offer on the table.
``I really like Marquette the most," Anderson said.
After a year in which he was forced to play the four at MCI, Anderson is now able to show college coaches his powerful, relentless style that has turned him into one of the most sough-after players in the northeast. He takes it strong to the basket, rebounds extremely well and defends. The one area he'll need to work on is his outside shot, but that's coming along now that he's playing his natural position again.
``Everything's going well right now," Anderson said. "Before I was struggling, but now I'm getting the exposure and playing against the top talent."
Anderson plays primarily with Mo Vasquez' Metro Boston squad, but he'll also play selected events with the New England Playaz.
``When we went to Florida last year, no one saw him play because he was hurt," Vasquez said. "Then he went to MCI and they had him playing in the post. All the coaches saw him as an undersized four or five, but now he's back in his natural position. He's always been a good defender, but now he's playing with more authority offensively."
``It's also a confidence factor for him," added Vasquez. "He's always played second-fiddle to Dwight (Brewington), but now he's the one in the limelight and he's taking advantage of it."
Coming off a year at MCI in which he averaged 18 points and 12 boards, it's likely he'll get a chance to see more time on the perimeter in his second go-around with coach Ed Jones.
Anderson will have plenty of help from his older brother, UMass senior point guard Anthony Anderson, throughout the recruiting process.
``He's already been through it, so he's helping me a lot," Anderson said. "He told me that the schools that come up to Maine are the ones I should really be looking at because the other ones aren't real serious about me."