Arizona Prep Star Commits to BYU over Oregon State

BYU basketball coach <b>Steve Cleveland</b> received his first verbal commitment from a high school recruit this week – who will likely be the only prep star the Cougars will sign this year.

James Anderson, a 6-10, 205 pound player from Page, Ariz., said coach Cleveland told him he would be the only high school player the Cougars would sign during this recruiting season.

Anderson was a 1st Team All State star in Arizona and was also offered by Oregon State and Wyoming. His father, Aaron Anderson, is his high school coach.

"James and I went up to Provo on an official recruiting visit for the BYU vs. Notre Dame (football) game," Aaron said, noting that he was hosted by Cougar player Garner Meads.

"I just felt real comfortable up there (Provo)." James said. "I got to see the new Student Athlete Center and that was really amazing to me. I saw the players working out in the new weight room and toured the Marriott Center even though it was under construction. I got to meet some of the guys on the team like Mike Hall and Terry (Natshif). They were all nice guys."

James, who committed to Cleveland on Sunday, said he had not planned on attending BYU growing up because he always wanted to go to University of Arizona. The BYU coaches recruiting efforts, he said, came in late, strong and heavy – and really impressed him.

"I liked all the coaches, Coach Wardenburg is the main coach that recruited me" James said. "I liked coach Cleveland a lot, too. He was real straightforward with me. He told me that I would fit in as 4 or 5 man on the team."

James confirmed he plans to leave for an LDS mission before enrolling at BYU.

He told he went on an official recruiting visit two weeks ago to Oregon State and had a really good time. He was able to play open gym and get a feel for the competition at the Div. 1 level.

His father, coach Anderson, said he was really impressed with Oregon State and they did a great job of recruiting his son. He added the Wyoming coach came down to their high school to watch James play, noted how good his footwork was for a player his size, and offered him a scholarship on the spot.

Torn between which school to commit to, James sought the advice of Matt Haryasz, his friend and former teammate at Page High School. Matt was a major recruit from Arizona and currently plays for Stanford. Matt told James to pick his school based on how well he got along with all the players and where he felt most comfortable. James took his advice and finally committed to BYU.

James averaged 14 points per game, 5 blocks and 9 rebounds last season – breaking Haryasz' single game blocking record with 12 blocks.

He was also ranked the ninth best center on the west coast by A University of Arizona sports website,, recently wrote this evaluation of Anderson: "With bulk and continued development, James Anderson is a very high major Div. 1 player and Arizona is already showing interest."

James' father described his son as a player who passes the ball exceptionally well, has great footwork, and can score at the basket with either hand. Coach Anderson said James has no problem stepping out and hitting the three as well.

He concluded that Cougar fans will also love what they see in another Arizona product Lee Cummard, one of BYU's top recruits last year.

"He's (Cummard) an outstanding player who can jump out of the gym and hit all the shots," coach Anderson said.

With this week's commitment from James, it looks like BYU has forged a firm recruiting pipeline from Arizona.

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