Anderson Readies Himself for Next Level

Before a much needed Holiday break, DePaul signee Braeden Anderson and his Wilbraham & Monson Academy teammates hit Chicago for a couple of days for games at Attack Athletics. In this report, we talk with Anderson. Also, WMA coach Chris Sparks and scout Mike Procopio both talk about the future Blue Demon.

Playing 10 games in 12 days in December had to have its toll on the WMA Titans as they got up for a 5 a.m. flight to Chicago to play in the Battle at Attack in Chicago this weekend.

"I'm wiped out," said Anderson. "It was really tough, just getting off the plane and being on the road all the time and playing a game every day that week."

Anderson managed seven points, eight rebounds, and five blocks in a loss to Brehm Prep on Saturday. He then came back on Sunday and scored 12 points in the first half in a win over Lake Forest Academy before fouling out in the second half.

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and assistant coach Brian Ellerbe were in attendance for Saturday's game after the Blue Demons defeated Loyola earlier in the afternoon.

"He's a strong physical kid with a live body," remarked scout Mike Procopio who once scouted for the Boston Celtics. "He's got athletic ability and he's got some lift to him, which is always important for a big guy."

Anderson, a 6-8 big man and native of Alberta, Canada, has been leading the Titans through their whirlwind schedule this month.

"Braeden has been excellent," said WMA coach Chris Sparks. "He got MVP of the (Peddie) tournament last week where there was some terrific players."

One of those players was Westtown Prep's Daniel Ochefu, a class of 2012 center who is a five-star prospect according to

"He played against Ochefu, who is a top player, and he did terrific against him," said Sparks. "Not only that, he's been a terrific leader off the court. He's great in the classroom. He's got a 3.2 (GPA) He's a bright kid and is taking challenging classes. On and off the court he's been awesome."

"The nice thing about our schedule and who we play is that almost every game you're going to play a pretty good big guy," added Sparks. "It allows him to really see what's out there and also play at a little bit faster pace than you play in high school."

There is no doubt that the pace in the Big East is faster and more physical than at the high school level, Anderson will have a transition to make when he steps up to the next level.

"From a size, strength, and athleticism standpoint, he can step in right now and help (DePaul)," said Sparks. "From a skills standpoint, once his shooting becomes more consistent and his post game becomes a little bit more effective, that will really help them, then he's a very good player in the Big East."

"I think he'll be a solid contributor," Procopio said. "He'll definitely be in the rotation by the middle of his sophomore year, early junior year, he'll start to see big minutes."

What impresses some scouts the most is Braeden's physical size and the athleticism he brings to the court.

"He's got size, he runs, he's active," said Procopio. "He's not overly skilled. He needs development on the offensive end and his timing is a little bit robotic. As far as his body and physical ability, I think he can definitely play in the Big East and be a contributing player in their big men rotation. It depends on his development and how badly he wants to develop. The staff over there does a good job developing players."

Both Procopio and Sparks agree that Anderson has the tools to succeed in the Big East.

"He has so much potential," said Sparks. "Braeden is such a good athlete. I think the most important thing is his balance in the post. Being able to catch the ball, stay down and make an effective post move. He's also very good at facing the basket. He's got one or two very good moves. The guys at DePaul will really develop that where he can play at the Big East level and be effective."

Anderson benefited from playing at WMA this fall with 7-1 center Enosch Wolf who recently enrolled at Connecticut for this season.

"When we had the kid going to UConn, they were playing with each other and battling every day in practice," said Sparks. "That really helped him to develop. I have the utmost confidence in Coach Ellerbe and Coach Purnell. I think they're terrific guys. One of the reasons why he went there is they're going to develop him. Once they get a hold of him, he's going to be fine."

Now on a break for the Holiday's, Anderson is anxious for his freshman season at DePaul.

"I'm just looking forward to next year so much," said Anderson. "It's going to be a big change when me, (Shane) Larkin, (Jamee) Crockett, (Macari) Brooks, and (Derrell) Robertson get there."

Speaking of Larkin, while Anderson was in Chicago trekking through temperatures in the teens, Larkin was playing in the Iolani Classic in balmy Hawaii.

"It's not fair at all," Anderson said of his future teammate. "I can't wait to play with Shane. It's going to be fun and very exciting."

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