Hubbard Opens Up

Anthony Hubbard is anything but your typical college basketball recruit. His story is one of failure and redemption.

Anthony Hubbard sees no reason to hide form his past. He's comfortable in the man that he's become and so are college basketball coaches.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound junior college wing holds scholarship offers from BCS schools. Those programs believe the Virginia native has learned from his mistakes.

"I'm being straight up with everybody about what I've been through," Hubbard said. "I'm not hiding from anybody. It made me who I am today."

Hubbard spent three years and 11 months incarcerated after a robbery arrest when he was 17. He's run out of second chances.

"At this point in my life, I know I can't afford any bumps in the road," Hubbard said. "To people on the outside, it might seem like there's a lot of pressure on me. It's not to me. I know what I want out of life and what I need to do to get it."

Iowa, Rutgers, Penn State and Iona have offered scholarships to Hubbard. Kansas State has asked for transcripts and have indicated they will offer, Hubbard said. Louisville also has been contacting him regularly.

Hubbard used his first official visit this weekend. He watched Iowa knock off No. 6 Purdue, 67-65, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"Everybody has preconceived notions, I think," Hubbard said. "When I got there, I wasn't sure if I'd like it. You don't know what the people are going to be like and you see all these cornfields.

"It was the complete opposite of what I thought it would be. The people just really impressed me. The love they have for the Iowa basketball team is second to none. Even the guys that don't play a lot get a lot of love. That's a great value if you ask me. The coaches are great. The players want to win. You really couldn't ask for more."

Freshman Melsahn Basabe hosted the 25-year-old Hubbard.

"He's a great kid and definitely a talented player," Hubbard said. "He's from the East Coast, so we had a lot in common."

Hubbard said Iowa began recruiting him a few months ago. Hawkeye Assistant Sherman Dillard attended one of his games at Frederick (MD) Community College.

"He said he was impressed and they've been full throttle every since," Hubbard said of Iowa's pursuit of him. The Hawkeyes offered the scholarship a few weeks ago.

Hubbard has unofficially visited Penn State and Louisville. The combo guard said he intended to use his four remaining official visits allowed by the NCAA.

"I think I should," he said. "I think I'd like to give everybody a chance. I've been on unofficials, but I need to see what things are like on the officials. I don't want to compare apples to oranges."

Teams will be shooting to top the Iowa experience.

"They set the bar pretty high," Hubbard said. "You're going to get pretty much the same on these officials with meals and the hotels, but as I said, the people in Iowa were amazing. Some places I will see have no control over that."

Hubbard said that distance from his home in Virginia will not play a role in his decision. He returned East this season after spending last year at Odessa (TX) Junior College last season.

When Hubbard was released from prison, he began playing pick-up basketball at a local gym near home. A scout saw him and contacted a friend at Odessa.

Hubbard said he never felt comfortable with the program there. He wanted his mother and family see him play and he transferred to Frederick.

"That will be different at the next level because the schools I'm looking at will be on TV and they can see me," Hubbard said. "There's not a whole lot going on in Odessa and I was there for a year. I think I can adjust to wherever else I might end up."

Hubbard is taking a serious look at Iona even though it's the only school on his list in a non-BCS conference.

"It's really not about that for me," he said. "They might not seem like the caliber of the other schools, but I don't look at it in that manner. I look at how bad the school wants me. Do they call? Do they come and see me? That's why I think I'm looking so hard at Iona and Iowa."

Hubbard sat court side on Saturday as the Hawkeyes won their first game against a Top 25 team since 2008. The fans rushed the court.

"I really didn't come into there thinking they were going to lose, but I knew it would be tough against the No. 6 team," he said. "Those guys played hard. It impressed me how much they wanted to win. That certainly had in impact on me.

"They feel like they're close to turning it around. I do, too. They're telling me that they're missing some pieces and feel like I can fill a void. I do, too."

Hubbard describes himself as an all-around player.

"I think I play with a lot of intensity," he said. "I'm a team player. I can score the ball, pass it and rebound well. Defensively, I can create havoc. I think the coaches see that I'm not limited in any area and I do whatever it takes to help the team win."

Hubbard has put himself in an impressive position considering his past transgressions. He's tightened up his circle of friends after getting caught up with the wrong people doing the wrong things.

"It's an older group," he said. "It's people that have direction like me. They all understand what I'm working towards now."

Hubbard said that the Iowa coaches believe in his personal turnaround.

"They really have embraced what I've done with my life," Hubbard said. "They're not going to judge me on what happened eight years ago. They embrace what I'm doing with my life and the turnaround I've made."

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