Two years ago, JoJo Anderson faced a difficult decision. The Houston guard chose to leave home as a high school sophomore in hopes of improving his education and athletic opportunities.
Anderson started for Houston Yates High as a 10th-grader. His squad faced off against La Lumiere Prep of LaPorte, IN at a Hawaii tournament.
The La Lumiere coach liked what he saw and contacted Anderson, he said. He was invited to join one of the better prep programs in the country.
"The school I was at in Houston was in the hood," Anderson said. "The (La Lumiere) coach talked the school up really good and I was kind of dominating in my city and I wanted to go the national route. That was one of the main decisions that I wanted to leave home and play against the best in the nation instead of just the city of Houston."
In addition to La Lumiere being a basketball upgrade from Yates, it also challenged Anderson academically, he said. After receiving some of the first C's in his life during the first semester there, Anderson said he was all A's and B's after the second.
While he adjusted scholastically, Anderson was not fitting in athletically at La Lumiere. He played sparingly as a junior and decided to transfer to 22FT (Twenty Two Feet) Academy at the Shannon Forest Christian School in Greenville, SC for his final season.
"Last year, I didn't really like the situation. It just wasn't a good fit for me," Anderson said. "I didn't really like how we played. We ended up playing 22FT last year in our own tournament. The coach contacted me as he knew I didn't really want to stay at my school so he asked if I'd like to come down there.
"This year, the ball has been in my hands the whole time. A lot of (colleges) started to back off after last year because they didn't know what was going on at La Lumiere, what was the situation. This year, a lot of schools started coming at me at Vegas (Tarkanian Classic, Dec. 17-20) and Flying to the Hoop (Dayton, Jan. 18-19)."
"We talked twice when I was in 10th grade and I hadn't heard from him until Friday again," the 6-foot-3 Anderson said. "He told me that he really liked my game and liked what he saw at the Flying to the Hoop tournament. He said they lost a guard (Trey Dickerson) and need a 2015 point guard for next year. He was just telling me about the school and asked me how my year has been."
Anderson is listed as a combo guard by many recruiting services.
"I'm more of a true (point guard) it's just that this year I'm having to score a lot more for my team because we don't have a true shooting guard. For me, I do whatever it takes or whatever my team needs," he said.
"My coach has been kind of handling (recruiting) for me so I can just play," he said.
Anderson said he believes he can help the Hawkeyes, who will have two senior points guards next season in Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons. They are the only ones of the roster, however, with Dickerson's exit last month.
"(Dilliard is) supposed to call my coach soon. They want him to send more film. There are not many ('15) point guards that, in my opinion, are still available and can play on that level. I think (the Hawkeyes are) pretty interested. I'm not sure, though," he said.
Anderson said he will set up campus visits as colleges complete their seasons this month.
"I'm looking for a coaching staff that's willing to be there for me and develop me as a player and also as a person. I'm looking for the right playing style and a coach that lets me play through mistakes and tough times. I kind of like the schools that aren't in the city. I kind of like the college town feel," he said.