BeeJay's Block Party

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Mainly due to foul trouble, sophomore center BeeJay Anya was only able to play nine minutes in the Monday night win over Hofstra.

Mainly due to foul trouble, sophomore center BeeJay Anya was only able to play nine minutes in the Monday night win over Hofstra.

That wasn't the case against Jacksonville and Anya flourished.

The 6-foot-9, 295-pounder came off the bench at the 15:33 mark with the score tied at 5. The first few minutes, Anya seemed to be finding his way on both ends, maybe a bit hesitant because of the foul trouble in the previous game. Then came the first block, and another... and another, and another. On one possession, Anya blocked four shots by the Dolphins.

"I was just trying to figure out why they kept coming in there," said Anya, laughing. "After the second, I just don't know why they kept coming in there."

"It got to a point in the first half where they didn't drive anymore, and then they kept going in there like I wasn't going to block the shot. I guess they were trying to get me in foul trouble, but it wasn't working very well."

His block party didn't end there. He'd add another in the first half and then five more in the second half, finishing with ten blocks, a new single-game record at NC State.

"That's what I've been known for since I was younger, blocking shots," he said. "I've had 10 blocks in games before in high school, but I never thought it would happen in college. I didn't know I had ten until you told me because I couldn't see it on the scoreboard.

"During the game I knew everyone was clapping, but I couldn't see what they were clapping for because I was under the screen. I told the GAs and a couple of players that I wanted to break the record for blocks, but I never knew what it was."

What has helped Anya this season is his increased stamina and conditioning. He pointed out that he's lost about 65 pounds since last season, and he can now move better and stay on the floor for longer periods of time. In fact, he played the final 16 minutes of the first half and the first nine minutes of the second half... a stretch he never would have been able to play last season.

"[Losing the weight] helps a lot because I can jump off the ground quicker and stay in there longer," he stated. "I was able to stay in there for a long stretch during the game and it helps a lot because I was able to do what I did [tonight].

"Last year I don't think I'd have been able to do that because I would have been tired."

Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried raved about Anya's shot-blocking ability.

"He has that knack," Gottfried said. "He has long arms, but he also has a knack to block your shot. Sometimes he kind-of baits you into it and he almost dares you to try to get the shot off. He has confidence that he can block your shot."

Anya didn't even know until after the game that he had set the school record.

"I'm kind of shocked," he said. "Wow. That's a great accomplishment. I know a lot of good players came through here and held the record before me. I feel very accomplished and thankful."

NC State returns to action on Sunday against South Florida and Gottfried has been pleased with Anya and the rest of his team.

"It is early, but I am excited about our team," Gottfried said. "I like the fact that we are built to be a better defensive team. We are stronger on the perimeter. [Anya] gives us that presence inside that not a lot of teams have, so I like that. We just have to keep getting better. I think everything that starts with this group will start with its defense."

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