If he returns to school, which is a near-certainly, there are over six months until practice begins yet time is running out. There is an entire season left to play but the legacy is almost complete.
BeeJay Anya is NC State’s all-time leading shot blocker and his game-winning hook against LSU in the 2015 NCAA Tournament is one the most clutch postseason baskets in school history—which is saying something considering how the Wolfpack won its last national championship.
He also was named the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2015.
Yet despite his accolades and achievements, Anya manages to vex both his coaches and fans not with what he has done but what he has the potential to do.
With the announcement that his name is on the NBA list of early entries, and with May 25th as the deadline to decide whether he will remain at NC State or forgo his senior season, Anya is essentially doing an internship to see just what his skillset is and where he needs to develop.
Regardless of what happens, up to this point it is difficult not to wonder what he could be if he applied himself diligently in regards to his conditioning.
Anya rarely gets extended minutes and often gets in to foul trouble. There are several mitigating factors but the primary reason is he is battling players in better shape than he is.
When Anya gets the ball down low, he is a handful. He is not a one-trick pony in the post. He possesses sharp spin moves, a soft touch from within the lane and can clean up around the rim with both baskets and offensive rebounds. However, it is rare for him to attempt more than a few shots per contest.
The most enduring mental image of Anya is probably when he raising his arms in confusion after he has been called for a foul. Sadly for him and NC State, it is that go-to move that stands out most.
Each season Anya has at various times crept closer to being in the type of shape that is more reflective of an ACC player only to slip back into bad habits that stunt his development.
NC State is in an elite conference and has both the strength and support staffs that would make most schools envious. That is not where the problem lies.
By all accounts, Anya is a wonderful person. He is affable with others, has a great personality and he stays out of trouble while also getting his schoolwork done. Whatever happens his senior season, he is someone that can be respected by others.
At this point, with his time in college dwindling should he return to school, Anya has to decide how he wants to remembered as well as also factoring in what type of impact he can have next season on a team that looks like it can compete in the conference and on the national stage.
There is certainly no shame in being the greatest shot blocker in school history and his game-winner against LSU will be replayed for many years.
Anya can be more than that.
He can be a consistent starter. He can be a consistent scorer. He can be a consistent defensive force. He can also be a leader.
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is where responsibility begins. Anya has to show that he is accountable. If not for himself, his coaches or his school then he should do it for his teammates. If it takes finding someone or something that he cares about more than himself to use for motivation then he should find it quickly.
The real world is, at most, only one more school year away.
It is all up to Anya. The question going into this offseason is if he is content with being good or if he strives to be great.