St. Anthony (NJ) small forward and UCLA commit Kyle Anderson, who is in the midst of an undefeated senior season in high school, has kept his eye on the Bruins this season, and has a theory on why they've been struggling.
"I watch every game that comes on ESPN or Fox Sports," Anderson said. "Honestly, it looks like when we're losing, it's always at one position. For example, in the Washington game, it was small forward, with Terrence Ross playing really well. But it's been others. And in that game, we didn't do a good job of using clock at the end. I was watching another game, I forget which one specifically, but it seems like just losing certain position battles was the main point in the losses. I did see a couple of wins, though."
The struggles, though, have allowed Anderson to learn from afar about what he can expect in the Pac-12 next year.
"I study (Lazeric Jones) and what he's doing this year," Anderson said. "I'm happy to watch Zeek, because I can learn from his mistakes. I think he's doing a great job this year. It's kind of like he's taking the weight from me for next year. It's teaching me how to excel, and when he makes a mistake, how to not make that mistake, so it's been great for me to watch. It's like taking mental reps."
One big realization for Anderson has been how different the speed of the game is at the college level as opposed to the high school level. The 6'8 forward, nicknamed "Slo-Mo", knows he will have to work on his foot speed and quickness to keep up with college athletes.
"I'm watching the Pac-12, and it's just, as soon as one team scores, the other team is boom, up the court in about 2 seconds," Anderson said. "The Pac-12 is a very fast conference, so I just need to get myself in good physical shape for the college game so I can get ready to move my feet out there."
Although he's expected to play at the point on offense for UCLA, his quickness and frame leave his defensive matchup a bit of a question mark. Right now, he says he can guard anywhere from a 2 to a 4, depending on the matchup, and where his coach wants to play him.
Anderson has kept in contact with the UCLA staff, and many of the current players this season, and has actually done a fair bit of recruiting, working heavily on fellow top 2012 recruits Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker.
"I've been putting a bug in their ear (about UCLA)," Anderson said. "But we've been friends since we were 10, and I've just told them that I value that, and we're going to be friends regardless of what happens."
Anderson has actually acted as a bit of an ambassador for UCLA in another sport, helping to pull football recruit, and fellow New Jerseyan, Devin Fuller to Westwood.
"Yeah, we actually spoke about it, and I told him, ‘If you like it, come out there. Don't be afraid of the distance. I'm doing it. So you'll have a Jersey guy out there, if that's where your heart takes you,'" Anderson said. "And it turns out he is coming to UCLA. Just having another Jersey guy, another east coast guy out there will be great."
But although he has managed to reel in Fuller for the football team, his focus remains on Muhammad and Parker. If the Bruins snag both, Anderson feels they could right the ship in Westwood.
"If we get those two, hopefully we can turn things around," Anderson said. "We can be a great team. We'll be a little young, but there will be some experienced players there with the Wear twins, Tyler Lamb, Josh Smith. That could be a really good team."
Anderson Readies for Westwood
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