UConn in the Early Mix for Maryland Big Man

Anthony McClain has all the ingredients any college coach would want in recruiting a center. He stands 7-feet tall, runs the floor like a gazelle, and routinely pins shot off the backboard or swats them into the third or fourth row.

But search long and hard, and you won't find cockiness on his scouting report. Not Anthony McClain, he lets his actions on the court speak for him.

Yet when he had to compare himself to someone, he didn't hold back.

"I'd have to say Kevin Garnett," McClain added. "I say that because I'm not a regular big man. I'm versatile for 7-feet. I can put the ball on the floor a little bit. I love KG's face up game, it's one a kind."

While McClain clearly had an affinity for Garnett's basketball attributes, he cited the Big Ticket's "intensity and emotions" as key ingredients to his game.

So as his senior year begins, McClain will have to decide which school will have the luxury of his services beginning in the fall of 2007.

Georgetown, Maryland, and Pittsburgh have all expressed interest, but National Christian Academy coach Trevor Brown alluded to no current leader.

"There is no leader," Brown said. "He is just working hard, he has to put on some more weight and put on some more muscle."

More muscle will be required if McClain decides on Pitt -- over the last few seasons, the Panthers have become one of college basketball's most rugged teams on the front line, usually keeping opponents into a half court game. While that style is a change from McClain's preferred pace, Brown doesn't see the transition as a problem.

"As long as they give their big men the ball, there won't be a problem," Brown said of McClain playing for Pitt. "I don't see a problem with him fitting in with any style."

An interesting proposition is McClain taking his game to Storrs, and playing for Jim Calhoun, an idea that Brown is warm to.

"With Connecticut, one of the big reasons you send kids there is because they develop kids and they move on," Brown said. "They're known to get the potential out of their kids and get them to the NBA".

Having a Hall of Fame coach doesn't hurt either.

"It would be a good fit," Brown said of a possible union of Calhoun and McClain. "He pushes his kids and gets the most out of them."

While no one doubts Calhoun's ability to extract the maximum from his players, McClain has his reservations about going to UConn because of their consistent focus on the guard position. He did acknowledge that they recently sent several big men to the NBA, most notably Emeka Okafor and Charlie Villanueva.

"Being the type of player I am, I second guess myself about going there because they produce wing players," McClain said. "But it would be a good experience."

This summer McClain will participate in the NBA Camp at VCU and is undecided about what sneaker camps he will attend.

He's visited Virginia Tech, Rutgers, and plans to take a trip to see Wake Forest. He admits he is no rush to make a decision.

"I'm enjoying the whole process, " McClain said.


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