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A Magic Moment for UCLA Basketball: Kyle Anderson Commits

The second to fifth best player (depending on the ranking service) in the country committed to UCLA tonight, see it here:

Wow, Ben Howland is on a roll!  Here is one story that sums him up without any hyperbole I am sure:

Anyone who has seen Anderson play understands the allure. Ranked as the No. 2 recruit nationally in the Class of 2012 by, his versatility is unmatched. Anderson can run an offense, hit a shot or play underneath. His basketball IQ is off the charts-the proverbial "game seems to move at a different speed for him" applies. 

"He sees the game so well. He makes the right play," said N.J. Hoops publisher Jay Gomes. "He fills out a stat sheet besides scoring-rebounds, steals, assists, blocks. He wasn't a real good shooter before but he's gotten to be a lot better shooter in the past year. He's taken it to the next level."

Aside from the tangible skills, Anderson possesses two intangibles that separate him from many other hardwood prodigies-he's a winner and a great kid. Anderson was at his best in the biggest games last year, including a resounding upset of St.Pat's in the NJSIAA Tournament. And he comports himself like a college senior, not a high school senior.

Gomes was asked if he's ever seen a player quite like Anderson in the Garden State.

"The only player he really compares to, and it's hard to compare him to an all-time great, but the guy he reminds me of is Magic Johnson. Magic wasn't the fastest guy, but he made plays and he won games."

Comparing someone to Magic is heady stuff.  But one thing is for sure, Anderson is a very smart basketball player.  He is also a winner. Kyle dominated All Star games that even included players like Shabazz. More after the jump.

Here is a typical game review of Anderson that even includes a negative.

The 6-foot-8 Anderson, who hails from Fairview, N.J., but spends summers with his mom Suzanne in Harlem - making him eligible for the summer showcase - dominated the day. He earned MVP honors after scoring 25 points in Harlem's 84-70 win over The Bronx and had 20 points in a semifinal win over Queens. He added eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in the title game and shot 9-of-11 from the field.

. . .                                          

Anderson owned the second half, scoring 18 points and controlling the game's tempo as he ran the point from the small forward position, turning defensive rebounds into fast break opportunities. In one two-minute span, he sank a 3-pointer, scored inside and set up two teammates for easy layups, kick-starting a 14-0 run.

"Though he's pretty slow, he's effective," Harlem teammate Melvin Johnson said. "Everything he does is tight - his handle, his mid-range game, his decision-making."

. . .  "From the neck on up, he's the best high school basketball player in America," talent evaluator Tom Konchalski said. "He's just a winner. He won at Paterson Catholic, he won a national title at St. Anthony's and he's gonna win at the next level wherever he goes    

The knock against Anderson is he is too slow.  But the saying in basketball is not you can't teach speed but rather you can't teach height.  He is a 6'8" player who can do everything.  He has a great attitude.  

I like this You Tube post because it was a "UCLA Iso post" play.   

This video shows how good Anderson is going to the basket.

Here is another one that proves he is more than a 6'8" guard, he is stat sheet filler with a number of blocks.

And for a lengthy interview and film session with Kenny Smith go here.    

But more than that, I like what this means for the Bruins.  This is a guy with talent like no other high school senior.  This is a guy who is smart.  This is a guy who is a Bruin!