Since becoming Marquette’s head coach a little over two years ago, Buzz Williams has been all over the country trying to recruit the best players in the nation to come to Marquette. On Wednesday, his hard work paid off when Juan Anderson, a 6’6 wing from Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley, CA.
In Anderson, Marquette is getting a long, athletic and talented wing that West Coast recruiting analyst Greg Hicks ranked as the #1 SF in the West. Anderson was also named the MVP of the NORCAL All Star game in August.
Selecting Marquette over schools like Arizona State, Cal and Oregon wasn’t an easy thing to do, and Anderson is relieved to have the recruiting process over with. “It feels really good. I’m happy with my decision and it is time to move forward, there is no looking back. They say kids from California don’t go across the country, but this West Coast kid is heading to the Big East.”
The Castro Valley star admitted that the Big East was a big part of his decision. “The Big East is the best conference in the country. There is a reason that Big east schools recruited me, and I am not going to sell myself short. I want to be the best and I want to play against the best and that is what I will find in the Big East.”
The Big East was a major factor in Anderson’s decision, but it wasn’t “THE” reason, according to Anderson. “The number one reason is the academics at Marquette. They really have a great support staff - that and the coaches. All of the work that Coach Benford and Buzz put in, it always felt like they really cared. They made me, my mother and Raymond Young, my AAU coach believe that they really cared, and they made us feel like we could really trust them.”
“I got to give a lot of props to Coach Benford. He is the one that really convinced me. He really put in a lot of time with both me and my mom, and he really connected with us. Coach Williams is a great guy. He is really honest, and I felt he was always honest with me. A lot of coaches tell you what you want to hear, he tells you what you need to hear, whether you want to hear it or not. Regardless of what the situation, I really believe that he never lied to me, and I really believe that everything he does and says, really does come straight from the heart.”
Anderson’s commitment comes less than two weeks after he spent a weekend in Milwaukee for his official visit, and the visit couldn’t have gone better. “I had the opportunity to see them work, and their work ethic is amazing, and that is how we do it here at Castro Valley and also with the Oakland Rebels. Their players know that nothing will be handed to them, that they have to work for everything they get. The players, they never give up, no matter how tough things are, and they are all in it together. Joe Fulce was my host, and he was great, but it wasn’t just him – everyone was always together. Those guys, they are a family. Their facilities are great, they really do have great facilities, but with that group, and their mentality, it doesn’t matter what the facilities are like, get a ball and put us on some hardwood anywhere, and we will work and improve.”
Anderson knows he has a lot of work to do, but feels his game is suited for the Big East. “I am a versatile player, and I know Coach Williams likes that. I can pass, rebound, I shoot it pretty good and I can get to the cup, but I need to get stronger and quicker. I also need to continue learning. I have a pretty high basketball IQ for high school, but the next level is completely different, and I have to continue to learn more about myself and the game.”
Off the court Anderson is a popular kid, but feels he isn’t the stereo-typical basketball player. “So many people always assume that basketball players are outgoing and cocky, but I’m not. I am confidant, but I am also very modest, humble, shy and quiet.”
So now that the recruiting process is complete, what’s next for Anderson? “I will continue to keep working to get better. I want to learn something new every day. And from here on out, I will count down every day until I arrive at Marquette.”
Eleven days removed from his visit to Marquette, Anderson has already scheduled a return visit. “I am going to take an unofficial visit to Marquette in a couple of weeks because I want to be there for Marquette Madness. I hope the Marquette fans are excited to see the West Coast Boy coming to the Big East.”
As the long awaited and first Marquette commitment in the 2011 class, there is no question that Marquette fans are excited.