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March 17, 2011

Terps land Montrose Christian's Justin Anderson

After missing the postseason for the first time since 1993, the Maryland men's basketball program was seemingly overdue for some positive news.

On Thursday afternoon, Justin Anderson, a 6-foot-7 junior from Montrose Christian, provided just what the Terps needed.

"I will be attending the University of Maryland," Anderson said during an appearance on Comcast SportsNet. "I felt as though I wanted to get the decision over with, not in a rush, but I felt as though it was about that time I could start creating relationships with Coach [Gary] Williams and with his assistants and start working on the game in the way that they want me to be ready for Maryland when I get there."

Anderson is Maryland's first commitment of the 2012 class. The Mustangs small forward cited location and the success of former Montrose Christian star Greivis Vasquez at Maryland as major factors in his recruitment. He said in a phone interview that the Terps have stood out ever since they started seriously recruiting him as a freshman.

"They just started standing out, obviously because of the location, my family being close by, and I think it’s just perfect for me and my family," Anderson said. "Coach Williams is a great coach. He approaches the game the same way I do. His energy is unbelievable."

Anderson grew up near Fredericksburg, Va., playing for Courtland High’s junior varsity team as an eighth-grader. He headed to Montrose Christian for his freshman season, immediately establishing himself as one of the most athletic prospects nationally in the 2012 class.

"We first met Justin in the eighth grade. He actually recruited us," said Montrose Christian coach Stu Vetter. "Everybody in the country was recruiting him, and I didn’t know much about him. His dad called my phone and left a message. Fortunately my staff had seen him and said I better return that call, because he’s pretty good. He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached. ... He’s a developing basketball player, and Justin’s getting better every year. I think by the time he gets to the University of Maryland, he can develop into one of the best players in the ACC."

This winter Anderson averaged 14 points for the Mustangs (22-1), who earned The Washington Post’s No. 1 ranking for D.C.-area teams. Duke, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia were among the other programs involved with Anderson, who reminds Vetter of one of Maryland's all-time greats.

"It’s very similar to when we were dealing with Greivis Vasquez," Vetter said. "Maryland was going through a little difficult time, didn’t have a lot of energy on the floor. I remember talking to Coach Williams, talking about what Greivis would bring to the team – not just on talent, but with energy. [Anderson] brings such energy to the floor that’s infectious to other players."

Dave Telep, ESPN.com’s national college basketball recruiting analyst, called Anderson a “unique” talent who will be “ready to go as a freshman” from a defensive perspective. Offensively, the high-flying Anderson’s game is still developing.

“I think it starts with getting more comfortable with his jump shot and just finding a consistent offensive comfort zone," Telep said. "In the past he’s married himself to shooting 3s. I think he can get his shot off the bounce as needed. I think he could be a real good slasher, mid-range pull-up guy. I think that’s an easy role to project.”

Anderson, the No. 43 player nationally according to Rivals.com, said he is always working on his game. The four-star prospect acknowledged during his televised announcement that there is certainly room for improvement.

"Coach always tells me, ‘Justin, you can be happy, but don’t be satisfied.’ I live off of that day by day," Anderson said. "I’m never satisfied, but I am happy with my progression. I think the outside shot is coming along real well, but not where it needs to be. I think all aspects of the game – ball-handling, defense, which is the most important part of the game, I think, to me."

Anderson will join a Maryland team in 2012 that could – barring attrition – return Jordan Williams, James Padgett, Ashton Pankey and Martin Breunig in the frontcourt, Haukur Palsson, Mychal Parker and Nick Faust on the wing, and Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard and Sterling Gibbs in the backcourt.

"It’s [a team of] guys that want to win," Anderson said. "They don’t want to be selfish with the basketball. I kind of know going in that it’s a team that’s willing to win, not just a bunch of individuals trying to get to the NBA."

With Anderson's commitment, the Terps have two additional scholarships to give in the 2012 class. He is expected to make an immediate impact in College Park. Telep said Anderson's athleticism and leaping ability set him apart from other prospects his age. At the very least, he'll be "an exceptional teammate, a great energy guy, and a piece of the puzzle at the highest level.”

“He’s a player right away,” Telep said. “I don’t think he’s a guy who’s [your primary] scorer, but he’s a really good player. I think he’s a guy who gets offensive rebounds, takes pride in his defense, runs the court and gets to the rim. You have a couple times a game where he shifts momentum your way. Athletically, he can do that. … You expect him to be a presence defensively, a really good rebounder, and a super team and energy guy.”

For Anderson, making a commitment before the end of his junior year felt like "a great decision" for him and his family that "wasn't rushed at all." He's counting the days until he suits up for the Terps.

"I can’t wait to show them how much of a Maryland player [I am], and how committed I’ll be to the program when I get there," Anderson said. "The energy I’ll bring is the same if not more than Greivis brought throughout his four years of college. Game after game, I’ll be there."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:56 PM | | Comments (26)
        

Comments

Great pickup, welcome Justin!

“Maryland started recruiting me since my first year on the AAU circuit, which was sixth grade,” Anderson said. “Ever since then, I’ve known about them, not to say they were always my favorite.”

Regardless of what some people believe, further proof Gary does recruit- For those that forget, he brought in Mosley, Baltimore player of the yr, faust, best sr in Baltimore, and now Anderson 3 out of the past 4 yrs, and throw-in the find of Jordan williams. i'd say the future looks good

Wow! We needed news like this. Welcome to the Terps Justin. You sound like a great kids, just the type we love, and you play like a demon! All the best for a great career here, and we hope to see your name in the rafters by the time you're done.

Andersons announcement gives the impression that he's a class act, no different than Nick Faust's recent announcement on ESPN. Gary continues to bring in kids to the program that you want to root for, not just because of the name on the front of the jersey.

Another great pickup by the coach who "can't recruit".

Welcome to the Terps, Justin. Your video rocks...that last slam looked like a lefthanded M.J.!

Hubert'ss a Tar Heel. This Mr. Anderson is a tough Terp and with Breunig the effort level is about to match that of any other. If they then add Judge this will be a very active team on both sides but especially around the rim in terms of how they finish.

Love the timing if this news!

Hopefully Jay Wright will be coaching this kid by 2012. Please please please

But can he shoot free throws?

Ryan? Ryan? Rya

In some deference to Ryan, as he's not nearly the only person with a lognstanding gripe about Williams' recruiting, all that needs to be said is, hmmm, a local kid, nationally ranked recruit, committed to Maryland,...imagine that.

Adding to "another Ryan's" noted recruitments of Sean Mosley, Baltimore's Player of the Year, and Nick Faust, Baltimore's best senior this season, lest anyone forget that Dino Gregory, too, was Baltimore's Player of the Year as a senior.

Go read what I said. I said rumor hsa it he is picking the terps.

Remember......it ain't over till he signs.
AND, 1 player does not a class make.

Bino has paid dividends in his first year with Faust and Anderson*.

*verbal

Now, they still need some Bigs, and to keep JW from making a bad decision.
They have still missed the NCAA 4 out of 7 years.

And I hate Duke.

Sorry, B-roni, this kid is a lock with UM. There's no way he's backing out of his Terps commitment to go to Villanova.

Gary can't recruit. Gary can't recruit. Gary doesn't get local players. Gary doesn't get local players. This guy is choosing UMD over UNC and UVA. The Trolls need to crawl back under their bridges before Billygoat knocks them into the water.

I love his enthusiasm. Something we did not have in Tucker or Bowie. I see a program on the rise. This one year blip happened, but I look at what is going on beyond a few days in the future. Many posters here dont look beyond their next visit to the restroom.

Hey ArdmoreAri

Jay Wright has won how many championships? How many final fours?

Get out of here, Gary is the better coach. Only thing people knocked Gary on was recruiting,

Now he gets recruits and you want a slimeball from the Big Least?

This guy is super nice, not just a good player. My wife and her friends, who were looking for a school for the friend's son, went to Montrose Christian last month and met and talked wtih this kid. She said this kid was very polite and gave people warm feelings, though she didn't know who he was and why people (the school's staff) regarding him highly.

Well, I hope the Terps fans won't turn against him if he is not playing as them expect level in the first couple seasons, like they treated Mosley, Dupree, Tucker, and Mike John.

Could that Paker did not play much this season because Gary wanted to shield him from fans' heckle when he wasn't ready? Well, if you can boot a hall of fame coach, you certainly are capable doing it to players with nice personality. See you guys destroy Mike John and maybe Tucker and Bowie.

Excellent, great job Gary!

this is good news.

Great news! This young man made an excellent choice!

Fear the turtle!

Lots of Gary-Lovers onboard today. Is this another 4 star kid in the mold of Mosley??

Gotta say, very nice pickup....now keep adding

Hey AA can you read a blog? b roni wrote that. Apology accepted!

Speaking of people coming out from under a rock, I see blancione, after a long hiatus from the Terps message board, is back. Hey Bob, go back under the rock again!

Great Gary got a "verbal". Let's see of he signs during the early period. Lot of dunks in the highlights. What GW needs is a couple of guys that can knock down the 3 consistently and someone to rebound with Jordan. Everyone on the current and past roster can DUNK!!

Yeah, but can he dunk?

Justin sounds like a great kid and pickup for the Terps, DarNel!! Don't be so pessimistic!! Way to go Gary - look foward to next year !!!!

Terp N' Texas - Dino Gregory was not the best senior in his class. Nationally I didn't see him even Top 150. Malcolm Delaney was POY in the area and in the BCL. Second was Donte Green. Braxton Dupree was also in that class and some publications had him Top 100. Alex Franz who just made 3rd team all american at the D3 level was in that class as well. Mosely shared BCL POY with Henry Simms.

That being said I watched Montrose practice and Anderson practices with a lot of energy. He was also good afterwards with the little kids who were around. He will play hard and represent UMD well, and be a good player to boot.

Check out Justin Anderson and Montrose Christian on the next episode of HOOPS ACADEMY on Fox College Sports on Tuesday nights @ 9:00pm EST. Check local listings. Hoops Academy is a reality show about coach Stu Vetter and the Montrose Christian basketball program. Watch Montrose as they play towards the National title.

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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