Basketinside.com exclusive – Kyle Anderson of UCLA: “Here to get better with coach Howland and win”

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Kyle Anderson is an atypical guard. Why? Maybe because he’s 6.9 feet tall. Of course he’s not the most athletic guard in the NCAA but he can be a game changer just using his hands, two so well educated instruments that could have played the piano or could have written poems but they decided to express themselves giving away assists. As a freshman Kyle is already the best rebounder of his team, the UCLA Bruins. and the second best passer but he never forgets to score, that’s why he’s averaging almost 10 points per game. As a great all-arounder and as a guard with big size doesn’t Kyle reminds you of another player who make history in Los Angeles (in the NBA)? Maybe Magic Johnson? Obviously is early to make comparisons, Kyle is just 19 years old but the evidences are clear and he has a great potential. That’s one of the reasons why, before his commitment to UCLA, he’s always been considered one of the top prospect of his class. You should know that Kyle Anderson is a true high school legend: he ended the last three of his four high school seasons with a record of 93 wins and just 1 loss leading St. Anthony to the first spot of Fab 50 making it the best team in the United States. You can say whatever you want about him but you must admit he’s a born winner

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Name: Kyle Anderson
Birth Date: September 20, 1993
Hometown: Fairview, New Jersey
Height: 6-9 ft
Weight: 235 lbs
Role: Guard/Forward
High School: St. Anthony High School
Team: UCLA Bruins
2012/2013 Stats: 9.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals

 

What has it been like to play in Ben Howland’s system and how have you benefitted from playing in college this season?

It’s been going well playing in Coach Howland’s system, I’m really enjoying it. I think I’ve benefitted from having the space and the opportunity to help create for others on the court. I’ve also been able to help create space for my own shot.

In your high school team you used to do almost everything but in UCLA you have to share the ball with other great players like Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams, Travis Wear and Larry Drew II. Was it difficult, particularly at the start of this season, to not have the ball in your hands as often as you may have been used to in high school?

No, it wasn’t particularly tough, it was just something that I had to adjust to and learn to play without the ball. It helped me to get better, I’ve learned how to set better screens for others and how to make other players better.

Someone considers you a forward, someone else considers you a guard and now you’re the leading rebounder of your team but also the second best passer. What part of your game are you most proud of, and what part needs more improvement?

The thing that I like the most about my game is just making everybody else better, I like being unselfish with the basketball and getting passes distributed. As for what I think I can improve upon with my game, I need to be able hit the open shots and improve on my strength and quickness.

You have always been considered one of the top prospect of your recruiting class but you committed quite early to UCLA and that means you have always been sure about your choice. What convinced you to attend UCLA and how has the university worked out for you?

I wanted to come here because of the success that guards have had coming to play for Coach Howland. He’s helped these guys not only to advance to the NBA, but also to sustain success at the next level. These guys have come through his system and flourished.

After your commitment the NCAA spent almost 4 months investigating on your situation suspecting some recruitment violations from the Bruins but everything was solved and you’ve been cleared to play. Have you ever been concerned that the NCAA inquiry might prevent you from playing games at UCLA?

I was never worried about that. My focus has always been on contributing to our team at UCLA.

You’re a born winner, in your last three years of high school your overall record is an impressive 93-1 and you’ve also brought St. Anthony to be the number 1 ranked team in the Fab 50 but UCLA lost three of the first five games in the regular season. How difficult have the rough patches been this season, especially considering  how successful your teams were at St. Anthony in New Jersey? 

That’s something that comes with the territory. I was fortunate enough to win a lot of games at St. Anthony but now I’m trying to take things one day at a time and win as many games with my UCLA teammates. Our team is young and we’ve had a lot to learn, but I know that we have a chance to finish the season strong and make a run in the postseason.

Since the 2008 Final Four UCLA has never passed the round of 32 and hasn’t won any conference title anymore. How far do you think the Bruins can go this season? What are your postseason expectations for this team?

We want to play hard and do well in the Pac-12 Tournament. Right now we need to maintain focus on the task at hand and not look too far ahead. We want to perform at our best in whichever postseason tournament we participate in, we just need to do well and give our best effort day in and day out.

We’ve already said that you’re a born winner, a guard with great size, basketball IQ, passing skills and rebounding skills. A player like that could be a great fit in every professional team. Talking about that, what are your thoughts about the upcoming NBA Draft?

My only focus right now is on helping this team at UCLA to improve and finishing our season strong. I still have time to think about the Draft.

 

The whole NBA/NCAA editorial staff of Basketinside.com really want to thank both Kyle Anderson and the press office of UCLA, especially Alex Timiraos.