Calling Kyle Anderson
one of the winningest players in high school basketball history isn't hyperbole.
After transferring to St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
from Paterson Catholic, which closed its doors due to financial trouble following his sophomore year, Anderson's Friar teams went 65-0 with a pair of NJSIAA Tournament of Champions titles and Xcellent 25 national championships.
His success at St. Anthony as a senior earned him MaxPreps 2011-12 National Player of the Year honors.
"That's great to hear," Anderson said. "I'm really happy for myself and my teammates. It just goes to show that all the hard work is paying off."
The 6-foot-7 point forward went 93-1 over the final three years of his high school career, helping Paterson Catholic win the prestigious City of Palms Classic in December of 2009 and reaching New Jersey's Non-Public B North final – a loss to the school he would transfer to just months later.
"I'd say it was a blessing in disguise," Anderson said. "It was a blessing the way that St. Anthony opened its arms up to me and it's been a great couple of years."
The future UCLA Bruin averaged 14.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2 blocked shots this winter, leading the national champs in every category. While those numbers might not jump off the page, Bob Hurley's 2012 Friars were one of the legendary coach's best defensive teams ever – limiting opponents to just 36.6 points per game on the season.
Despite the moniker "Slow Mo" – he plays at his own, unique pace – his length and court sense contributed greatly to the Jersey City school's defensive prowess.
"It didn't bother me at all," Anderson said of sacrificing individual numbers for the greater good of St. Anthony. "Scoring wasn't a big priority for me. A lot of teams keyed on me and I felt I had a responsibility to distribute the ball."
He came up big whenever the Friars needed him to, however. He tallied 18 points and five rebounds to go along with the game-winning assist in an early-February showdown with Academy Top 10 No. 3 Huntington Prep of West Virginia.
"Coach (Bob Hurley) said if we got that win it would be a signature win and things would come together and we would play better after that," Anderson said.
St. Anthony rolled through the postseason, pounding six opponents by an average of 36.3 points per game. Only Plainfield in the Tournament of Champions title game was able to keep the margin at less than 23 points.
Other POY finalists included: Shabazz Muhammad
, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
; Jabari Parker
, Simeon (Chicago)
; and Marcus Smart
, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
MaxPreps National Players of the Year – 2006 through 2012
2012 – Kyle Anderson, St. Anthony
2011 – Austin Rivers
, Winter Park (Fla.)
2010 – Harrison Barnes
, Ames (Iowa)
2009 – Derrick Favors
, South Atlanta
2008 – Brandon Jennings
, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
2007 – Kevin Love
, Lake Oswego (Ore.)
2006 – Greg Oden, Lawrence North (Indianapolis)