If Nick Faust's commitment was Faustival, can this be St. Anderson's Day? Yeah, Justin Anderson of Montrose Christian has just committed to Maryland. Anderson chose the Terps above North Carolina and Virginia, but he had offers from a bevy of other schools, including Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, and a bunch of others (plus interest from Duke and Texas).
I probably shouldn't have to delineate why this a good thing, but in case you're new to recruiting, I will anyway. First off, Anderson's really good; he's a four-star prospect across all three major networks and is a consensus top-50 prospect. Scout has him as the nation's 32nd best player, which would make him Maryland's most highly-regarded commitment since...Mike Jones? (Of course, that's dependent on that ranking holding up).
Second, it's an early commitment by Maryland's standards. Terrell Stoglin, Maryland's first commitment for the 2011 class, committed in early April. Sterling Gibbs committed in late April last year. That's a bonus for recruiting: Maryland now gets an extra month of effort and/or scouting to put in on other high-level targets, like Shaquille Cleare or Amile Jefferson. Anderson has a big name on the circuit, too, thanks to his high early profile (he used to be a top 5 recruit for the class); having one good player on-board already should make Maryland a more enticing destination for other recruits.
Now, I do have to say a quick word of warning. Anderson, for as awesome as he is for a lot of reasons, isn't a great scorer. Statistically, he's not going to light it up. He's only averaging about 14ppg for Montrose, which is good but not outstanding. His shooting is a little lacking - he's good for an open spot-up three, but not much more - and as it stands right now, so is his game off the dribble. I say this not to put him (or you) down, but instead to temper your expectations for what he can do his freshman year.
So if he's not a big scorer, why all the hype? Well, what he does do well, he does really, really well. He has an NBA-ready body right now: he's only 6-5, which is a little on the short side for a 3, but his build (a solid 210) and incredible vert make up for that. He's an excellent defender who relishes taking on the other team's best scorer. And he's Maryland's best athlete since Chris Wilcox.
Quite simply, the easiest way to describe Anderson is "high octane." He's a human highlight reel; once he gets on campus, he'll probably be Maryland's best dunker since Steve Francis. Likewise, his passion and intensity are top-notch. He's ridiculously energetic and plays with a huge chip on his shoulder. Sometimes that means he plays out of control, but I'd rather it be that way than have a player with not enough passion.
Even better, he's generally lauded for possessing a great work ethic and being very coachable. Ideally, that means that those problems mentioned earlier with disappear with time. Even if they don't, Maryland doesn't particularly need another scorer, given that they have both Nick Faust and Terrell Stoglin to handle that. Anderson doesn't need to score, at least not yet, and he'll complement perfectly the games of the others who do.
I don't like comparing recruits to players because it's such a guessing game and is almost always wrong, but there's still no better way to give a basic idea of a player's game. Think of Anderson like a rich man's Byron Mouton, or maybe Sean Mosley with a Wilcox-level of athleticism. Anderson won't come in and drop 15 a game his freshman year. But by his junior year or senior year, he should be able to put up those types of numbers.
Not to get too positive here, but as long as you don't let your imagination run wild, get excited about this. I couldn't think of a better commitment to get. It's early. He's really good. He fits what Maryland needs: a run and jump athlete with great defense, some ridiculous hops, and a ton of passion. And he's local. I gotta say, today was a good day.