When it comes to his recruiting, Damezi Anderson knows what he knows.
Purdue really wants him.
Indiana really wants him.
So do Michigan, Xavier and more.
Who wouldn’t want a 6-7 forward who shoots three-pointers like a guard, who has a physique well suited to get-tough rebounding and a knack for making big plays at big moments?
For now, the South Bend Riley standout bides his time. He is a couple months away from starting his high school senior season, weeks away from the July travel-ball blitz that will provide his final to chance to make a national recruiting impression before November’s signing period.
Anderson was featured in the spring’s Nike EYBL circuit. As an Indiana Junior All-Star, he had two exhibitions against the Senior All-Stars, scoring 24 points to pace a junior win at New Albany. He averaged 24.0 points as a Riley junior.
The tougher the competition, the more he likes it.
“Better competition always motivates me,” he says. “We go hard at each other. There are a lot of good players in EYBL, a lot of good players (in the all-star exhibitions). You have to bring your A game every game.”
Purdue was the first school to recruit Anderson and the first major college program to offer a scholarship. The offer from coach Matt Painter came as the Boilers prepared to face Kansas during March’s NCAA tourney Sweet 16 round in Kansas City.
“Coach Painter sees something in me,” Anderson says. “He feels comfortable I could fit well in the program.”
Anderson briefly considered committing to Purdue as soon as the offer came, but decided to wait and see who else would offer.
There have been plenty.
Anderson says Painter “wants to get me on campus.” He added that IU coach Archie Miler “can’t wait” to get him to visit Bloomington.
Anderson said he doesn’t know much about the Hoosiers under Miller, who took the job this spring after former coach Tom Crean was fired.
“They should have a good team,” he says. “I want to know how they run their program. I hope to get to know more about them.”
Michigan, which has had success with several state-of-Indiana players, is making a big push. Coach John Beilein has taken the lead in Anderson’s recruiting.
“They have a good program,” Anderson says. “It’s a good, educational school. Coach Beilein has good shooters. It’s a good program for me.”
Then there is another Indiana Junior All-Star, Robert Phinisee, who also has offers from Purdue and Indiana, plus Butler, Virginia, Ohio State and more.
Last season the McCutcheon standout averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds to help his team to a sectional championship. In 2016, he helped McCutcheon to a state runner-up finish.
Purdue has recruited Phinisee, the state’s No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2018, hard for a while. IU is making a strong push for Phinisee behind assistant coach Bruiser Flint as well as Miller.
“We’re just building a relationship,” Phinisee says.
Miller visited Phinisee in April and provided a film session to show how Phinisee would fit in with Miller’s system, which includes plenty of ball-screen action for guards.
Phinisee will attend team camps at Purdue and IU this month.
Finally, a third Indiana Junior All-Star, Eric Hunter from Indianapolis Tindley, also has a Purdue offer, plus offers from Minnesota, Nebraska, Kent State and IUPUI, with growing interest from IU. He averaged 25.5 points last season for Tindley, which won a state champions. He is rated the No. 3 player in the state.
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