BeeJay Anya had been told to be prepared. He was told that Assembly Hall would be packed solid for Hoosier Hysteria, and that all of the fans there would shower attention on the recruits in attendance.
But the DeMatha Catholic High School center and long-time Indiana target from Hyattsville, Md., still wasn’t prepared for what he experienced. Along with Oak Hill Academy wing Troy Williams and the four verbal commitments Indiana already has for the 2013 class, Anya was the main recruiting attraction Saturday night, and he got the treatment that usually comes with that.
“The atmosphere was great,” Anya said. “Hoosier Hysteria was popping. It was packed. Fans were going crazy. It was just great. … They told me basketball was like gold there. I was expecting it to be crazy, but I wasn’t expecting all of that. They were chanting my name when I walked in the building. That was surprising to me.”
Anya has been among the names at the top of Indiana’s wish list for well over a year. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound center is a four-star recruit and the No. 47 player in the country according to Rivals.com and has been a household name for Indiana fans as long as the Hoosiers have been after him. However, he’d never been to the state, so they had no opportunity to dote on him as they usually do in-state recruits of similar stature. Hence the reason Saturday’s response came as such a big shock to him.
Hoosier Hysteria was certainly the highlight of Anya’s official visit, but he said he was also impressed with his tour of the facilities and his dealings with everyone from the coaching staff and players to the academic staff. The life-long East Coaster also noticed that relations between people are slightly different in Indiana.
“I found out it’s a lot different in the Midwest,” Anya said. “Everybody seems so together. It’s like family. Everybody’s just so nice to each other. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Anya said he’s going to take his time making his decision. He has a visit scheduled with North Carolina State next weekend and still has three more official visits available to tour any of the 18 other schools he reportedly has offers from which include powerhouses such as Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse.
Anya said he’s looking for a school that could develop him into a professional player, and one that would use him prominently in the offense. He’s noticed from watching IU center Cody Zeller that the Hoosiers can certainly do that.
“I think I want to go to a place where I can go play and be a focal point of the offense,” Anya said. “I’m watching schools play, and certain schools run the offense through their big men. Cody Zeller, he’s amazing. He’s ridiculous. And everything they do is through him. And their guards, they like that too because that gets them more and better shots too.”
There are certainly other schools among his favorites that do the same, but when Anya makes his decision, he will remember Hoosier Hysteria. Former DeMatha guard Victor Oladipo had told Anya what it was like to play basketball at Indiana, and this weekend, Anya found out what that meant.
“He just told me they’re like rock stars,” Anya said. “They’re like rock stars over there. And I found that out first hand.”