As the last batch of fans and reporters made their way to BeeJay Anya following DeMatha ’s “Stag Madness” event on Friday in Hyattsville, the senior center’s eye caught a red-and-black hat twirling in the hands of a young boy.
“Hey man, I need that hat,” a grinning Anya said before tucking the N.C. State snapback into his hand. “This is gold right here.”
Indeed, with Anya’s commitment to the Wolfpack, the ACC program has added a precious piece to its 2013 recruiting class. The highly touted All-Met chose N.C. State over the likes of Indiana and Pittsburgh by pulling an N.C. State hat out of a black bag midway through Friday’s festivities.
Anya said he made up his mind following an official visit to the Raleigh campus on the weekend of Oct. 26, citing the family atmosphere and good vibes received from Coach Mark Gottfried.
“They just treated me like family and I loved it every time I went down there,” said Anya, who ESPN ranks as the 31st best player in his class. “I told my parents after that visit that this was the place for me. Then I figured tonight, with everybody here, would be the best time to tell everybody my decision.”
The 6-foot-9, 265-pound senior brings a post presence to the Wolfpack, which will lose its starting center to graduation after this season. Anya averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and a school-record 6.8 blocks for the Stags last year.
“BeeJay has an opportunity to step up next year and fill a potential void in the middle for N.C. State, so I think it’s a great fit for him,” Stags Coach Mike Jones said. “I accompanied him on an unofficial visit there in August and could tell he enjoyed it.”
With his college decision now out of the way, Anya turns his focus to helping DeMatha reclaim the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title after falling short for the first time since 2008. The Stags open regular-season play on Dec. 1 in Chicago against a Whitney Young team led by its own impressive big man in Jahlil Okafor.
“I’m relieved now that my decision is out of the way and I won’t have everyone asking me about it all the time,” Anya said. “I’m all about winning. I’m looking to get back that WCAC title and then bring the same winning attitude and leadership to N.C. State when I get there next year.”