“I think it’s a chance to come out and show how good a team player I can be,” Anya said in a phone interview from Colorado Springs. “Just try to be as good a teammate as possible. It isn’t about me, it’s about the entire country. I’m just trying to come out and win a gold medal with my team.”
Anya, a 6-9 rising senior, averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and a school-record 6.8 blocks last season for the Stags and was named All-Met. Ranked the top center in the class of 2013 by ESPN, Anya has more than 20 scholarship offers, including Ohio State, Kansas, Louisville, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Memphis, UCLA, Arizona, Indiana and Notre Dame.
Anya began tryouts with the under-17 team last Friday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and survived two rounds of cuts. The players went through two-a-day sessions, Anya said.
“The biggest challenge is trying to stay focused and staying motivated,” Anya said. “You get tired, your body gets sore, but you have to come out and bring it every day.”
On Thursday, the team will leave to compete in the Canary Islands in the 2012 Spain U17 International Invitational against Australia, Latvia and Spain.
The team will then open play in the FIBA U17 World Championships in Kaunas, Lithuania on June 29 against Australia. The U.S. will also play Egypt on July 1, France on July 3 and China on July 4. The medal rounds will take place July 6-8.
DeMatha Coach Mike Jones is an assistant coach for the under-17 squad.
“He’s giving me extra insight about what I need to do and what I need to work on,” Anya said. “He’s been a big help to me, ever since last year to get ready for this. He’s helped me a lot through everything, not just this.”
Earlier this month, Nate Britt (Gonzaga), Jerami Grant (DeMatha graduate who is heading to Syracuse) and James Robinson (DeMatha graduate who is heading to Pittsburgh) were named to the under-18 national team, which is currently competing in the FIBA Americans U18 Championship in Brazil.
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