In the two-plus weeks since Justin Anderson committed to Maryland, I’ve been asked the question time and again: What lies ahead for the high-flying junior forward and what kind of impact will he have at Maryland?
Anderson is so highly rated and expectations for him are soaring — so much so that it could be difficult to meet -- let alone exceed -- those expectations.
Anderson is extremely athletic, plays hard at both ends of the court and seems coachable, but -- at least throughout his high school career at Montrose Christian -- he has not been a prolific scorer. He entered Friday’s game averaging 13.9 points with just four 20-point game in his three seasons at the Rockville private school.
Part of that is because the Mustangs spread the ball around. Leading scorer Tyrone Johnson avera
ges 15.6 points with seven 20-plus games this season, with junior forward Michael Carrera at 14.4 points, Anderson at 13.9 and senior guard Tyler Hubbard at 12.9.
However, the question still remains: Can Anderson get points outside of transition, putbacks and other close-in baskets.
“It does get frustrating when people say, ‘All he can do is run the wing and get transition dunks,’ ” Anderson said.
After scoring in transition, Anderson made a long three-pointer from the right wing. Then he tapped in an offensive rebound and made a three-pointer from the left side in transition as point guard Tyrone Johnson patiently dribbled toward the basket to draw the defense before finally passing to Anderson alone on the perimeter.
In less than 3 ½ minutes late in the first quarter, Anderson scored 10 points. He finished with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting in an 83-61 victory over Boys & Girls of New York City in the National High School Invitational semifinals at Georgetown Prep. Hubbard also had 18 points, while Carrera and Johnson had 15 each; Carrera also grabbed 17 rebounds.
“For people who have been at my games all year, they see I have the ability to shoot the outside jump shot,” Anderson said. “That’s not something I grew overnight.”
Montrose (24-1) will meet Oak Hill (29-3) in the final in a rematch of a double-overtime thriller the teams played Feb. 2 (won by the Mustangs, 70-62). Oak Hill’s Duke-bound Quinn Cook, the reigning All-Met Player of the Year after his junior season at DeMatha, scored 29 points to lead the Warriors past Florida Class 5A champion Dwyer in the later semifinal.
Anderson made 4 of 10 shots in Thursday’s 64-59 victory over John Carroll, missing both of his three-point attempts and regularly coming up short on shots in the Mustangs’ first game since Feb. 25. Playing on consecutive days, he said, helped him get in a shooting rhythm and he made certain to use his legs on jump shots to get the ball to the rim.
“Justin is a very talented basketball player, but the expectations for Justin have been unrealistic since eighth grade,” Vetter said. “His basketball skills are still developing. If he can improve as much this year to next as he did last year to this year, he will be one of the best players in the country.”