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December 12, 2011
What we learned: DMV trip
Over the weekend, we made our now annual trip through the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area to check out the Gonzaga D.C. Classic and the National High School Hoops Festival at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha. As we do after each event, we take a look back at what we learned on our trip.
1. Nate Britt's run at the NBPA Top 100 was no fluke
When a younger player dominates a position -- in this case point guard -- at a high level camp like Nate Britt did last summer at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the hope is those efforts will be replicated down the road.
Make no mistake, there have never been any worries about Britt's status as a high level prospect. But, over the weekend in Washington, D.C., the Gonzaga College star went out and cemented his status as one of the elite point guard prospects in the class of 2013 and backed up his No. 11 overall ranking in the Rivals150.
The six-footer committed to Roy Williams and North Carolina just a few weeks ago and sometimes players can become a little complacent after making their choice. Not Britt. If anything, he seemed to play with more resolve, effort and hunger than ever before. The southpaw's jumper is much improved, he still makes those around him better and he's becoming more and more capable of making sound decisions while playing the game at full speed.
2. Austin committed to playing in the paint
Over the last month, Rivals.com has had several opportunities to watch Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep play. Each time, we've walked away impressed with how the nation's fifth ranked player in the class of 2012, Isaiah Austin, has changed his approach to the game.
For most of his high school career, Austin has preferred to face the rim and use his high level of skill to impact games. On the defensive end, he's always been a shot-blocking presence. For his efforts, Austin has also received a fair share of criticism from observers who have felt that he should be more of a force in the paint even though that isn't his natural game.
This season, the seven-footer has totally committed to playing on the interior and functioning as more of a traditional center. The Baylor signee doesn't exactly have anything to prove when it comes to solidifying himself as an elite prospect but it's been impressive to see him addressing areas of his game that have been questioned. He's bought into what his team needs from him and his play in the lane this season is going to help him down the road.
3. Anya headed down the right path
In the class of 2013, BeeJay Anya has always been an intriguing guy because of his size, length and ability to play physically. At the same time, though, there have been concerns about the Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha 6-foot-8 center's conditioning, especially when his weight rose to over 300 pounds during the summer.
When we last saw Anya in October at USA Basketball's developmental minicamp, it was clear that Anya had lost a significant amount of weight. Not surprisingly, he was quicker, had better stamina and was much more productive.
Saturday against highly regarded, and every bit as massive, big man Dajuan Coleman, Anya again looked good. The four-star junior was limited a bit by foul trouble, but while he was on the floor his ability to play with physicality, lock down the boards and be a threat as a shot blocker was more valuable than any stats could indicate.
Now fit and at least 40 pounds trimmer than he was during the summer, Anya is headed down the right path with his game. He's cemented himself as a strong post defender with good hands and is now working on upgrading his offense. On the college front he said that he's wide open and listed attention from programs like Kansas, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Georgetown, UCLA, Maryland, Texas, Florida, Indiana and more.