Vaught's Views: Cats already looking at Georgia sophomore

January 28, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Before he moved to Georgia two years ago, Tim Godby watched a lot of University of Kentucky basketball games and even worked several summer basketball camps at UK.

Now Godby, a former coach at Danville, knows he has a player that is good enough to play for the Wildcats, and the Cats may agree because assistant coach Reggie Hanson came to Atlanta last week to watch him play

Godby says 6-5 Anjuan Wilderness reminds him of former UK standout Jamal Mashburn because of his skills and demeanor.

"He's a versatile player just like Jamal was," said Godby. "He mainly scores around the basket, but he's proven he can shoot the 3-pointer because he leads our team in 3-point shooting (12-for-22). He still needs to improve his outside shooting and ballhandling, but he will.

"He's a quiet kid, but he's always smiling, just like Jamal. He's not as tall as Mashburn was, but he's more explosive with his quickness and jumping ability."


And he's just a sophomore, even though he's averaging 22 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals per game for the Dunwoody Wildcats, the top-ranked team in Class AAAA with a 19-0 record.

Florida and Georgia have already been to see him play several times. Hanson got to watch him get 14 points in the first quarter last week. Numerous other schools are already sending information to Wilderness.

"It's kind of a surprise that so many colleges are interested already," Wilderness said. "I thought it might happen my junior year, but not now."

Wilderness says he mainly tries to block out the attention he's receiving, even though he admits he would be happy to play for a Southeastern Conference school and lists Georgia, Florida and Kentucky as his top three potential schools today.

"I know a little bit about Kentucky..."

"I know a little bit about Kentucky, but not too much," Wilderness said. "That's all coach Godby talks about. He evidently loves Kentucky and tells me a lot about Kentucky. But I really don't have any idea right now where I might end up going to school one day. My friends talk to me a lot about different schools, but I try not to think too much about any of that."

Godby doesn't have any doubts that Hanson and many other college coaches are going to find their way to Atlanta to watch Wilderness during the next two years.

"He has the athletic ability to be a big-time player," Godby said. "To be a sophomore yet be so strong and athletic is very rare. He has great leaping ability and has had several explosive dunks this year."

But he can do more than dunk. Godby recalls one game where Wilderness was being double- and triple-teamed inside. He went outside.

"He made three 3-pointers, including the game-winning shot he hit off the dribble with a defender on him," Godby said. "He can already dominate at the high school level and when he improves his shooting and ballhandling, he will dominate at the college level as well."

Wilderness will spend this summer attending several camps as well as playing on an AAU team. He knows he has to work not only on his shot and ballhandling, but also all other aspects of his game. He also plans to get more serious in the weight room to increase his strength.

"I have a lot of things to do to get better," the 16-year-old Wilderness said. "I would really like to get better handling the ball with my left hand. That would allow me to do even more.

"I think what I do best now is take the ball to the hole and get to the middle a lot. I think I finish pretty well, but I can get a lot better."

That attitude is another reason Godby knows he'll eventually get to see Wilderness star for a big-name college team.

"He is probably the most unselfish player on the team," Godby said. "He always listens to coaching and never says anything to the officials when he gets bad calls. He always does what he is supposed to do to help the team win and he appreciates any help he gets from coaches."

That includes Godby and Greg Phillips, another former Danville assistant. Godby is the top assistant for coach Scott Bracco while Phillips is the freshman coach and helps the varsity team.

"All I know is that coaching is sure a lot easier when you have a player like Anjuan," Godby said. "He does a lot more to make us look good than we do to help him."

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