Kentucky staying interested in Georgia junior

July 07, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Anjuan Wilderness, one of the first sophomores to be contacted by the Kentucky basketball coaching staff last season, has helped justify the early recruiting attention he's received with his summer play.

Wilderness, a 6-6 forward from Dunwoody, Ga., recently helped his high school team win the AND1 High School Basketball Championship in Philadelphia.

"Just like he did last season, he played really well," said Dunwoody assistant coach Tim Godby, a former Danville assistant coach. "In the regional final that qualified us to make the trip to Philadelphia, he had 30 points. He can flat-out play."

Godby says Kentucky sends Wilderness letters every day and has seemed extremely interested in him since assistant coach Reggie Hanson saw him play in person last season.


"Florida and Auburn are the other two schools that send him something every day," Godby said. "He gets letters from everywhere. He has a lot of schools monitoring him, but Kentucky, Florida and Auburn are the three that seldom go a day without sending him something."

Wilderness was hampered by foul trouble and a injured foot in several tournament games. However, he still had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the 70-57 championship win over Seton Hall (N.J.) Prep. Teammate Kris Thomas had 26 points and seven steals in the title game and earned most valuable player honors in the tourney. The 6-4 guard was offered a scholarship by Mississippi the day after the championship game.

"Not only does Anjuan play against good competition, but he plays with good players, too," Godby said. "This tournament was really a big deal. It started out with about 320 teams and only the top eight went to Philadelphia. It was a good experience for all of us, but especially for a player like Anjuan."

Dunwood should be among nation's top teams

Dunwoody should go into next season ranked as one of the nation's top teams. Dunwoody's only loss last year came in the state championship game.

Wilderness and his teammates will play in two of the nation's top tournaments - City of Palms and Beach Ball Classic - next season.

"We want to test ourselves against the very best," Godby said. "That will help Anjuan, too."

Wilderness has been in Houston playing in the AAU national championship.

"He's staying busy," Godby said. "But he's still very interested in Kentucky. He makes that clear to me and from what I can tell, Kentucky is staying very interested in him."

Godby is in Florida this week seeing if he can pick up additional tips that might help Wilderness and Dunwoody's other players. He's spending the week with Florida's basketball strength and conditioning coach.

"I am thinking of going into that field in a few years. All the big basketball schools have a special strength and conditioning coach," Godby said. "I want to see what I can learn to help our players now, but also see if that really is something I would like to do."

Kentucky out: One of the state's top linemen, Murray's Cory Zirbel, has apparently eliminated Kentucky. He's narrowed his choices to Michigan and Miami and will make official visits to both this fall before making his collegiate decision by the end of October.

Zirbel attended numerous camps this summer, including one at Kentucky, but indicated early that the Cats were probably not going to be among his final schools. His family moved to Murray from Wisconsin and he has no other family ties to the Bluegrass.

That's why Michigan, the first school where he took an unofficial visit, has been No. 1 on his list for months and remains so now with Miami No. 2.

Zirbel is ranked among the nation's top 100 recruits by several high school recruiting analysts.

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