The Dylan Anderson Special
“Man, that kid is an 8th grader?!”
“How tall is he?”
“How big are his feet?”
Those might be the most popular asked questions in the gym anytime 6-foot-10 2022 Unicorn Dylan Anderson is playing for his Powerhouse 15U Elite team. Anderson is not just head and shoulders above people literally, but figuratively as well. Only in the 8th grade, his game is so far advanced. His mix of size and skill and ability to play at all 3 levels of the court makes him not just good, but special. He is not just a Division-I prospect but has the upside and the potential to be something so much more one day.
This type of talent doesn’t come across the state of Arizona very often. There are not many players that are pegged with this type of hype at such a young age on a national level. But how many times do you come across a 6-10 8th grader that can shoot the 3, put the ball on the deck, rebound, and dunk on you?! How many kids rock a size 19 shoe?
His shoe size has come to be a topic of discussion. He plays for a Powerhouse program that is sponsored by Under Armour, that does not store a size that big. Thus, he will have to get a custom shoe made for just him.
Dylan trains and is coached in AAU by Vaughn Compton. The two get more and more familiar with each other every day. “In training sessions, ‘Big D’ is a work-horse. He has the work ethic. He wakes up early and goes to the gym with his dad at 5:30 in the morning every day. When I train him and teach him a move, he takes that move and gets the muscle memory down for it with his dad well after the training session.”
Compton currently trains another phenom in top-20 2020 ranked recruit, Nico Mannion. It is hard to compare the two in-state phenoms given their position and size difference. But the one thing that is comparable is the fact that both of them can play on the big stage. Mannion played for Ryan Silver’s West Coast Elite 17U National team last weekend in Gerry Freitas’ Spring Tip-Off in LA. He was dominant and the guiding force to some wins over some of the West Coast’s top AAU programs. Dylan, for his age group, is very much in a similar place. And thriving.
He plays for a Powerhouse 15U Elite team that is absolutely loaded. The team has two other high-major prospects in 6-foot-8 2021 forward DaRon Holmes and 6-foot-4 2021 wing Jovan Ruffin. The team is filled with young talent from top-to-bottom. What comes along with that pool of elite-level players is the fact that when you are placed in an AAU event, you will play against the top teams and talent in each one. Dylan has looked dominant at times and has sometimes looked like he is still trying to find his footing in a faster, stronger and older age division. But like Mannion, he has yet to look like he did not belong.
The New York Knicks superstar big man, Kristaps Porzingas, is Dylan’s favorite player and for obvious reason. A big man that does what Dylan does, but on the highest of levels. The comparison has reached the point to where some people in their inner circle call him “Unicorn,” Porzingas’ nickname that he has earned because of the rarity he is to the game of basketball.
Let this be known. I am not one to bite into a Hershey’s Hype Bar this early in the game of a kids’ basketball career. I, as have many, have seen too many stories of kids that were young phenoms and didn’t pan out in the long run. Some fanned out before he could even get to a high-major college. Some got to the first school on their wish list but fanned out in college. The majority flourished in school but the success did not transfer to the pro’s.
However, if you spend as much time as I have around ‘Big D’ there is something that strikes you a little different. While his father is very hands-on, filming every game while his breath falls and rises with every play, his mom comes across as just… well… Mom. She wears the t-shirt to his AAU program to almost every game and cheers, but after the game she is just worried about getting her 6-10 “baby” fed and hydrated.
Aside from the family demographic, his work ethic and will to get better sets him aside. There is no doubting that the state of Arizona has some very good basketball talent. However, it is rare to see a player have the drive and work ethic to get better. Dylan is a basketball player. I can not recall one time that I have seen him wear clothes that aren’t considered “basketball gear.” Not that you can walk into any Dillard’s or Macy’s and find clothes on the rack that fit a 6-10 middle-schooler, but I am not sure Dylan is even all that concerned with it.
Like Mannion, Anderson played over the weekend in LA as well and looked great. He scored from all three levels over the weekend and when the competition got higher, the harder and tougher he played. He will look to continue to build on his game and his stock next weekend when his Powerhouse team travels back to the same gym in the same city, Next Level Sports Complex in LA as his team takes part in the West Coast Elite SoCal Hoop Review.
Relentless-Recruiting will be in LA over the weekend to watch some of Arizona’s top young talent.