DeMatha center makes push for national team -- Gazette.Net


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DeMatha Catholic center BeeJay Anya worked out twice Tuesday before his team’s summer-league game against Henry A. Wise High that night, and he faced double-teams throughout the contest.

So, if Anya — who has kicked his conditioning into high gear in advance of this weekend’s USA Basketball U-17 Men’s Developmental National Team training camp in the thin air of Colorado Springs, Colo. — looked sluggish at times during DeMatha’s 49-48 win against Wise in The Rock summer league at High Point High School, he had a few excuses.

Or maybe not.“You’ve got to go 100 miles per hour,” DeMatha coach Mike Jones said. “There’s no altitude here. So go 100 miles per hour every single play. Go after every rebound. If you’re in a position to take a charge, do that. If not, try to block everything. I’m not saying he played bad, by any stretch. But I want top 12 in the planet.”

That, give or take a few 17-year-olds in other countries, is the bar for Anya. He missed the cut for the U-16 team last summer, and after returning to Colorado Springs in October for a national team mini-camp, Anya said he has a chip on his shoulder for his third trip.

“I’ve been there twice, and I enjoyed it enough,” Anya said. “I’m trying to make the team.”

Two of his teammates last season, Jerami Grant (Syracuse) and James Robinson (Pittsburgh), and Upper Marlboro resident Nathaniel Britt, who played for Gonzaga last season, made the U-18 national team, which will compete in the 2012 FIBA Americas U-18 Championship in Brazil beginning Saturday.

“I’m very proud,” Jones said of Grant and Robinson, who graduated from DeMatha this spring. “Obviously, it’s one of the ultimate honors, if not the ultimate honor, for an amateur basketball player.”

Hoping to share the honor, Anya has increased his running, crunches and pushups in the last couple weeks. It’s one last push until he and Jones, an assistant coach on the U-17 team, leave Friday for Colorado. Summer league games, including a matchup with Princeton Day on Thursday at DeMatha, have taken a back seat for now.

“These games are just to help my team out,” Anya said. “But really, I’m trying to get ready with my coaches and conditioning.”

Anya’s presence in the low post helped throughout DeMatha’s one-point win Tuesday, but Terrel Allen provided the biggest boost late by making 3 of 4 free throws in the final 30 seconds. Wise, a public school, actually led most of the game against the vaunted private school power.

“When we start really getting better as a team, we’ll win close games like. That’s the important part,” said Wise coach Rob Garner. “If we were playing this game towards the latter of June, I would like to win games like this, close, competitive games against a DeMatha.”

dfeldman@gazette.net