Terps land prized Montrose Christian wing Justin Anderson

March 17, 2011 | Luke Jones

Needing uplifting news after a deflating week for the program, the postseason-less Terps landed their highest-rated recruit in eight years.

Montrose Christian small forward Justin Anderson announced his intentions to play at the University of Maryland, choosing Gary Williams and the Terps despite serious interest from ACC rivals Virginia and North Carolina. The junior wing is a consensus four-star recruit and top-50 talent who has shown explosive athleticism and defensive tenacity while playing for the distinguished Stu Vetter. Should his current standing hold up or improve, Anderson would be the highest-rated freshman for Maryland since Mike Jones in 2003.

“I wanted to get the decision over with,” Anderson said in a televised interview with Comcast SportsNet. “Not in a rush, but I felt as though it was about that time I can start creating a relationship with coach Williams and with his assistants and start working on the game in the way that they want me to to be ready for Maryland when I get there.”

Anderson pointed to location and the success of former ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez, who also attended Montrose Christian, as major factors in his decision to commit to Maryland so early. He labeled College Park as the “best fit” for him and his family.

Listed anywhere between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-7 according to several sources, the recruiting sites have raved about his athleticism and potential to get better in his senior season. From the looks of his highlights (below), the Terps may have landed their most athletic recruit since Chris Wilcox.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBrCDbv82iM[/youtube]

Though his athleticism and defensive prowess are his biggest strengths, Anderson has room to improve over his final prep season before taking his talents to Maryland. Ball-handling and shooting ability are areas in which the junior needs to improve. Unlike the athletic Mychal Parker, who just finished a quiet freshman season at Maryland, Anderson has the advantage of playing at a school known for preparing its players for the next level.

“You should always improve your game,” Anderson said. “Coach [Vetter] always tells me, ‘Justin, you can be happy, but don’t be satisfied.’ And I live off that everyday. I’m never satisfied, but I am happy with my progressions.”

For a program heavily criticized for its inability to recruit locally, the Terps have now plucked a premium talent from the state of Maryland for the second consecutive year (City shooting guard Nick Faust is an incoming freshman this fall). With Anderson’s early commitment, it also opens the door for other top recruits to take the Terps more seriously when making their own college choices.

“I think it was a great decision for me and my family. We thought it over, and I think we’re ready to get this show on the road.”

After adding another high-ceiling player to the mix, that show could prove to be very exciting in the not-so-distant future.

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