June 17, 2011
There are plenty of players who have turned heads at the ongoing USA 16-and-under developmental camp, yet none have done so for a more unique reason than BeeJay Anya, one of the top junior prospects (Class of 2013) in the country. Anya's full wingspan was officially measured and published for the first time, providing the most astounding stat of the event: Anya's arms stretch 7-feet, 9-inches across.
Considering the fact that Anya, currently ranked as the No. 16 player in the Class of 2013, stands only 6-foot-8, that wingspan is an extreme anomaly. In fact, it's so wide that it may be longer than any NBA draft prospect … ever.
You read that right: A 16-year-old basketball prospect already has a longer wingspan than any top prospect in NBA draft history. Longer than Shaquille O'Neal, longer than Alonzo Mourning, Kevin Durant, DaSagna Diop and even Michael Olowokandi, who comes in at No. 3 in NBA Draft Express' sortable database of wingspans.
In fact, according to that aforementioned database, only two players have ever been within an inch of Anya's prodigious spread: 2008 prospect John Riek, measuring at 7-feet-8.75 and 2006 draftee Saer Sene, who is listed at 7-feet-8.5.
Naturally, a broad wingspan isn't the only attribute that has gained national acclaim for Anya. The versatile center -- who plays for DeMatha (Md.) Prep and D.C.-area AAU power Team Takeover -- also has a reach of 9-foot-3, according to Rivals.com basketball analyst Jerry Meyer, and was a heartbreaking final-session cut from the official U.S. 16-U roster, a casualty of the team selecting just one center on the final roster.
He also has a full drawer of tools which he may be able to deploy to make an impact at the highest level, as you can see in the highlight reel above.
No matter where he eventually winds up, one thing seems certain: If his future team needs someone to reach up and get a ball stuck on the rim off its perch, Anya is probably their man.