WESTFIELD, Ind. — Purdue was the first school to recruit South Bend's Damezi Anderson, he said, and the first major-conference program to offer him a scholarship, doing so over the phone while in Kansas City for the NCAA Tournament.
"That does matter because it shows Coach (Matt) Painter sees something in me," Anderson Friday night at the opening night of Nike's EYBL's second session, and the start of the second NCAA April evaluation weekend, "and I really respect him and have looked into that school more than any other school."
The high-scoring 6-foot-7, 210ish-pound wing from Riley High School said he even "thought about" committing to the Boilermakers when the offer came in, instead opting to hold off to see what else would come along. What he did do was visit Purdue right away.
He was on campus soon after the NCAA Tournament concluded.
"They just want me there," Anderson said of Purdue's message during the visit. "They feel comfortable that I could come in and fit well in their program."
Anderson said he's now been to Purdue "four or five times" for either games or visits otherwise.
He said he doesn't have a plan formulated yet for recruited, but Michigan and Xavier are among those that could also get visits in the near term. He will have options.
The top-100-ranked wing — Anderson averaged 24 points per game as a junior at Riley — and Indiana junior all-star scored offers this past week from Connecticut and DePaul off his play at last week's EYBL session in Virginia. Dayton, Xavier and Creighton are among others that reached out.
What they're seeing in Anderson is a pure scorer, a big swingman who can shoot threes, really shoot pull-ups and can get to pose stark matchup problems for most anyone that might guard him.
College coaches have wanted to see strides in effort, rebounding and defense, Anderson said, but the offensive prowess alone is formidable.
It was displayed on Friday night.
After arriving at the venue while many of his teammates were already on the floor for shootaround, Anderson endured a forgettable first 30 or so minutes during his Meanstreets team's meeting with Texas Pro Skills. Meanstreets trailed by double-figures during the game's final stretch.
But Anderson scored 13 straight from there, including back-to-back difficult threes to change the complexion of the game, and Meanstreets won 79-78 after two overtimes.
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