The recruiting process is moving at a breakneck pace right now for Braeden Anderson, as many of college basketball's powerhouse programs have come calling in recent weeks.
Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina have all ramped up their interest in the athletic power forward from Wilbraham (MA) and Monson Academy. On the heels of an unofficial visit to Kentucky during the last weekend in February, Anderson tripped to Lawrence, Kan. Sunday afternoon to begin an official visit with the Kansas Jayhawks.
The rich history of basketball on Mount Oread has long been perceived by fans as one of the key selling points on the recruiting trail for Head Coach Bill Self's program, and to Anderson that tradition was palpable from the moment he set foot inside Allen Fieldhouse.
"It was really kind of overwhelming," he said. "Just seeing all of these former players and the championships, and all the winning and success that Kansas has come across over he years."
During his time in Lawrence, one of the key messages driven home by coaches and players alike was the prowess of Kansas assistant Danny Manning. Under his tutelage, prep talents like Cole Aldrich and Marcus and Markieff Morris have developed into college stars with legitimate professional futures.
Watching the Jayhawks practice, Anderson explained, it was easy to envision himself on the court going head-to-head with the Twins and sophomore Thomas Robinson every day.
"There's really so many great things to say about Kansas basketball and their reputation," he said. "Most importantly, their reputation with people of my size and position. Kind of looking back over the past decade, all the fours and forwards that have come through here and just had remarkable careers and went on to play in the NBA."
"They attributed a lot of that to Danny Manning and pretty much gave him the title of the best big man coach in the nation," Anderson continued. "And I can't say I argue with that too much. He's a legend."
While the visit was a resounding success on all fronts, the big senior left campus without pulling the trigger for the Jayhawks. An official visit to Kentucky is on the docket, as well as potential trips to Arizona and Florida to find out what each has to offer.
But one thing is for certain: the Jayhawks have thrown down a mighty big gauntlet in the battle for Anderson's services.
"The situation over here at Kansas is going to be tough to beat," he said. "I'll say that for sure. It's going to be tough to beat this, but I wanted to make sure that I explored the other options and made sure I made the right decisions, and just took a little more time with it."