USC Men's Basketball

‘I had to make the best decision for me.’ Trey Anderson’s peculiar route to USC basketball

Early in Trey Anderson’s season at Woodstock (Conn.) Academy, the 6-foot-7 guard suffered a minor concussion. No big deal, Anderson thought, he’d rest for a bit and get back out there, gaining the necessary game reps before starting a college career at South Carolina.

Except when Anderson came off the injured list, he was being replaced in bulk. Woodstock Centaurs were dropping all around him.

“Two of my other teammates got a concussion in one game,” Anderson said. “A couple players were hurting their ankles, knees. It was just getting a little out of hand. I didn’t want to be the next one.

“I didn’t want to have a serious injury that would set me back.”

So he left. Sometime in February, a month before season’s end, Anderson packed his things and moved back to his native San Diego. He’s been there since, working on his game through individual workouts. He’ll come east again in the coming weeks to enroll at USC and begin life as a Gamecock.

The Woodstock departure came with the blessing of his then-coach, Tony Bergeron, and his future coach, Frank Martin.

“It was definitely tough,” Anderson told The State. “Having to leave my team, that’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. I had to make the best decision for me at the end of the day.”

Anderson graduated from Mater Dei Catholic (Calif.) High School in 2018 before taking a post-grad year at Woodstock. The move was made to attract more looks from Division I programs. All academic requirements, from an NCAA standpoint, were met in his first semester at Woodstock. He’s a full qualifier for South Carolina.

Martin’s son, Brandon, graduated from Cardinal Newman, took a year at St. Thomas More (Conn.) and then signed with USC Upstate.

“It didn’t bother me,” Martin said. “He’s already graduated. It’s no different than my son. My son went to prep school because he had a dream of playing Division I basketball. Trey went to prep school because he dreamed of playing at a big school. And he didn’t leave people hanging. They had 22 players on their team up there at Woodstock. So it’s not like he walked away and left a bunch of people laying around. They have plenty of guys.

“And the school fulfilled its part. He fulfilled his part as far as the school allowing him to earn a scholarship to a big school, which is what his dream was.”

Anderson committed to the Gamecocks in November with the reputation of being a deadeye shooter. That skill — among others — continues to be perfected with Joel Jones. Jones, who played at Sacramento State before a 14-year professional career overseas, trains Anderson three times a week at Southwestern College in the San Diego area.

“He told me he wanted to strengthen his weaknesses, so we’ve been doing a lot of that,” Jones said. “Really strict on detail and getting it right. No breaks during. I want him to make mistakes when he’s tired and kind of fight through.

“Shooting off the dribble, his handle, getting to the basket, finishing at the basket, those are things he likes to work on. So when he said that, I said, ‘Let’s go.’”

Anderson works with a strength and conditioning coach in the mornings before hitting the gym with Jones in the afternoons and evenings.

“I’ve definitely improved,” Anderson said. “I still have a lot to work on, but I definitely think my handle, my shooting off the dribble’s gotten better. But there’s still of course a lot of room for improvement.”

Added Jones: “Trey works extremely hard. No excuses. If he does make a mistake or things don’t go the way he wants them to go, his effort is always there. Very coachable. Very respectful. Soft-spoken. Looks at you when you’re talking to him. He’s just a pro, man. His attitude, he’s working towards being a pro on the court.”

Anderson averaged around 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Woodstock. He was one of 10 Centaurs to sign with a Division I program.

South Carolina’s 2019 recruiting class

G Trae Hannibal (Hartsville, S.C.)

G Trey Anderson (San Diego, Calif.)

F Jalyn McCreary (Marietta, Ga.)

F Micaiah Henry (Tennessee Tech)*

C Wildens Leveque (Brockton, Mass.)

*graduate transfer

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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