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Looking for a breakout summer

Hoops player hopes for nothing but net — and a scholarship.

June 23, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

La Cañada resident McKay Anderson rarely takes center stage as a player on a La Verne Lutheran boys' basketball team, a team that boasts plenty of future NCAA Division I — and maybe even some NBA — talent.

However, plenty of eyes will be on Anderson when he competes in the Reebok Basketball Breakout Challenge, a NCAA evaluation camp, July 5-9 in Philadelphia. The event pits top high school players from around the nation in head-to-head competition and skills training as college scouts watch closely and evaluate athletes for potential scholarship offers.

"I just want to get some exposure and get a look from some different colleges, and get better as well," said Anderson, who had to earn his way to Philadelphia by competing against hundreds of the area's best players May 21 in the Reebok Headliner Los Angeles Tryout at the Players' Edge facility in Corona.

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The Breakout Challenge is a camp designed to give lesser-known players a level of exposure they might otherwise not receive. The camp's greatest success story is John Wall. He participated in the event four years ago as an unknown and came out of the camp as the No. 1 high school recruit in his class. Wall went on to be named the South Eastern Conference's Player of the Year out of the University of Kentucky and was selected by the Washington Wizards as the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick in 2010.

Eric Cooper, Anderson's coach at La Verne, said it's an honor for Anderson to participate in the Reebok Breakout Challenge and he's looking for him to have a breakout summer.

"The eyes have been opened a little bit," Cooper said. "He just needs to play hard all the time and play off of his instincts more. I am looking for him to be one of our key guys and top scorers next year."

Playing for La Verne, Anderson, a 6-foot 4-inch guard, was a part of the team that defeated La Cañada in the CIF State Division III Southern California Regional final championship game, 54-47, at the Galen Center on March 19. He didn't play in the game, but recorded valuable minutes and hit a big three-pointer in the Trojans' 64-59 victory against Bishop O'Dowd in the CIF State Division Championship at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento on March 26.

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