Yor Anei hasn’t even been at Lee’s Summit West for a semester and he has yet to compete in a Titans’ uniform, but he’s already a big man on campus.
“I have made a lot of friends really easy,” Anei said. “Within my first two weeks here, I’ve got to know a lot of people.”
Part of that comes from being 6 feet, 11 inches tall and towering over every other student in the building.
Perhaps an even bigger part stems from Anei’s potential on the basketball court — potential that caught the eye of recruiters at Oklahoma State, the school with which Anei signed a letter of intent Wednesday during a ceremony at the school.
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The Cowboys saw what Anei could do at Shawnee Mission South, where he played last year and became regarded as one of the top players in Kansas. But Anei said things weren’t working out for him there, especially academically, and he felt he needed a change.
Anei played on the same AAU team with West senior Christian Bishop, and the two became friends. Bishop’s parents agreed to become Anei’s legal guardians and he moved in with the family before the school year began.
“Christian has a very loving family and they basically invited me into their family and helped me with school,” Anei said. “That’s how I wound up here. It was better for me academically to be here than there.”
The move also gives Anei the opportunity to play with a West team that returns three starters from last season’s 26-3 Class 5 state finalists.
He should give the Titans another strong inside presence along with the 6-7 Bishop, who signed Wednesday with Creighton.
“I think it’s a circumstance that’s obviously very beneficial for both parties,” West coach Michael Schieber said. “My goal is for him to have success and for us to have success and, hopefully, we’ll work together and get there.”
Anei was the first player signed by new Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton, and he’s likely to see playing time right away with the Cowboys next season.
That was a big selling point for Anei, who chose Oklahoma State over his other top choices: Arkansas, Oregon State, Southern Utah and Southern Illinois.
He also appreciated the attention he received from the Cowboys’ staff.
“They were the school showing the most love,” said Anei, a Rivals three-star prospect. “They would text me every day, call me every day, make sure that I knew I was a priority for them. When I was on my visit down there, they treated me with so much love. It felt like I was at home.”
Home for now is Lee’s Summit West, and Anei wants nothing more than to make his one and only season with the Titans a success.
“I’m looking for the greatest season we can have,” Anei said. “Hopefully, we can go undefeated and win a state championship. That’s my mindset for the whole year.”