COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Kiyan Anthony, the son of 19-year NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony, is coming off a breakout summer after playing up a division in the 17-under group during Nike’s Peach Jam. This past weekend, the 6-foot-4 point guard was one of 84 high school players invited to participate in the USA Basketball minicamp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Carmelo and La La Anthony, Kiyan’s mom, sat on the sideline, watching their son compete against the top high school players in the country. Carmelo knows his way around this particular gym and the campus after first participating at the same camp in 2001 as a high school junior, representing Team USA in four Olympic Games and winning three gold medals.
“It really is a full-circle moment,” Kiyan told Yahoo Sports. “I remember going to London for the Olympics and now me being here and having a chance to go overseas [to represent USA in the 17-under FIBA World Cup next summer], we have a chance to make history. Even me being here for the minicamp, he was here 20-plus years ago, so it’s just such a blessing.”
There were two separate gyms and two groups with almost 100 players in attendance. Carmelo not only watched his son compete in the “Blue” group, but he also watched and sometimes gave advice to the players in the “Red” group.
“Thinking back to 2001 when I was on this court starting out as a 15, 16-year-old kid, the history I have with USA Basketball and Team USA, it brings it back full circle,” Carmelo said, via the USA Basketball Junior National Teams’ social media account. “I can sit on the other side and be a father, be a parent and just encourage the kids. I’m a fan of a lot of these kids anyway. I’m around them, I’m with them, I talk to them, we see each other during the summer. To be here now and see this come to fruition at USA Basketball, the junior teams, and just getting all the kids together, training and working hard. This is the best. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Kiyan, a 16-year-old high school junior, competed in five different training sessions over the course of three days in front of several NBA scouts and executives who are getting early eyes on the young talent coming up.
“I’m just hoping to show NBA scouts that are here continued growth to my overall game,” Kiyan said. “I just turned 16 and I was playing up in the 17-under division at Peach Jam. I played well and just to look over at the sidelines and see 30 or so NBA scouts and college coaches watching me was crazy.”
Kiyan excelled in the open court and has a second burst in transition that’s hard to guard. He has an improved read off the pick-and-roll and if the defense slips and goes under, he’ll get his shot off. Kiyan used his added length to his advantage off the mismatch and made good reads in the lane.
Carmelo still works out with longtime NBA trainer Chris Brickley and this past summer, Kiyan joined the rigorous training sessions with his dad.
“He doesn’t go easy on me,” Kiyan said of those workouts. “If I were to mess up, he’ll get on me. He just wants me to be great and I don’t take it personal or anything like that. When we start to play one-on-one, he’ll guard me real aggressive just so I can feel what the next-level strength is like. He was in the league for 20 years so he goes hard against me just so I can feel the forearm, how strong he is with the ball, just so I can be ready.”
On the recruitment front, Kiyan already holds several offers and has scheduled two visits this fall to Florida State and Syracuse, where his dad won a national championship in 2003.
“The whole recruiting process is good and my options are still all the way open,” Kiyan said. “I feel like everyone does think I’m going to go to Syracuse, but that’s not the case. Syracuse is definitely an option and a school I like, but I’m going to go to the best place for me.”
Kiyan said he plans on focusing on his high school season at Long Island Lutheran (New York) once the season starts in November before he takes any other college visits. Michigan and Indiana are two other schools he plans to visit at some point.
Kiyan is one of several players with a familiar last name that NBA fans will recognize as he navigates his way through his high school career. At the USA Basketball minicamp alone there were four other players with fathers who played in the NBA: Tajh Ariza (dad, Trevor Ariza), Alijah Arenas (dad, Gilbert Arenas), Jermaine O’Neal Jr. (dad, Jermaine O’Neal) and Dylan Harper (dad, Ron Harper).
Cameron and Cayden Boozer (dad, Carlos Boozer) won a gold medal for Team USA at the FIBA U16 Americas Championship over the summer and will play alongside Jase and Jaxon Richardson (dad, Jason Richardson) this high school season at Christopher Columbus High School (Miami). Bryce James (dad, LeBron James) was invited to participate at the minicamp this past weekend but canceled and instead took a visit to Ohio State where he received an offer.
“We all have the blueprint on how to get to the league and how to be a successful player,” Tajh Ariza told Yahoo Sports. “Any time I can get advice or feedback from my dad, from LeBron, Carmelo, I’m going to soak in all the information I can.”
Kiyan continues to make a name for himself and get better every time he hits the court. Fans, college coaches and NBA scouts will initially be drawn to him because of his last name, but at a young age, he’s proving he belongs on the court with some of the best players in the country.
Source: Yahoo Sports