It hasn't been a fairy tail sophomore season so far for Anthony Wroten Jr. The super talent from Seattle made national headlines just before the beginning of the season when he was declared ineligible for play with his Garfield High School team due to a residency discrepancy. Because of that Wroten missed the beginning of his team's season, but he returned to the court on Tuesday night against Duncanville High School.
As one of the premier players in the 2011 class, Wroten has a lot of pressure and attention heaped upon his shoulders. Unfortunately for Wroten some of that attention came from the Seattle Public School System. When they declared him ineligible to start the year it crushed the youngster, but finally due to a court injunction and a clarification, Wroten got on the court on Tuesday night.
"It's been hard," said Wroten about the situation surrounding his eligibility. "Yesterday I was told I couldn't play, and then today five minutes before the game I'm back on the court. It has just been crazy."
The reason things have been so crazy is because Wroten came to Muncie, Indiana thinking he was good to play due to a court injunction, but only minutes before Monday night's game against Lawrence North High School, Garfield High School officials informed Wroten and head coach Ed Haskins that his star wasn't eligible, and that the injunction wouldn't go into effect for another week.
According to Haskins, the judge clarified his ruling, and it happened just in time for Wroten.
"Basically the judge clarified the ruling and said he was ready immediately," said Haskins.
Haskins continued, "About 30 minutes before the game. It was just like yesterday but in reverse."
For his first game of the season Wroten was solid. He was only 7-24 from the field, but he led his team in points with 19, rebounds with eight, assists with six and blocks with three.
About Wroten's performance, Haskins said, "It was his first game back. He played the whole game, he got tired in spots but he played through it. He showed the heart of a champion in the fourth quarter."
Wroten admitted he was rusty, but just tried to battle through things. "It was tough. This was my first game of the season. I was a little rusty. I missed a lot of layups, was falling on the ground, couldn't get my shot going, so I just tried to get everyone involved."
With his shot not falling, Wroten gave it to his teammates, specifically his cousin De'Andre Taylor. With Garfield trailing by two and only seconds remaining, Wroten drove the left wing and hit Taylor with his feet set for the game winning three to give the Bulldogs a 57-56 win.
About that, Wroten said, "I want to get everybody the ball. It isn't all about me. I like to pass the ball. On the last play of the game as soon as I got the ball I said we weren't going for the tie, we were going for the win. I just drove and passed it to (Taylor), and I knew it was going in."
With Wroten back on the floor, and his eligibility questions seemingly answered, the topic of recruiting is going to again get a lot of focus with Wroten. While many are wondering where Wroten is leaning or where he might end up, that isn't one of Wroten's priorities at the moment.
In fact Wroten can barely name who is recruiting him. "I am hearing from a lot of schools. I don't even know all of them. St. John's, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, it changes every week. North Carolina and all that."
Wroten quickly added, "I am far from the recruiting process right now."
While Wroten is now on the floor where he belongs, there is one final hurdle to making things permanent according to Coach Haskins. "He is good until January 21, and then they have a hearing. We have that hearing on the 21st, and I am fully confident."