Anson Winder was hoping all along he would be able to play major college basketball close to home.
So when Brigham Young extended a scholarship offer to the Bishop Gorman senior guard in early August, the Cougars took an early lead in the recruiting race.
“They were on top of my list from the get-go,” Winder said.
Winder gave an oral commitment to BYU on Wednesday, choosing the Cougars over offers from UNR and Idaho. He took official recruiting visits to all three schools, including BYU the weekend of Oct. 24.
“The visit was excellent,” Winder said. “The team was really close. They get the most out of their players.”
Oral commitments are non-binding. Players can’t officially sign until Nov. 11.
The 6-foot-3-inch Winder averaged 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds as a junior, helping Gorman to a 28-5 record and the Class 4A state title.
“We’re excited for Anson,” said Gorman coach Grant Rice, the brother of BYU associate head coach Dave Rice. “It’s a great fit for him. The up-tempo style is going to fit his game.”
Winder said BYU envisions him beginning his career with the Cougars as a shooting guard before eventually moving to the point.
Grant Rice said Winder, who played some in the post as a junior, will play mostly on the wing this season.
“That’s helped him with his strength,” Grant Rice said of Winder playing in the paint.
Winder’s stock soared after starring on the summer circuit, where he led Las Vegas-based Triple Double Elite to the 17U Platinum Bracket second round of the StarVision Sports Center Stage Tournament.
“I think his decision is a good decision,” Triple Double Elite coach Tyrell Jamerson said. “He’ll be set for life even without basketball. As far as basketball, his upside is tremendous.”
Jamerson, a former UNLV guard, said Winder has gone from relative unknown to a rising star on the recruiting scene in the past year.
“It’s still like a dream,” Jamerson said. “A year ago, he had no looks. It became a whirlwind.”
Winder, whose first offer came from Idaho in late July, said his play over the summer made a difference.
“This summer was great,” he said. “Going in, my dad, coach Rice and coach Tyrell said to play my game, and it helped a lot.”
Winder will join two players at BYU with Las Vegas ties. BYU senior swingman Jonathan Tavernari played at Gorman, and sophomore guard Michael Loyd is from Palo Verde.
Also Wednesday, Grant Rice said Gorman senior point guard Johnathan Loyd, Michael Loyd’s younger brother, will wait to make his college decision until after the season.
Johnathan Loyd has offers from Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Northern Arizona, Oakland and Southern Methodist, Rice said.
The Gaels also will return swingman Shabazz Muhammad, a sophomore who Rivals.com rates with five stars.
“The sky’s the limit for this team,” Winder said. “We have all the pieces. We just have to put it together.”