Hard work the ticket to KU for freshman guard Anrio Adams

Kansas University freshman guard Anrio Adams says he’s put in the work to overcome academic eligibility issues and is looking forward to showing the same dedication on the court at KU. Adams arrived on campus Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Anrio Adams’ high school coach has compared the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Kansas University freshman combo guard to Miami Heat phenom Dwyane Wade.

It’s a likening that Adams likes … a lot.

“When I was in high school for my senior year, I actually tried to copy some of his moves and I watched him a lot. That’s who I really like in the league, so …” Adams said with a smile during a Thursday media session in KU’s Hadl Auditorium.

Adams, the country’s No. 98-rated prospect out of Seattle’s Rainier Beach High who arrived on campus Wednesday for the second session of summer school, of course has a long way to go to rival the accomplishments of the powerful, 6-4, 220-pound, 30-year-old, two-time NBA champion Wade.

Yet those in the know say he has the tools to be a special player.

“I really think Anrio … based on what we’ve been told and what we’ve seen, has a chance to be one of the very best ones to come out of there,” KU coach Bill Self said of Rainier Beach — a school that has produced Ryan Anderson, Doug Christie, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Lodrick Stewart, plus former KU players Rodrick Stewart and C.J. Giles.

“He can handle like a one (point guard). He can score like a two (shooting guard),” Self added of Adams, who averaged 21.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds a game for last year’s 27-3 state champs.

“His mindset will be more to score. He’s a really good athlete. I think he’ll give us an element of toughness, too. He’s a good player. He’s capable of being an elite guard,” Self added.

Adams, the Associated Press Class 3A player of the year in the state of Washington who said he’ll play “whatever position the coach needs me to,” is a good buddy of ex-Jayhawk Stewart.

Stewart’s dad, Bull, in fact, is Adams’ godfather.

“I’ve known him since I was in fifth grade,” Adams said of Rodrick.

“I was following them (Jayhawks) since my freshman year in 2009. That’s when they started recruiting me a little, showing me a little bit of attention. Rodrick was telling me a little about it — that it (Lawrence) is a family based city and basketball — you really can’t beat it. It’s a basketball state. This is where I wanted to be,” Adams added.

Adams committed to KU back on Nov. 19.

“A lot of schools were involved in the Pac-12,” he said. “I felt like I was a little bigger than the Pac-12. I didn’t really want to stay home.”

Before reporting to KU, he had to first become academically eligible, which entailed taking the ACT test a couple times in the past couple months. It’s believed Adams’ test scores and core course grades will qualify him for a scholarship, however he will have to be given the OK (like all players) by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

While awaiting a ruling, he’s clear for full participation with the KU team, including playing on the upcoming European tour.

“Hard work and dedication. It was on me if I wanted to be here or not. So I worked as hard as I could,” Adams said. “The toughest part for me was politics. A lot of people that shake your hand you don’t know are working against you. I didn’t realize it until I went back home (to Seattle after short stay at St. Pat’s in New Jersey) that was playing against me. That was my hardest thing.”

He’s still waiting on some academic materials from Seattle’s Franklin High, which he attended two years before moving on to Seattle Garfield, then on to Rainier Beach.

“He has gone as far as everybody else from an eligibility standpoint. Whether or not they (Clearinghouse) put the final stamp on him or not remains to be seen. They have all the information. All indications are he will be cleared and all that stuff,” Self said.

“I’m really proud of him of how hard he worked in getting some things done late. With all the stuff we went through last year (eligibility cases of Ben McLemore, Jamari Traylor and Braeden Anderson), we weren’t going to bring him here until we were totally confident he’d done everything. If he were to come here and find out there’s a problem, you can’t go back to fix it. If he never got here, you can go back and fix it. We’ve been very deliberate on him coming to make sure he dotted all his I’s and crossed his T’s. I feel good about that.”

Adams — he prefers the name Rio over Anrio — said he’s just happy to be here with KU’s other five scholarship freshmen, two walk-ons and two red-shirt freshmen.

“I put a lot of emotion in the game because this is what I want. I love this game. It’s gotten me this far. I’m hoping it continues to let me go further from here,” Adams said, noting he’s been “taking time to make sure I’m getting better at the things I’m not good at.”

Those things? “My range. My shot, defense. College level is a lot bigger than high school,” he noted.

Of Adams, Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea noted: “Anrio’s best basketball is ahead of him. He has a ton of talent and with him going to KU and listening to coach Self and the coaching staff, the sky is the limit.”