Analysis: A closer look at West Virginia commit Amani Hansberry

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On Sunday, the West Virginia men’s basketball program gained a pair of commitments following new WVU assistant Chester Frazier from the Illinois program. Here, we’ll take a look at one of those players, Amani Hansberry.

Hansberry was a four-star recruit out of high school, ranked 61st-nationally and the top player in the state of Maryland in the Class of 2023 by 247Sports.

As a senior, Hansberry averaged 20.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game as Mount St. Joseph (MD) finished the season with an excellent 33-6 record and captured both the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association ‘A’ Conference Championship and Baltimore Catholic League Championship.

Last season at Illinois, Hansberry saw limited action, playing in 19 contests and averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds while seeing 7.5 minutes per game. Despite having a minor role as a true freshman in an older lineup for Illinois and missing a stretch of action in conference play due to back spasms, Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood had high praise for Hansberry throughout the season. 

“He does everything right. He’s a great listener — he’s not a good listener — he’s a great listener,” Underwood said. “He does everything we ask him to do, and then he does that with kind of a nastiness, and I say that in a really good way. There’s a physicality about him, there’s a toughness about him, he plays with great edge and he’s super, super competitive. We needed that. We still need that. He doesn’t ever play out of himself, out of what he’s capable of. For a freshman, he plays the game pretty slow mentally, and that’s a good thing. High IQ and he does what he’s supposed to do and he does it at a really competitive, highly-charged level.”

With limited film to watch on Hansberry from his freshman season due to his smaller role on the lineup, he still shines as a potential playmaker in his highlights. Hansberry is a very gritty player who excels in creating second-chance opportunities -- on tape, you can watch his toughness manifest in an aggressive attitude when rebounding on the offensive end of the floor. 

Hansberry also finds a variety of ways to get open on the floor -- most of his highlights show him slipping away from defenders to earn easy scoring opportunities via assists from penetrating teammates. Statistically, Hansberry also appears to understand how to take care of the ball, only registering two turnovers in over 140 minutes of play on the season.

“I’m very competitive. I want to do everything I can do to win; whether it’s get offensive rebounds, dive on the floor for a loose ball, hit an open shot, just be a leader on the court,” Hansberry said in an interview this past season. “That’s really what I think are some of my bigger values and what I can bring to the team and program.”

A 6-foot 8-inch forward with three years of eligibility left, Hansberry offers a ton of room for development under DeVries, and an established relationship with one member of the coaching staff -- he was primarily recruited by Frazier at Illinois. On a depleted roster that currently lacks a definitive big man, expect Hansberry to make an immediate impact in the lineup next season and to potentially develop into the program’s star player if he sticks around for multiple seasons.