Juan Anderson had a huge smile on his face Sunday evening in the media room following Marquette’s 84-63 win over Colgate. And why wouldn’t he?
The sophomore forward was one point and one rebound away from a double-double after his first extended minutes since he came to Marquette.
Anderson appeared in just 21 games last year, scoring 16 points while dealing with a shoulder injury that required him to have surgery in May. He also sat out the first three games due to an NCAA suspension. Anderson was supposed to miss up to six months because of the surgery, but he was ready to go Sunday.
The 6-foot-6 Anderson dropped in nine points and nine rebounds, both new career highs.
“It was tough sitting out after surgery, so I had a bunch of jitters going out there, but I loosened up after a little bit,” Anderson said. “It was really nice to get out there. I feel like I really picked up a rhythm.”
Anderson admitted he hadn’t seen much action since high school and was pleased he was able to contribute substantially for the first time at Marquette.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing too much last year, but now being experienced a little bit, it will definitely come a lot easier,” Anderson said.
Coach Buzz Williams was happy to see Anderson finally show glimpses of his potential and hopes Anderson will keep contributing to the team this year.
“His energy level is what helps us,” Williams said. “He had energy last year; he just didn’t have purpose to his energy. I think now he better understands how to play with that energy and have purpose in what he’s doing.”
The Oakland, Calif., native averaged 4.9 minutes per game last year, but Sunday he played 21 minutes and contributed two assists, two steals and a block.
Anderson appeared off the bench ahead of freshman forward Steve Taylor and freshman guard Jamal Ferguson, which was a surprise to many.
“I’ve been telling him the last few weeks that he needs to put me in a position where I can’t keep him off the floor, and the way he’s going to do that is by doing the things he did today,” Williams said. “He was kind of all over the stat sheet. I’m very pleased with him.”
Anderson was ranked No. 61 in the country by Rivals.com of all 2011 recruits and averaged 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game his senior year at Castro Valley High School. He just needs consistent minutes and a chance to get on the court regularly.
“Any player needs consistency,” Williams said. “Your consistency has to be derived from your energy from within how we play. We’re trying to overwhelm you with how hard we play and overwhelm with our energy.
“You will know as time goes along how many minutes guys are going to play because how we play is how we’ve played however many games we’ve been here.”
Anderson also knocked down a three, which Williams said the team would probably do more than one might think.
“We have some sort of post presence,” Williams said. “The ball will not stick the way it would in DJO (Darius Johnson-Odom) or Jae’s (Crowder) hands. (The ball) normally does stick when you’re a really good player and you know that you can score.”