There were two other players at Juan Anderson’s position, and both had more hype coming into the season.
Jamil Wilson was billed as a candidate to be Marquette’s leading scorer in his redshirt junior season, and head coach Buzz Williams said Steve Taylor Jr. could be the best high school player he’s recruited as the Golden Eagles’ head coach.
People expected Anderson to be a role player this season, his first full campaign in college. He was suspended for the first three games of last season, and this past offseason underwent shoulder surgery. Anderson was healthy as the start of this season, and we would finally be able to see just what he brought to the table.
So how’d it go?
Stats: 2.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 33% FG, 28.6% on three-point shots, 13.0 minutes per game
Anderson started every game after the Golden Eagles’ loss to Butler in Maui for a couple reasons, primarily Wilson’s struggles in the starting line-up. While Anderson started the game, Wilson played the majority of the minutes at forward – 25.2 per game.
Offensively, Anderson’s deficiencies were on display. He is not the best shooter from the outside, and is not used to playing in the post. He rarely caught the ball in an attacking position, unless it was out on the perimeter.
There were plenty of times that fans still said “Wow” over a play by Anderson, though. He is certainly willing to throw his body all over the court. I don’t necessarily think that other players hustle more than others, as that may be an insult to someone’s effort. But, there’s something about Anderson that makes it seem like he hustles more on the court. He has great instincts, and does a lot of little things very well.
On the road against Pittsburgh, Anderson kept the Golden Eagles afloat in the first half. In the second half and overtime Wilson got the majority of the minutes at forward, but Anderson had as good of a half as he’s had at Marquette in the first.
In 12 first half minutes, he scored eight points – including Marquette’s first five of the game – and grabbed three rebounds, going 2 of 3 from the field and 2 of 2 from the line.
Anderson did pick up two fouls in the first half, which limited his playing time a bit, but he was what his coach wanted at the start to get Marquette going – a sparkplug. His energy was evident early on, and Anderson’s first half against Pittsburgh was one that people should look at when wondering why he was in the starting line-up.
Anderson saw his minutes decrease greatly when Wilson was at his best. Because of the latter’s inconsistency, Anderson ended up playing at least double-digit minutes in 27 of Marquette’s 35 games.
In the Golden Eagles’ last three games of the season, though, Anderson played a combined 19 minutes. Wilson found his groove as March came along, and he needed to be on the court as much as possible during the NCAA Tournament.
Because Wilson’s offensive skillset is so greater than Anderson, the latter failed to see the minutes he would have hoped in the “Big Dance.”
Next season, minutes might become more difficult to come by for Anderson. With Taylor Jr. and Wilson coming back and junior college transfer Jameel McKay coming to the program, Marquette’s depth at forward is going to be very impressive.
All three of those other players have impressive offensive ability, which Anderson doesn’t. There is a possibility that could be what makes the Oakland native the odd man out of the four likely forwards for the Golden Eagles.
His intangibles are impressive, though. Anderson always tends to come up with a loose ball and a rebound in a scrum of players. Those pesky little skills can only do so much, though. Replicating his 13.0 minutes per game might be difficult for Anderson next season.