Marquette Men’s Basketball: Juan Anderson brings versatility

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Juan Anderson gets introduced to the crowd at Marquette Madness. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/aaron.ledesma@marquette.edu

Not too many basketball recruits from sunny Oakland, Calif., wind up playing in Milwaukee. But for freshman Juan Anderson, the opportunity to play at Marquette was too great to pass up.

The 6-foot-6 wing ultimately chose the Golden Eagles over Arizona State and Oregon, citing his relationship with the coaches and players he built during his official visit.

“When I came on my visit, I felt good about it,” Anderson said. “I felt like this was the place for me.”

What coach Buzz Williams is looking for in a recruit also made Marquette the right place. Anderson brings a plethora of different skills to the Golden Eagles. He averaged 16.6 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game his senior season at Castro Valley High School, showing off an ability to score, rebound, pass and defend that will help him as a “switchable” in Williams’ rotation.

Anderson likely will be competing with sophomore Jamail Jones for minutes on the wing behind redshirt sophomore Jamil Wilson. The two match up against each other in practice and have similar body types and skill sets.

But through the competition, Anderson said Jones has been the teammate working with him most to improve his game in preparation for the Big East season.

“He talks to me a lot,” Anderson said. “He tells me what I need to work on. He’s been here, he has some college experience. We go hard at each other (in practice), and he lets me know what I’m doing wrong. He points out particulars so I can stay on top of it.”

Jones struggled to acclimate early in the season last year and said he is showing Anderson the way so that the freshman can transition better when things get tough.

“I look at Juan and I see myself,” Jones said. “Playing in the same system with coach Buzz, I don’t want to see him go through the same things I went through last year. So any opportunity that I have, I coach him up and make sure he’s doing things right. I look at him as a little brother, and I’m going to take care of him.”

Anderson said he expects to see the majority of his minutes at small forward, but said he can guard the two and four positions, if needed.

Senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom is already seeing Anderson’s hard work and focus pay off. He also said Anderson’s versatility is evident.

“Juan is one hard rebounder,” Johnson-Odom said. “He gets a lot of offensive rebounds. He’s a great defender, and he can get to the rim and dish the ball off. I think Juan’s going to be a tremendous player.”

With such a talented and deep roster, breaking the rotation won’t be easy for Anderson. But thanks to the help from Jones and a wide variety of skills, he knows what he will have to do in order to have a shot.

“You have to bring it every day,” Anderson said. “You can’t have any lapses or take any plays off and if you do, you get exploited. So the biggest thing is staying consistent.”

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