Marquette Wire

Anim expects to see increased role this season

Sacar Anim prepares to attempt a dunk at Marquette Madness.

Sacar Anim prepares to attempt a dunk at Marquette Madness.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Sacar Anim prepares to attempt a dunk at Marquette Madness.

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Men’s basketball benefited from its added depth last season, often employing a nine-man rotation. That was a positive development for most people, but not for 6-foot-5 wing Sacar Anim, who likely would not have received any playing time. Instead of wasting a year of eligibility, Anim redshirted.

After sitting out last season, he is thrilled to get back on the big stage.“It’s definitely going to be a special night when I get to go out there and play again,” Anim said.

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski said the year off has turned Anim into a better player. “I thought Sacar had a great redshirt year,” Wojo said. “He has gotten stronger, more skilled and has really attacked it this past year.”

Prior to last season, Anim hardly saw any action as a freshman, appearing in 17 total games during the 2014–’15 season and averaged just under five minutes of action per game.

That’s a far cry from Anim’s high school years, when he was one of the most accomplished players in all of Minnesota. During his senior season at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Anim was named the Associated Press Player of the Year for the state. He also led the Islanders to their fourth consecutive state title that same year by averaging 25 points per game and eight rebounds per game.

Anim’s length and athletic ability have always allowed him to defend at a high level, but his offensive skills were the main beneficiary of his year away from regulation basketball.

“I have been working a lot on my ball handling and outside shot,” Anim said. “I have been improving my overall shot-making and decision-making abilities as well.”

Although his improvements on offense may provide a boost, Anim’s defense will determine how much playing time he’ll receive this season. Last year, the Golden Eagles ranked second-to-last in the BIG EAST in points allowed per game. If Anim can change that, it’ll be a greater contribution than any improvements he made on offense.

“I definitely think myself along with the freshman can help us a lot defensively,” Anim said. “I’m going to try and bring it every night, and defend some of the best players out there so we can have a better chance to win.”

Wojo holds Anim’s defensive ability in high regard, adding that he might be the team’s best perimeter defender. “Obviously that is an area we have pinpointed where we need to be better as a team,” Wojo said.

Anim’s increase in minutes is part of a larger trend for Marquette: going from small-ball to a bigger lineup. Last year, fellow wing player Sam Hauser would often have to play a nominal center position because of Wojo’s desire to play faster and the team’s lack of depth down low. Now that Marquette has frontcourt depth, Anim and the other wings are free to play their natural roles.

“I will definitely be playing more at the guard position this year,” Anim said. “My first year I played more of the (power forward) position. Now I will be playing more of my natural position at the two or the three.”

No matter where he is on the court or for how long, Anim said that he wants to be the team’s “energizer” this year. With a difficult non-conference slate and an even more harrowing BIG EAST schedule looming, Marquette will need every bit of energy that Anim has to give.

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About the Writer
Chris Reisner, Sports Producer

Chris Reisner is a junior at Marquette from Brookfield, WI. As sports producer he puts together a weekly television show, creates print and video content...

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