Marquette Wire

Sacar Anim builds confidence in offensive ability

Redshirt+sophomore+Sacar+Anim+has+scored+in+double+figures+in+six+of+the+last+eight+games.
Redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games.

Redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games.

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Following Marquette’s 100-90 loss to No. 3 Villanova in early January, the talk after the game focused on Markus Howard, who dropped 37 points.

But away from the spotlight, redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim, collected 14 points, three rebounds and two assists on the road against arguably the best college basketball team in the country. That performance gave him confidence in his ability to attack the rim — something he hadn’t felt yet this season.

“That one game, that breakout game you get that confidence and you know you can do it,” Anim said. “So, you go out there and just keep it rolling.”

That confidence has helped Anim become a steady driving threat for a Marquette team that has created its identity from shooting 3-pointers.

Before redshirting last season, Anim was pretty much a non-factor  in his freshman campaign, averaging just five minutes per game.

“Really, (Anim) is a freshman, too,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I mean we are not talking about a guy who played much the year he didn’t redshirt here.”

After not seeing any game action for a whole year, Anim needed some time to feel comfortable on the court.

“It’s a great conference, so I feel like I was just getting my feet wet at the beginning of the season,” Anim said.  “I’m just really trying to get used to things. My coaches and my teammates instill a lot of confidence in me while I play. They know what I’m capable of. My supporting cast is giving me confidence to go out there and do what I do.”

Anim’s perimeter-heavy supporting cast has helped his offensive game become more successful. Sharpshooting from senior Andrew Rowsey and sophomores Howard and Sam Hauser draw defenses out to the perimeter, which creates driving lanes for Anim.

“When I drive, they are not going to help off those guys,” Anim said. “Those guys shoot 50 percent from three … That opens up things for me. I’m just playing one-on-one out there. I get to play my game, slash and get to the rim like I do best.”

Anim bulked up over his redshirt season, which has helped him drive even more effectively. He put on five pounds of muscle since his year off, increasing his weight from 205 pounds to 210.

“The smaller guys struggle, especially when I get up into them. Just driving and finishing through contact,” Anim said. “That is the main thing.”

As the season has worn on, Anim’s scoring totals have only increased. In six of the last eight games, Anim has had double-digit point totals. His most impressive offensive performance was on Feb. 17, when he had a career-high 26-points in Marquette’s road victory over Creighton with Markus Howard on the bench.

“He’s being more aggressive … In the last six or seven games, he’s averaged double figures for us,” Wojo said. “This is not just the last two games … Sacar is a good player, and I think he is gaining more confidence by the day and has really stepped up for us in a number of ways.”

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