With the 2018-2019 season in the books, let’s take a few moments to look back at the performance of each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we’re at it, we’ll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We’ll run through roster in order of total minutes played going from lowest to highest, which means today we turn our attention to a low profile but important component of the team this past season......
Redshirt Junior - #2 - Guard/Forward - 6’5” - 210 pounds - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sacar Anim Traditional Stats
Sacar Anim Fancy Stats
** - denotes a top 500 national ranking per KenPom.com
His role in the offense will still be to create opportunities at the basket either by finishing at the rim or kicking the ball out for threes. His size and speed combination makes him a one-on-one nightmare and he’s a terrific cutter. With a pass-first point guard in Joseph Chartouny on the team, we could see a lot of backdoor cuts turning into easy buckets.
That size and speed combination was also very useful on the defensive end. During my offseason defensive scouting project, you all actually rated him as the best defender on the team mainly because of those reasons. He can guard multiple positions well, which is critical with the way Wojo tends to put out smaller lineups. The block and steal numbers aren’t going to pop out at you, but he doesn’t let his guy blow right by him.
I suspect that he, along with Joey Hauser, Jamal Cain and sprinkles of Theo John, will ultimately be the first guys off the bench. There’s a good chance that we see a defensive-minded lineup consisting of Chartouny/Elliott (eventually? maybe? please?)/Anim/One of the two Hausers/Heldt. That’s…a legitimately good defensive lineup that doesn’t sacrifice a lot on offense. It won’t happen much, but the guard options defensively this year should show a massive improvement.
Why You Should Get Excited
Pleasantly surprising performances following a stretch of failures:
-Matthew McConaughey at the beginning of the McConaissance (probably when he starred in Lincoln Lawyer. Could also be when he was the agent in Tropic Thunder. That’s such a great movie.)
-Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia!
-John Travolta in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
-David Schwimmer in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
-I would say Cuba Gooding Jr in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” since comedy works in threes and all, but the man was in Snow Dogs. Nothing could ever tarnish him after that.
-Sacar Anim’s late season three point shooting splurge
Anim’s overall three point shooting numbers last year really did stink. 8/34 looks like Ian Happ’s batting average, not a passable three point percentage. However, if you take out your magnifying glasses, you’ll notice he started the year 1-16. That is Significantly Less Great, so he ended the year making 7 of his 18 trey balls just to make me happy. Thanks, Sacar. Yes, that’s a really small sample, but a summer’s worth of reps could help him develop that shot into a legitimate weapon. Teams can never have enough shooters these days, and the more you have, the harder it is for the defense to cover everyone appropriately.
There is also the question of who will account for all of those Andrew Rowsey points. While Markus Howard and Sam Hauser will look to expand their roles as scorers, Anim will likely be that former role player who looks to turn himself into a primary option when he’s in. The minutes might be harder to come by this year, but his usage should see a sizable uptick when he does get playing time. If he proves himself to be up to the challenge and adds that extra dimension to an already elite offense, then I’ll probably just start laughing because Wojo is an offensive wizard.
Before the Greg Elliott re-injury, I worried about a logjam among the wing positions. I figured that Jamal Cain would likely play a lot fewer minutes than he would otherwise deserve to play and Anim would have to get used to a lesser role than he was used to last year. Now that the depth in that position is more “normal” with Elliott missing a good chunk, if not all, of the year, Sacar should expect to see a continuation of his expectations from last year.
Where I think Wojo might try to expand Anim’s role is as a ball handler when Chartouny is taking a break. I originally figured that role would be split between Elliott and Howard, but even if Greg plays this year I don’t see him taking on that role with the injury being to his hand and all. Those normally hold the basketballs, which is fairly important when you’re playing basketball.
Depending on if Markus wants to maintain his throne in the Primary Bucket Getter Kingdom, Anim could be the guy taking the ball up when Chartouny needs a breather. Howard’s value to this team will be greater if he’s playing off the ball and Anim has shown the ability to drive the ball and avoid turnovers at at least an average rate. Where this could go wrong is if Sacar isn’t able to prove himself as a distributor, which he would need to develop considering he was fifth on the team in assist rate last year. Anim doesn’t have the “Eff you” range of Andrew Rowsey, so if he gets thrown into a backup point guard role that he can’t manage then the offense has a lower floor.
Sacar Anim had a pretty great season in 2018-19. As the incomparable Ben Snider hoped for in the “Reasons to Get Excited” portion of Anim’s season preview, Anim continued his hot shooting jag at the end of last year all throughout this season. Anim managed to make 27 out of his 69 (nice) attempts to shoot 39% on the year, and that went up to 17-for-40 in conference play for 42.5%. By the end of the season, teams were forced to start closing out hard on Anim, which is saying something as he was never expected to be a real three-point threat during his time at Marquette.
Oddly enough, Anim’s two-point percentage dropped from 53% to 46%. I did not expect to see this when checking out his final season stats as I felt as if he was as good or better from two-point land. Anim was efficient in his spot-up shooting, in pick and roll, and cutting to the hoop, however, Anim only scored 43 points on 52 attempts in transition. In that scenario he was only in the 20thpercentile according to Synergy Sports. I wish I could tell you why he struggled in transition but at this point I can’t think of anything. If you have the answer to this vexing problem, please leave a comment to make us all smarter.
Anim has had a reputation as the best defender at Marquette and last season he did nothing to lose that reputation (although I believe Theo John did enough to steal that crown from him). Anim was tasked night in and night out with taking on the opposing team’s best guard and held his ground. Anim still ranked in the 74th percentile for points allowed (according to Synergy) which is pretty damn impressive while playing a BIG EAST schedule. Anim has never been a shot blocker nor a ballhawk and I do not expect him to add that to his game after four years in college. It appears to me that the Sacar we got on the defensive end will be the Sacar we get on defense next year and that is totally OK in my book.
Picking a best game of the year for Anim is a tough one. At first, I thought I would go with his Big East tournament game where he hit three of his four threes and scored 13 points. However, after looking through the catalogue of games it is clear his best game this season was the home win against Villanova on National Marquette Day. On that fateful Saturday Anim scored 18 points, shooting 6/7 from two and 2/3 from three and provided the only offense by a player over 6 feet tall on Marquette. In that game Anim also held Phil Booth to 19 points with an offensive rating of 104. This isn’t anything monumental, of course, but turning Booth from a great player (112 ORtg on the year per KenPom.com) to a good player was crucial to win that game. Without a fantastic effort from Anim, we lose that game and send a bunch of seniors (like me) home sad on their last National Marquette Day.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1-10
Sacar deserves a good rating this year. He fulfilled his role and beyond. Anim stayed steady on what he was good at and improved on what he struggled with. I’ll give Anim an 8 as he exceeded expectations and showed the ability to put the team on his back at times. For next year, I would like to see his ability distribute develop a bit as he only had a paltry 7.5% assist rate.