If you've been around Anonymous Eagle long enough, you've noticed our yearly player preview series for men's basketball. In the past, we've gone with a concept of "Minimum Expectations/In Our Wildest Dreams/In Our Worst Nightmare" model for what the baseline for each player is for the coming season, plus where we think they could achieve or lag behind.
With new head coach Steve Wojciechowski running the show, things get a little complicated. It's hard to have minimum expectations for each player when we really don't know how Wojo will see fit to use them in the system that he's running... which we also don't know a lot about at this point.
So we're changing the system up. We're deploying a new set of criteria to preview each player:
- What I Think We'll See
- What I Want To See
- What I Don't Want To See
It's a little more open ended, so there's a bit more freedom to explore what we're thinking about each guy. This might stick around going forward, so be sure to either email us - email@example.com - or comment on the posts to let us know what you think.
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After an offseason where he announced his intention to leave the program, but was welcomed back, Juan Anderson essentially repeated his sophomore year. Minutes were slightly up, points were slightly up, rebounds were slightly up, but it's all essentially just the same season. Yeah, he started a bunch of games, but he was never a key component of what Marquette was doing. To wit: while he's the second to last Player Preview because we're organizing by average minutes per game, but it's a wide gap between Anderson's 13.5 per game and the 30.8 per game that Derrick Wilson played. (Spoiler alert on tomorrow's Preview, I guess.)
Now, three years after being a top 100 recruit and never living up to the hype/getting a chance to live up to the hype, Anderson has a new lease on his collegiate career. Due to the roster size, new head coach Steve Wojciechowski is going to need quality minutes from Anderson, just like he needs them from everyone else on the roster.
What I Think We'll See
Ok, let's talk about what Juan Anderson did against Wisconsin Lutheran. 27 points, eight rebounds, five steals, an assist, and a block. Other than the assist and the block, and maybe the rebounds, I'll wager that Anderson doesn't match those stats again this season. Here's the thing about those points: Eight of Anderson's baskets (17 points worth) came either directly on fast breaks or on secondary attacks (12 seconds or less) on either WLC misses or turnovers. The other makes: a layup, a third try on his own miss, and a dunk in a halfcourt set.
These are all baskets that are easy to get when you're severely outclassing an opponent, just like Marquette was doing to Wisconsin Lutheran. There's going to be opportunities like this in every game, of course, but they're not going to be this plentiful. I can see Anderson playing this role all season, as Wojo wants to be pressing on defense a lot: the guy in charge of taking off down court when the ball gets tipped loose. He's not going to end up with a bunch of 20 point nights this way, but it makes sense that MU needs a guy responsible for getting open for the long outlet for the fast break basket. Have to get baskets however you can get them when you're working with a size disadvantage.
Speaking of that size disadvantage, I also expect to see Anderson playing a lot of minutes as Marquette's main post defender. In that exhibition against WLC, Anderson repeatedly ended up as the tallest player on the court while Steve Taylor, Jr., was on the bench. Taylor's not going to be able to play all 40 minutes of the first eight games, so Anderson, as the second tallest eligible guy to start the season, is going to have to play his part. If this arrangement works out in MU's favor against the Ohio States and Wisconsins of the world, we might end up seeing it a bit in conference play as well, even with Luke Fischer eligible. It might be for strategy reasons, it might be because Taylor and Fischer are both in foul trouble. We've said it repeatedly through these previews, and Wojo has said it, too: all ten guys are going to be needed this season.
What I Want To See
I want to see Anderson have a senior year that makes him close his collegiate career out on a positive note, at least in his mind. I want to see him actually play a role for Marquette other than "minutes vacuum because God forbid Jae Crowder/Jamil Wilson/Todd Mayo actually start a game." I want to see Anderson get confident in shooting from anywhere on the floor. I want to see the same hustle plays that we've seen brief flashes of, but now in bunches. I want to see the end of people moaning on Twitter about why he's even on the team in the first place.
What I Don't Want To See
The same old Juan Anderson. Along for the ride, not contributing much. Not because I've seen enough of it, because I have, you have, we all have. Because the same kind of season from Anderson that we've gotten for the last three years probably means bad things for the team. If he's not pulling his side of the decagon on the floor, Marquette's going to be in for a long season.