The 2015-16 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let's get into the Marquette basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We'll be going through the players one by one, starting with the freshmen, moving on to the lone available transfer, and then wrapping up with the four returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season.
Last year, we made a slight adjustment as to how we look at the players' upcoming season, and it seemed to work better, so we'll stick with the same three category headings this year:
- What I Think We'll See
- What I Want To See
- What I Don't Want To See
With that out of the way, let's get started with the freshmen, going in alphabetical order.....
Freshman - #2 - Guard/Forward - 6'5" - 205 lb.
Sacar Anim makes his way to Marquette after playing four years of varsity basketball for De La Salle in Minneapolis, MN. That's a significant point to make, as the Islanders won the Minnesota Class 3A state title every single year that Anim was playing there. While he was a contributor on all of those teams, Anim may not have really been the feature player at any point. Stanford forward and 2014 McDonald's All-American Reid Travis played on the first three title teams, and Anim shared the court with Minnesota signee Jarvis Johnson this past season.
While Anim did have another high major Division 1 player on his high school team last year, he still found ways to excel. He was named the Associated Press' Minnesota Player of the Year last season and finished with an average of 25 points and eight rebounds per game. A three year all-conference honoree, Anim was a starter for his final three years of high school and DeLaSalle lost just one - count 'em, one - conference game his entire prep career.
Pretty neat list of accomplishments there, right? Well, try to remember that Anim might be the worst of the five recruits that head coach Steve Wojciechowski has brought in this season. That's what 247 Sports says, as they had him ranked #193 in their Composite system. That's better than nothing, though, as Scout doesn't even give Anim a star rating, while ESPN marks him as a four star recruit and Rivals grades him as a three star prospect.
What I Think We'll See
A whole lotta hustling. That's how Sacar Anim is going to get playing time this season. With the current roster construction, Wojo has Anim set up as an undersized power forward. With Henry Ellenson occupying a majority of the minutes at the 4 this season, Anim's minutes are largely going to come from either A) Ellenson needing a breather or B) Ellenson ending up in foul trouble. In either case, Anim's probably not going to get his number called for long stretches of playing time this season, so he's gotta make the most of what he gets. On top of that, busting his can is also going to be the quickest way for Anim to earn the favor of his gym rat head coach, and nothing says "bonus PT" like the guy with the fancy suit liking your hustle.
It's possible that Anim could start to get some time at the 3 in a lineup alongside Ellenson and Luke Fischer if Wojciechowski looks to get a little more physical with his lineup, as Anim's got the most college ready bulk on his frame. That remains to be seen, of course, and it would mean that Anim would have to somehow sneak past Sandy Cohen in the rotation, too. In any case, that kind of development is still going to rely on Anim's hustle, both in games and in practices.
What I Want To See
Let's just keep it simple here: I want to see the kid play. He didn't contribute much to Marquette's statsheet on the European trip over the summer (9 ppg, 3 rpg), but he did shoot 11 for 14 on his shots inside the three point arc. If he can contribute a little bit of a breather for Ellenson (or maybe for Cohen), finish strong around the rim and haul in rebounds in traffic against quality competition, then it's just one more facet on the diamond that is Marquette's season. I'm not expecting much from the rook, but whatever he can give, I want to see as much of it as possible.
What I Don't Want To See
If I kept the last section simple, then this one's even easier, isn't it? Anim getting nailed to the bench for whatever reason could end up being a quietly bad thing for Marquette. One of the things that's kind of unspoken about this team given the influx of talent in the five freshmen and Wally Ellenson's return to eligibility is that they're still playing three players short of a full roster. There are two empty scholarships right now and Andrew Rowsey isn't available to play as a transfer. Even worse, the real shortage on the roster is on the front line, where Henry Ellenson is the only true power forward and Luke Fischer only has Matt Heldt backing him up. I don't know how much Wojo is going to need to rely on Anim to fill minutes in the lineup, but he's going to need him at some point. Anim has to be ready to fill whatever vacuum there is within the 40 minutes on the floor. I don't want to see him stuck on the bench because Wojo can't rely on him.
Also the "I" word. I'm not going actually type it out but you know what it is.