With the 2014-2015 season now in the books, we take a moment to look back at the performance that 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 (lowest to highest). The next player to be reviewed is the senior from Oakland, CA.
#10 - Senior - 6'6" - 215 lb.
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.
I will admit, my expectations for Juan Anderson coming into the season were exceedingly low. So low, that when we polled to see who people thought would lead the team in scoring, I never even considered him as an option when people were voting for "Other". But I must say, Juan came strong in his senior season and really went above and beyond what I thought he would do.
After years serving in a weird, "starter who didn't really play much" role for Buzz Williams the past two seasons, Anderson finally found himself getting some regular run at Marquette. His minutes per game more than doubled from the past two years, and not surprisingly, all of his other numbers improved as well. His 8.3 points per game was more than double his previous best. His 5.7 rebounds per game were nearly double his previous best and led the team this year. Juan shot a very, very respectable 49% from the floor, and 34.8% from 3-point land. He scored in double figures 10 times in 2014-15, after doing that just 4 times in the previous three seasons. And he did all of this while usually being asked to guard a guy that had four or five inches on him, as one of the de facto "post" players on the MU roster this season.
Not only did Juan grow from a production standpoint, but he took up the Scepter of Senior Leadership this year as well. He seemed to be on the same page with the new coaching staff, and frequently was the guy holding things together out on the floor. Add all that up and you have a senior campaign for Mr. Anderson that really impressed the hell out of me. I'm on record several times this season saying "I would have never guessed Juan Anderson would be this important for us." But he was.
Unfortunately, a late season ankle injury prevented Juan from finishing the season the way I'm sure he would have liked to. He only missed one game, but his minutes and production were severely limited down the stretch of the conference season.
Best Game: While he may have had some higher scoring games early in the non-conference season, Juan's best game came in Marquette's home win over Providence. He led all Golden Eagles with 18 points, on 6-8 shooting, and made his only 3-point attempt - which capped a 9-0 run and helped MU's first Big East win of the year.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1 to 10: Go back and read what we said we wanted to see out of Juan Anderson this year. Go 'head, I'll wait.... Now, is there any part of that that Juan didn't accomplish this year, and then some? I guess you could nitpick a little and say that the injury meant he didn't exactly get the close to his career that he would have liked, but I'm not gonna go there. Juan's senior campaign gets a 10 from this guy.