With the 2013-2014 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). With four reviews already in the books, we move on to junior Juan Anderson.
#10 - Junior - 6'6" - 215 lb.
Minimum Expectation: Juan Anderson would be perfect for the Trent Lockett role. Look at what Lockett did last year: played defense, grabbed rebounds, was right where he needed to be in crucial spots. Now compare Lockett & Anderson physically. Doesn't Anderson look like a slightly thinner, slightly longer armed Lockett? 7 points, 5 rebounds, a well timed block here and there, 33% from behind the three point arc? Sounds like fun, right? Who wouldn't want to sign up for this right now?
Wildest Dream: Anderson's move to the backcourt/perimeter unlocks his potential and he becomes a match up nightmare for teams instead of being a little too thin to be able to hold his spot against more physically imposing players. He's comfortable absorbing some of the offensive load that the perimeter guys are going to need to bear in order to keep the front court guys free to do their business. I'm not going completely bananas here, but 10 points, 7 rebounds? That's a pretty good junior year, right?
Worst Nightmare: It turns out that Anderson came back because he was comfortable at Marquette, not because he can contribute to this team. We've seen the best of what he can do, and for this team, all that ends up being is providing depth.
It's not that I don't like being wrong. I'm fine with being wrong. It's that I'm disappointed that Juan Anderson had elected to leave Marquette last spring, but ended up returning to Milwaukee for a junior year that was ultimately no different than his sophomore year. Yeah, he started 19 games for the Golden Eagles, but his minutes dwindled as the season progressed, which is a familiar refrain. Yes, there were high points, like when he saw 22 minutes of run in Marquette's overtime win against DePaul. But once the Big East season started, Anderson only played more than 10 minutes on seven occasions. In fact, on Senior Day against St. John's, Anderson did not play at all for the first time since Marquette's Sweet 16 game against Florida in 2012.
I saw a lot of chatter on Twitter across the season essentially asking "why does Juan Anderson play at all," or some variant on that. Here's the reason why: Anderson grabbed five or more rebounds on 12 occasions this season. Yes, he struggled to finish around the rim, and really, he struggled to shoot the ball at all this season. Had Marquette had any dominant offensive forces this season, I think Anderson could have ended up living up to my Trent Lockett idea for him. But without anyone to carry an offensive load on a regular basis for Marquette this season, an offensively deficient player like Anderson is going to struggle to find a niche on the court.
Anderson looked into transferring last spring, came back, and didn't show any real change in his on-court contribution. Is Anderson looking to play and willing to sit out a year to play one final season somewhere else? Is he willing to put in one more final season at Marquette to finish his degree and his eligibility without a chance of playing much? Will Marquette's system change drastically enough under Steve Wojciechowski that Anderson will have a senior year to remember?
Best Game: You could make an argument for his four point/seven rebound/two assist outing against Georgetown in the Bradley Center, but I'm going to dial back to the early part of the season, where Anderson missed a double-double by just one rebound against George Washington. He scored 10 points on 2-2 shooting, including taking and making a three-pointer, and grabbed those nine rebounds, all in just 18 minutes of action.
Season Grade (1 - Worst Nightmare, 10 - Wildest Dream): Unfortunately, I have to give Juan a 1. It just never came together for him this season. It's probably just as disappointing to him as it is to me to have to grade his season that way. Yesterday at Coach Wojciechowski's introductory press conference, Derrick Wilson said that he expects every returning player back in the fall. Hopefully that's the case for Anderson and he can have one more crack at a productive on the court season.