It Takes Juan, to Know Juan
By: Roberto Ruiz
Juan Anderson insists that his jump-shot isn’t bad. Anderson is a normal guy who was gifted with the ability to grow taller, jump higher, and shoot straighter than the average person. I must admit, I expected Anderson to be a full of himself jerk. Simply put, I was not looking forward to talking with a basketball player who has had his butt kissed by college recruiters, basketball analysts, and coaches everywhere. When I conducted the interview, though, he had just finished working out because he knows that he still has to get stronger to make it at the next level. In fact, when I asked him about whether he has added some arc to his jump shot, he showed that he has insecurities just like everybody else. He says his jump shot “isn’t that bad.”
The Anderson Household
Anderson grew up with a Latino mother and a Caucasian father. He serves as the father figure to his younger siblings and shares a strong bond with his mother, who taught him responsibility by making him clean up after himself and his family. When asked which major he wants to declare, Anderson showed this bond by deferring to answer until he talks with his mom about it.
Anderson says the hardest part about leaving Castro Valley, California for Milwaukee is that he will have to leave his family behind. His mother, though, will be in attendance for many of the games next season.
Coming to Marquette
The saying is that “west coast players don’t go east.” But Anderson broke that mold by committing to Marquette, and he is proud of it. What exactly led him to our private college on the banks of Lake Michigan? The Big East. Anderson covets competition, something he rarely got playing in California, and he says that the Big East is the best conference in the nation.
Beyond the conference, Anderson fell in love with Marquette’s team camaraderie and is eager to become a part of that family. While here, he bunked with Joe Fulce and attended several team practices. Just watching Marquette’s fast style of play enamored Anderson, and within two weeks he committed to Marquette. Reinforcing his decision was Marquette’s Sweet 16 run in the previous NCAA tournament, during which he was incredibly excited and proud to sport his Marquette apparel.
To top it all off, going to a good academic school was one of Anderson’s top priorities, and he found that at Marquette. “I am thinking four years. I am not even thinking about the NBA right now…. I am thinking Business, Psychology, or Criminology [for my major], but I am not sure because me and my mom haven’t talked about that yet.”
What Anderson Brings to MU
What exactly should we expect from Anderson during his time here at Marquette? At 6’8”, 210 lbs, Anderson has a long, lanky body. He has long arms, and uses his length as an advantage against stockier forwards. Anderson’s real strength is his defense, but his offense is truly starting to take shape. “I was 5’7” my freshman year, and I was actually a really good shooter then. But as my arms started to grow, and as my legs started to grow, it kind of became weird…. I am just getting used to getting more consistent with my shot…. I am not used to my arm length yet [and how it affects the follow through].” This may be true, but he is getting more arc on his shots and sinking them with more consistency.
Of all the NBA players he can look to, Anderson tries to model his game after Carmelo Anthony’s. If Anderson bulks up, his game very well could match Anthony’s, but with better defense. When asked if he was more of a closer (like Dwyane Wade) or a complete package (like Lebron James), Anderson said he was the complete package. He loves the pretty passes, the tenacious defense, and the fast-break dunks. When presented with the idea of taking a cue from Tayshaun Prince, Anderson shunned the idea, claiming to be more built than Prince. While his offense may struggle at first as he tries to sink set up jumpers in set offenses, he will excel at fast-breaks, and will create many opportunities with his length and quickness.
My Final Thoughts
Anderson will bring his talents to Milwaukee this summer, and though he may not see much playing time his first year, he should be a catalyst to the Golden Eagles squad in the upcoming years. Anderson’s unselfish, unrelenting play will surely win him a special spot in Coach Williams’ heart. Over the course of his freshman season, Anderson’s style will guarantee him court time in meaningful games at the end of the season. In fact, Anderson’s play should mesh perfectly with Marquette’s system.
Marquette basketball fans should be excited for Anderson to be part of the team; his down to earth attitude and blue collar style should attract him to students and fans alike. Just don’t be afraid to say hi to that tall, lanky Latino guy walking through Central Mall.
Much like Buzz Williams coaches, Anderson plays with a lot of emotion on the court. Anderson loved watching Williams blow up at the end of the Syracuse game, knowing that this coach would be the perfect one for him.
When asked how he will deal with Milwaukee’s cold weather, Anderson admitted to being concerned about the transition. “I woke up this morning, and it was only like 23 degrees, but I told my mom I didn’t know how I was going to deal with the cold,” well he will have to figure out quickly, because it gets far colder than 23 degrees here.
A self proclaimed quiet, shy, and humble young man, Anderson is not sure how he will handle the celebrity of being a top basketball player in Milwaukee. He does know, however, that it is a gift and he should cherish it.
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