November 7, 2010

Anderson still contemplating redshirt

MADISON - Evan Anderson is willing to wait and see how the exhibition season goes. Then, upon completion, he'll decide whether it's in his best interest to redshirt.

He'll have a better idea at that point.

"The two exhibitions games will give me a real good idea," Anderson said. "Depending on the minutes I get t1hose two games will more than likely lead me into making that decision."

Following Saturday night's 84-59 win over UW-La Crosse, one where the Eau Claire North (WI) product logged only three minutes of action, one rebound and one foul, it was difficult for the freshman center to find a rhythm and showcase his physical style on the block.

Really, though, the decision to redshirt for Anderson will rely not only with his play in those games but it will also depend on the way his defense progresses in practice.

That seems to be the biggest factor, among his status on the depth chart behind fellow bigs Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil and Jared Berggren, in his decision to redshirt.

"It's mainly defense," Anderson said. "I'm not worried about contributing a lot of points on offense. Maybe I'll have a post move here or there, but if I can't contribute that, as long as I can help our team on defense and help the team on offense with an assist here or there. But mainly, it's whether I can defend other big guys.

"That will be the big part of my decision."

The good news for Anderson is that there are players on this squad that underwent the same type of decision-making process in the past. Take Jared Berggren for example.

As a highly touted prepster from Minnesota, Berggren essentially waited for a few regular season games to pass before making the decision to dedicate himself towards improvement.

"You just kind of took it game-by-game and day-by-day in practice," Berggren said. "You see where you'd fit in the rotation and if you would fit in the rotation or if there were guys in front of you which was the situation my freshman and redshirt year. I went through the exhibition games and played a little bit in those.

"I kind of waited for a few games and wasn't really sure if I wanted to redshirt or not. It wasn't until later in the non-conference schedule that I finally decided was that the best thing for me was to take the redshirt."

That seems to be the same approach Anderson is taking, one where he's spending time talking to players that have been in the same boat and have gone through the process before.

"He has (come to me) a little bit," Berggren said. "But not a whole lot. He's said a few things here or there about kind of how redshirting is and what it's like. I told him that it's a decision I'm glad I made. I feel like I got a lot better. Only being a sophomore right now (is nice). If I was a junior right now I'd be pretty disappointed with my career so far, not getting a lot of playing time so far.

"If he wants more feedback I'll tell him it was good for me but it's his own decision."

It's not unusual to hear about the transition from high school to college being a tough one, especially for big men. Anderson would admit that, Berggren would admit that and even an established big man like Jon Leuer would admit that.

It essentially boils down to having some bad habits develop throughout the prep days, one where height and size advantage over the competition allow for more relaxed defensive tendencies.

Most of the time, those habits don't translate to the college game.

"Usually in high school you're going up against guys that are a lot smaller than you and you just try to overpower them," Leuer said. "That's just some of the things the coaches try to clean up. They work with footwork, shooting the ball high off the glass and not just trying to overpower everyone. Those are things every big man has to learn and get better at.

"Evan is doing well and he's come a long way already."

Though the coaching staff leaves the decision up to the player in regards to redshirting or not, they also make it evident where they stand and what kind of minutes they could expect.

There are no blind decisions during the process.

"You can pretty much tell in practice whether you're going to get minutes or not," Anderson said. "They'll let you know here or there if you do certain this or that's. If you turn the ball over or things like that, those are huge factors especially here at Wisconsin.

"You're going to know for sure what kind of minutes you're going to get. It's probably not going to be a surprise."

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