The 2019-20 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner. To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every player on the 2019-20 IU roster. You can see all of our player profiles in one place here. If you are looking for the 2019-20 IU basketball schedule, you can find that here.
From disappointment comes opportunity.
It wasn’t the freshman season that Damezi Anderson envisioned, but then, it was only year one.
Anderson’s teammates and coaches alike have pointed to Anderson as someone to watch as he chalks up year one to experience.
In terms of seeing what a year of development and confidence has produced, there may be no player on the roster that fans are more looking forward to seeing in 2019-20.
- Height: 6-foot-7
- Weight: 225
- Position: Forward
- Class: Sophomore
- Hometown: South Bend, Indiana
- High School: Riley
- Minutes per game: 9.6
- Points per game: 1.5
- Rebounds per game: 1.1
- Assists/Turnovers: 8/11
- FG%: 27.9%
- 3FG%: 23.3%
- FT%: 0% (0 for 1)
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Anderson on learning from his first season —
“It was just a good first-year experience for me. I never been in the situation I was last year, so it was a new role for me that I had to adjust to.
So last year taught me a lot, especially with the seniors last year, the upperclassmen. They also helped and communicated about how to do things to me. That’s what I did, and took it, and just continued and got better this year.”
Archie Miller on Anderson having a year under his belt —
“But for him more importantly and watching him as a sophomore, it’s just a much different feeling for him. It’s not the first time he’s went through it. He now has the advantage of going through a year under his belt, and he knows what we expect of him. He kind of knows right now what he’s going to need to do to help our team. And I think everyone from players to coaches feel that he’s going to do that, and we’re excited for him.”
Juwan Morgan on Anderson —
“That’s my dark horse for most improved player.”
WHAT 2019-20 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
Anderson came to IU with a reputation as a perimeter shooter, and Miller still believes in his sophomore’s ability to fill that role.
Anderson was one of the first players that Miller named at the Big Ten media day when asked about the potential for improved perimeter shooting.
Miller spoke over the summer about how a young shooter finds a rhythm at the high major level of college basketball.
“I think the biggest thing is repetition,” Miller said. “Guys gotta get in the gym, they gotta do it every day. You gotta shoot the shots that you shoot in the game. We’ve had some guys really progress to different percentages in our first two years and it’s going to have to keep going.”
Anderson is better than the 23% he shot from long range as a freshman. Much better. As Miller stated, good shooters just have to keep shooting and build confidence. Victor Oladipo shot 21% from three-point range as a sophomore and 44% as a junior. It can be done.
Anderson made 53-of-134 (39.6%) tries from behind the arc during his final AAU season, and then improved upon that rate during his senior year of high school. The talent is there. Anderson looked confident in the preseason game and at times in the non-conference last year. But at some point the confidence seemed to vanish.
His greatest talent is Indiana’s greatest need. There is no more clear path for Anderson to see the floor and stay on the floor than to become a confident and lights out three-point shooter.
Of course Anderson’s ability to knock down shots will be key to him seeing the floor on a regular basis, but Miller highlighted other areas to watch for with Anderson as well.
“He’s gotta be able to defend his position a little better, and taking care of the ball is always something with him,” Miller said at the Big Ten media day. “Learning what to do without trying to do too much.”
When Miller says “defend his position” of course that begs the question — what is Anderson’s position? He hasn’t shown the ability to play shooting guard, and probably isn’t big enough to guard most power forwards.
That leaves the wing for Anderson — which takes you back to all of the things we have discussed here — shooting, ball handling, and having the lateral quickness to stay in front of opposing wings.
Other areas that Anderson can build on this year would be to play with more of the energy that he is known for off the court, and become more of a student of Miller’s pack-line defense.
It’s difficult to project a big breakout season for Anderson, but the opportunity is clearly there.
Steady progression seems like the more likely path.
A season where Anderson averages 10-12 minutes, scores 3-4 points on better than 40% shooting overall and 30% from three, grabs a couple rebounds and has more assists than turnovers would be a step in the right direction.
If Anderson can do that while becoming a more effective and fundamental defender he should be well on his way to bigger and better things as an upperclassman.
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