He’s always been the center of attention.
When you’re hanging on the rim in junior high school games, especially in small towns around west-central Wisconsin, you attract your fair share.
For Stanley-Boyd native Evan Anderson, a redshirt junior this season, it’s always been about living up to his expectations. And his lanky frame.
Starting out as a highly-touted middle school talent, he open-enrolled out of the small Stanley-Boyd school district and challenged himself inside the Big Rivers Conference on the western border. Trading in his orange and black for the Eau Claire North blue meant bigger expectations for the seven-footer who comes into this season hoping to get his chance to shine for him home-state team.
“I’m just doing anything I can right now to help the guys in practice,” Anderson said. “Do the things to help this team and contribute, and hopefully get some time.”
Now, in his fourth full season under head coach Bo Ryan, the student needs to step into a completely different role with the departure of Ryan Evans, Mike Bruesuwitz and Jared Berggren.
“It’s a new role this year, having losing those three guys. At the same time those are some big shoes to fill,” Anderson said. “There are more spots available. It’s really all about doing what your team and coaches expect out of you.”
Back in 2009 when the prep star committed, Ryan had nothing but upsides to talk about. And expectations, were high.
“It’s great to have a young man in Evan who knew very early in the process that Wisconsin was where he wanted to be and never looked back,” Ryan said. “He’s continued to improve and even while battling through an injury last season, he rebounded to have an excellent July with his AAU team. His size and physical presence will help him as he starts with us next year. He’s developed a very good back-to-the-basket game and already has a collegiate physicality to his game that will serve him well during his Badger playing days.”
“I know our fans will enjoy watching him on the Badger front lines of the future.”
Last year, Anderson played just 10 minutes for the Badgers, though it’s obvious if he’s going to rise into a rotation, this is the season to do it with the three-headed monster gone from a year ago. And he’s been working hard to get there.
“(I’ve been working on) my feet and conditioning … those things. I feel like I am going to be in a great spot coming into this season.”