Friday, May 29, 2009

Dwayne Anderson's Arrival, Freshman, and Sophomore Seasons - Villanova Wildcat Senior Farewell

To the Villanova Wildcats faithful-

Having completed the
Senior Farewell series on Shane Clark and Frank Tchuisi, it's now time to look at departing senior Wildcat Dwayne Anderson... in subsequent posts, I'll look back at Anderson's junior and senior seasons, as well as that of putative NBA draft choice Dante Cunningham...

Dwayne Anderson's Arrival and Freshman Season - 2005-06

Anderson played very sparingly as a freshman. As noted in previous profiles, the 2006 team was one of the best in school history, and there weren't a lot of minutes to go around. That having been said, Anderson's minutes were more akin to a walk-on than a scholarship player, as he logged only 55 minutes in 14 appearances.

Anderson played more in the calendar year of 2005, when the competition wasn't as rigorous. The Silver Spring, MD native - and product of the St. Thomas More Prep School in Connecticut - made his collegiate debut against Stony Brook at the Pavilion on November 17. He wound up playing seven minutes- and he took - and made - the first shot of his career, a three-pointer.

He appeared in the next five games, for 22 minutes, although he did not score. The most impressive performance was five rebounds and a steal, in just nine minutes against Rider, in his third game.

His seventh and eighth games were the best of his season. Against Longwood, he played a career-high dozen minutes and scored half a dozen points, by hitting two triples. Facing La Salle, he scored 10 points, a career-high, on 4/6 shooting from the field.

However, Anderson's minutes vanished afterwards. He had played seven minutes against La Salle, but he would play only seven minutes - combined - for the entire rest of the season. During the remainder of the regular season, he logged one minute against Temple, Texas, and Rutgers; he played two minutes against South Florida.

In the NCAA tournament, to Jay Wright's credit, Anderson played one minute against #16 seed Monmouth in the first round; he also played one minute against eventual national champion Florida in the Elite Eight. And against Florida, he scored the first points of his NCAA tournament career, making one out of two free throws; he missed two field goal attempts, one from three-point range.

Dwayne Anderson's Sophomore Season - 2006-07 season

With the loss of the core of the 2006 team (Allan Ray, Randy Foye, and Jason Fraser were seniors, while Kyle Lowry opted to jump to the NBA, after two seasons), it was reasonable to speculate that Anderson's minutes would expand.

For most of the season, that appeared to be the case. After playing only 55 minutes as a freshman, Anderson exceeded that amount, by just his fourth game of the season.
  • Against Northwood, in the season opener, Anderson set career highs in minutes (22), points (16), rebounds (8), steals (4), and assists (3). He shot 5/9 from the floor and 4/4 from the line.
  • Played 13 minutes against the College of Charleston.
  • Played just two minutes against Xavier.
  • After not scoring in the previous two contests, launched a blizzard of points against Iowa, setting another career-high in points (18), on 6/12 shooting from the floor, 4/10 from three-point range, plus five rebounds and a pair of steals.
  • Played 11 minutes against Navy, scoring three points.
  • Played 17 minutes against Stony Brook, scoring seven points.
  • Played only 7 minutes against Penn, but hit three triples to finish with nine points.
  • Played 6 minutes against Oklahoma, but did not score.
  • Played 11 minutes against Drexel, finishing with seven points, including 5/5 from the line.
  • Played 18 minutes against Rider, racking up a dozen points and five rebounds.
  • Played 11 minutes against La Salle, finishing with four points.
  • His minutes set a new career-high against Temple, with 24, but scored three points.
As you can see, Anderson was an integral part of Wright's rotation, for a majority of the season up until that point. He had demonstrated his three-point accuracy, and he was a strong role player on a team that was widely viewed - accurately - as rebuilding after the 2006 run to the Elite Eight.

However, at that point, Anderson's minutes plunged. He played 12 minutes against West Virginia, but scored only two points, and Wright's confidence in him seemed to be wavering. (As it turned out, those two points would be Anderson's last of the season, as he didn't play much after that.)

Anderson played just two minutes against DePaul without taking a shot. Against Georgetown, Anderson saw 11 minutes- but did not score, taking only one shot and committing two turnovers. And that game, in retrospect, was the effective end of Anderson for the season.
He saw action in eight remaining games, but played a total of 17 minutes with no more than five minutes in any single game (against Syracuse, right after the Georgetown game, and then Cincinnati five games later). Unlike his freshman year, he didn't get into the NCAA tournament at all, when Villanova lost its first-round opener to Kentucky in an #8/#9 game...

There was a good deal of transfer speculation during that off-season, as we fans wondered why he was no longer playing. Playing time is often the primary reason for players transferring, and Anderson had demonstrated that he could help somebody win as a three-point shooter.

(Anderson would confirm this fact, in passing, in an interview with a local news station, during the 2009 NCAA tournament run, where he said something to the effect that he had been thinking about transferring as a sophomore, because he wasn't playing.)

And as it turned out, Bilal Benn, who had entered Villanova with this class, would eventually transfer to Niagara, where he played more than he did on the Main Line.

Go Wildcats!

Of course, check back for the latest posts in the Senior Farewell series, in which I'll be looking back at the Villanova tenures of the other two departing Wildcats, Dwayne Anderson and Dante Cunningham - the Frank Tchuisi and Shane Clark series are already completed...

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