MADISON - During last weekend's tip off event inside the UW Fieldhouse, freshman center Evan Anderson wowed the crowd with his jumper. At the team's annual media day event, BadgerBlitz.com took a minute to catch up with the freshman from Eau Claire (WI) North.
The following is a question and answer with Anderson.
Just talk a little bit about the transition from high school to college and what the biggest difference and change is?
Anderson: The biggest change would have to be the speed of the game and it's a lot more physical. So that sums it up I guess.
How do you curtail that? Do you just have to get stronger?
Anderson: Yeah, we were here in the summer and lifting almost every day. We were playing here and there, but all the lifting has helped a lot. We're lifting every day hard and working every muscle over and over again. So yeah, I've gotten stronger and everybody has gotten stronger.
Do you pay attention to message boards or recruiting websites or anything like that?
Anderson: No, I don't. I used to. It used to be fun to go on there and laugh at some of the comments. But no, I don't let that get in the way. I know who I can trust and who will give me honest answers with unbiased things. I look at things from the right perspective and I know who I should listen to.
I don't want to talk about it too much but at times were there negative things that shined through and forced you to not pay attention to message boards?
Anderson: Oh yeah, plenty of negative things. Probably the majority of things were negative.
Does that wear on you?
Anderson: It's doesn't because most of the comments about stats that I had in high school, which were low because our team averaged low points. We averaged 45 points a game.
I'm sure it's not easy when you're getting triple teamed.
Anderson: I don't want to give myself too much credit but I was always trying to look for my teammates. It was rare that I took a selfish shot. Because of that and because of the rankings, which in my mind I don't really care because it's what you do on the floor and who you're playing against and who the matchup is.
Is that just something that you have an opportunity to put to rest? You're coming out of that field house game and you're shooting the ball very well.
Anderson: You know, those things are in the past like you said. I'm starting out fresh and I'm starting out new. This is a new game at the college level. I'm just going to do everything to get stronger and try to fit into a certain role at this program. I'm going to be happy with that as long as I can help the team in certain ways.
How would you classify yourself as a player?
Anderson: I would have to say that I think I'm a hard worker. I think I can say that. I'm a back to the basket kind of player but I'm going to work on screens and getting my teammates open. I'm going to work on that. I'm going to look for my teammates instead of looking for my own shot.
I'm sure you've followed Wisconsin over the years. You see a guy like Brian Butch and how he could extend to the perimeter and shoot the three. Is that in your repertoire? Can you do that?
Anderson: You know, I'm not as good as a Brian Butch of course. It's not really comparable, but I hope to someday develop a better outside game. My shot is decent, it's okay. But it needs a lot of work. Hopefully someday I can really step out to the outside and do some productive things behind the arc.
You hit a few jumpers the other day. I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit.
Anderson: I'm hard on myself, but I have high expectations for myself. I want to help the team as much as possible. I guess my outside shot is okay.
Just talk about transitioning to college life in general. You're going to class now everyday and you're balancing that with basketball. It's like a full-time job. How has it been going for you?
Anderson: It was really hard right away trying to transition to it. Now I'm just finally starting to get used to it and getting into a routine doing this or that. It's been a full-time job, but I like it and playing for the Badgers is a big responsibility. I know that I'm lucky to be here and doing all these things. I know that I just need to work hard and try to help this team and keep up on my academics at the same time.
What's the team chemistry like? Is that one of the first things that jumps out to you about this team?
Anderson: When I was being recruited here I noticed that every time I would come here everybody was getting along with everybody else. The practices are great for team chemistry. Everybody is trying to make everybody better. It's nothing personal but on the court everybody is working as hard as possible. That was always a huge thing and it's always going to be a huge thing at this point.
Clearly the most important question you'll hear today has to do with you guys being out on the field the other night when UW was playing Ohio State. Who's the best dancer on this team?
Anderson: That's hard to say. I'd have to say Jordan Taylor. He's a pretty good dancer.