Player: Dwayne Anderson
2007-2008 Key Stats: 6.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 50.3 FG%
2007-2008 Review: At the beginning of last season Dwayne Anderson was named one of the four team captains, which at the time I thought was a curious decision considering his lack of playing time during his first two seasons at Villanova. It remained a curious decision throughout the first half of the season, as Dwayne played limited minutes off the bench. However, all that changed on February 9 at the Pavilion. In an attempt to halt the team’s five game losing streak Jay Wright inserted Dwayne Anderson into the starting lineup for the first time in his career. Anderson showed flashes of what he could do, specifically in an early season game against Hartford. Villanova was struggling to pull away from an opponent they were expected to blow out. Midway through the second half Dwayne Anderson entered and was a complete game-changer. He hustled for steals, dove for loose balls, and was relentless on defense. I thought after that game, he would be rewarded with more playing time, but he would have to wait a little longer. When Jay Wright finally called on him to start against Seton Hall, in a game Villanova desperately needed, Dwayne delivered once again. He had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, a blocked shot, and to top it all off he hit the game-winning three-pointer with 13 seconds left. Anderson remained a constant in the starting lineup for the rest of the season, and he continued to deliver every night. Perhaps his best game of the season was on March 8 at Providence. He had 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Dwayne was the key to the team’s turnaround, which is why I named him the MVP for the second half of the season. In the end I realized why he was named a team captain.
2008-2009 Preview: Dwayne’s great play was a surprise last year, but the difference this year is that the fans and coaches will expect it from him. He will be under more pressure because of that, but I think he will be able to handle it. Anderson’s strengths are not in scoring, which is ok because the team is loaded with offensive weapons. For the team to be successful, Dwayne needs to continue doing all the unheralded things he did last year such as rebounds, steals, blocks, hustle plays, and knocking down the occasional three-pointer. As a senior captain, he will probably be in the starting five, and based on last season’s performance, he will deserve it. Hopefully he will use his position of leadership to pass on his hardwork and unselfish attitude to the younger players on the team.