Hard work behind the rise of Sacar Anim

Photo via Twitter

Photo via Twitter

Marquette University added a high-quality 2015 recruit today when senior wing Sacar Anim of DeLaSalle High School (Minneapolis, Minnesota) announced his commitment to play for Coach Wojo.

Just 17 years old, the 6’4” Anim is an all-around and versatile player who makes an impact on both sides of the court.

 DeLaSalle has won three consecutive Minnesota Class 3A championships (last year they were led by one-time MU target and current Stanford freshman Reid Travis; Anim was named to the all-tournament team) while also regularly playing top teams from out-of-state in addition to competing against their Minnesota peers. 

Sacar’s high school coach, Dave Thorson, was kind enough to answer a few questions today and we’ll get to his comments shortly.  

First, for those statistically-inclined I’d like to highlight some facts. During the spring and summer Anim has played with Howard Pulley who competes in the Nike EYBL league. In 2013 that team included current college freshmen Tyus Jones (Duke) and Sacar’s high school teammate Reid Travis. Anim, then a rising junior, played a solid supporting role off the bench.

This past summer Anim took a leading role in helping the program to another Peach Jam appearance. His teammates included fellow DeLaSalle Islander and University of Minnesota-bound (2015) Jarvis Johnson, Brewster Academy (NH) and Wisconsin-commit (2015) Alex Illikainen, and 2016 Marquette target Amir Coffey of Hopkins high school.

Based on data from LateNightHoops.com and Group-Stats.com, Anim produced an offensive rating of 108.7 while using 24.6% of his team’s possessions when on the floor. Evidence of his ability to successfully attack the basket includes his 56%+ free throw rate (where he shot 75%) while keeping his turnover rate at a very low 11.6%. 

There were approximately 240 EYBL players who participated in at least 40% of their team’s minutes. Of those, only 18 players with a usage rate as high as Anim’s had a better offensive rating. So, what kind of company is he keeping? Below is a selection of those 18 players, none of whom had a better turnover rate:

Name (alpha by first name) 2015 Rank (unless noted)
Allonzo Trier RSCI #10
Antonio Blakeney RSCI #15
Ben Simmons RSCI #1
Cheick Diallo RSCI #4
Haanif Cheatham RSCI #73
Isaiah Briscoe RSCI #12
Jalen Brunson RSCI #17
Jalen Coleman RSCI #34
Jessie Govan RSCI #46
K.J. Lawson RSCI #40
Malachi Richardson RSCI #31
Malik Monk #6 ESPN (2016)
Noah Dickerson RSCI #37
Udoka Azubuike #10 ESPN (2016)

Indeed, Marquette has made a great addition to the program.

Leading DeLaSalle in scoring this season, Anim has shown off his ability to score at multiple levels on the court, including behind the arc. I asked Coach Thorson about some comments I’ve heard in past years from outsiders regarding Anim’s long-range shooting being a concern. His response:

DT: “Sacar is shooting almost 40% from 3-point land this season. This idea that he wasn’t a good shooter [is] inaccurate in my opinion. He has proven that by his play with our team this season.  In our system it doesn’t take long to see that he can score in a number of ways, either with a 3-point shot, slashing to the basket, posting up, and also getting to the free throw line.”

DeLaSalle has been incredibly successful on the court over the years, and despite some extremely skilled and athletic players, the thing I think of most about De is the message of hard work. That is, what appears to define the program are things like giving an all-out effort every day, continual improvement, accountability to your team (family) and yourself.

The fabric of DeLaSalle in some respects should resonate with Marquette fans that have seen the program with both Buzz Williams and now with Wojo. 

It would seem much of the story on Sacar is quite simple: he’s worked his tail off to get better and the work has paid off.

I asked Coach Thorson about what he’s seen with regard to Sacar buying into the “DeLaSalle way” and how his mindset and the way he goes about his business will translate to his time at Marquette.

DT: “Without hesitation, Sacar has embraced whatever role we have asked him to in order to propel the team successfully. His diligent approach towards his endeavors (both in classroom as an honor roll student & in basketball) is apparent when you are around him every day. He approaches his responsibilities with a mature, yeoman like attitude, that has fostered constant improvement. During their active recruitment, Coach Wojo quickly observed Sacar’s demeanor and attitude in practice, and also his versatility on both ends of the floor. He immediately recognized that Sacar brought characteristics that he deems invaluable to building his program at Marquette.” 

From a defensive standpoint, Anim projects as a guy who should be able to defend multiple positions in college (2’s and 3’s, primarily) with his wingspan and athleticism. I asked Coach Thorson about the defensive abilities of Marquette’s most recent commit.

DT: “Sacar is a very effective & versatile defender. [He] has anchored our initial on-the-ball defense, and also has proven himself as a dependable help defender ready to take charges, rotate & cut out, and rebound. His tenacity & intensity on defense were traits Coach Wojo was impressed with.”

Finally, the DeLaSalle basketball team has visited Milwaukee for a few years in a row now. The familiarity with, and knowledge of, Marquette’s strong athletic and academic offerings helped Anim to make his decision.

DT: “Because we have played in Milwaukee over the last three years, Sacar has become acquainted with Marquette and the City of Milwaukee. He has also observed both Marquette and Milwaukee Bucks games in the BMO Harris Center and on campus at the McGuire Center. DeLaSalle High School typically has graduates who attend Marquette every year and so there is a further level of comfort with the University. The opportunity to play for a top notch academic school, coupled with a strong tradition of basketball excellence was appealing. During his official visit, Sacar was extremely impressed with the academic offerings, and also the people he encountered.”

Twin Cities Catholic high schools have a long history of sending talented young people to Marquette. With a high motor and high character, the high flying Anim appears cleared for take-off at MU this summer.

@JBBauer612 is on Twitter



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Categories: Analysis, Recruiting




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2 Comments on “Hard work behind the rise of Sacar Anim”

  1. Randy Lukomski
    February 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks for the insightful article!

  2. February 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Welcome to Marquette Sacar!

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