For about 48 hours, Trevor Anderson thought he’d have to wait another year before making his debut with the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program.
The sophomore guard from Stevens Point was understandably devastated.
“I was in kind of a dark place,” Anderson said.
Anderson politely declined to go into details on the right knee injury that nearly derailed the start to his UW career, other than to admit season-ending surgery was on the table.
Instead, Anderson has played through pain during his first two games with the Badgers. He’s been on the floor a total of 15 minutes during victories over Coppin State and Xavier and will once again serve as D’Mitrik Trice’s backup at point guard on Saturday night when UW (2-0) hosts Houston Baptist (1-1) at the Kohl Center.
Anderson said he’s at about 85 percent but hopes that figure continues to climb.
“It’s getting better,” Anderson said. “It still gets sore, but it sounds like I’m going to have to deal with that throughout the season.”
The alternative is watching from the sidelines, and Anderson was going to do everything in his power to make sure that wasn’t going to happen again.
Anderson sat out last season, per NCAA rules, after transferring from UW-Green Bay. He gave up his scholarship with the Phoenix to chase his dream of playing for the Badgers and hadn’t appeared in a game since Jan. 23, 2017, when a back injury ended his freshman season after 20 games.
So when Anderson was injured in a non-contact situation during a mid-October practice, the idea of extending that wait to get back on the court was distressing.
“Anybody who knows me, I’m just a competitive son of a gun,” said Anderson, who averaged 9.8 points, 2.7 assists and a team-high 28.5 minutes per game while starting the first 20 games of the 2016-17 season at UW-Green Bay. “I wasn’t sitting again.”
Anderson wore a huge brace during exhibition play and in the opener against Coppin State. He graduated to a smaller one for the Badgers’ 77-68 win at Xavier.
Making sharp cuts and jump stops are still an issue for Anderson, and he admits it’s as much mental as it is physical. He said he and UW athletic trainer Henry Perez-Guerra have done a variety of rehab activities in order to help Anderson regain strength in his knee.
“We’ve kind of pulled every trick out,” Anderson said, “because I really don’t want surgery.”
Anderson is still looking for his first point and assist with the Badgers. All of that will come eventually, he believes. The thing that matters the most now is that he’s playing instead of waiting.
“It’s a blessing,” he said. “I’ve tried to stay as positive as possible, and now I’m out there and taking advantage of these opportunities. Just got a huge win over Xavier, so the Badgers are back rolling.”