How 2 former Wisconsin men’s basketball players are making the most of their time in Valparaiso | Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball

AARON FERGUSON, 219-853-2519

Times Sports editor Aaron Ferguson meets Valparaiso striker Ben Krikke and gets to know the Beacons from the all-conference striker.

Trevor Anderson has had the opportunity to reflect on what he has learned in life and it is this: you have a greater appreciation for things the more you distance yourself from them.

That’s how he feels about playing for his dad, Scott, at Stevens Point Area High School, where Trevor was named Mr. Basketball in 2017 after scoring 2,360 points.

“In high school, when he was my coach, I couldn’t stand him,” Trevor said of his dad. “He always resented me more than anyone else, but he always told me that I was one of the best players and that being his son he felt like he could.

“At the time, I don’t think I appreciated him enough, but as you go on and on in your life, you appreciate more what he really did for me, not only as a player but as a person.. He is still to this day the best coach I have played for, a great guy and a great team leader.

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Now it’s young Anderson’s turn to influence Valparaiso’s freshman point guards, Preston Ruedinger and Darius DeAveiro. He wore a whistle during Monday’s practice at the Athletics and Recreation Center after suffering a season-ending back injury.

“(He taught me) how to be an everyday guy,” DeAveiro said. “He’s been doing it for six years so he’s been through a lot more ups and downs then just to show up every day and be tough. You might not be as skilled as someone else, but your tenacity can take you far.

Anderson would know. He started his career at Green Bay, starting 20 games before a back injury ended that season prematurely. After being transferred to Wisconsin, Anderson had another season cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Still, he was transferred to Valparaiso for a sixth season because he “still had that itch”.

His final minutes were a 71-56 loss on January 26. A few days later, it was an emotional realization that his college career was over, but he changed his perspective.

“It was very difficult,” he said. “You don’t come back for a sixth year if you don’t really like the game. There’s nothing you can do about it. I’m not looking back, I’m only looking forward and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

He still has his role as captain and is comfortable banding together to be a different voice that players can feed off of.

“Trevor is a very fun person to be around. He’s got great intelligence and he’s a team guy,” Beacons coach Matt Lottich said. “I think when the injury happened it was very emotional for him, obviously, and his family, and just like his coach listening to his story was emotional. After getting over that and being a college basketball guy We’ve had two freshman point guards for a long time so he was able to coach us and he did an amazing job.

Anderson has yet to commit to anything after graduation. He is weighing his options between coaching, business and sports administration, he said. For now, he’s going to enjoy the ride.

But, “He would make a hell of a coach,” Lottich said.

Growing confidence

Wisconsin Transfer King of Kobe begins to show his talent and gains confidence. He was suspended for nine games to start the season and had his best game as a Beacon in Saturday’s 79-72 overtime win over Indiana State.

King scored 24 points on 8 of 14 shooting and recorded a season-high 11 rebounds. His double-double was crucial with Anderson and Thomas Kithier missing time due to back injuries.

“Even coming from a bigger school, I didn’t have to crumble so much,” King said. “I think in addition to being aggressive in the last game, I think that was just as important; help on the boards.

The former Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin got an NCAA waiver to play after signing with an agent with the intention of entering the NBA G League draft. He’s scored in double figures in 12 of his 14 games, and his talent is starting to show.

“I think he can just do things that other people can’t because he’s good at it, whether it’s a hard rebound or a hard shot. That fadeaway he had in the first or the second overtime, there’s not a lot of guys in our league that can make that shot,” Lottich said. “You can tell he’s really getting rid of the rust now. Hopefully he continues to improve and explodes.

While he converted 40% of his 3-point attempts, King did most of his work at the wheel, post or in the often-scrutinized midrange.

“It’s just a little unpredictable,” King said of his versatility. “These aren’t photos that people really take, so they don’t expect people to shoot them that much. But if I get to an open spot or a spot that I’m comfortable with, whether it’s a 3, post, or midrange, I think it’s okay.

Kithier’s health

Michigan State transfer Thomas Kithier missed his fourth game with a lingering back injury in Wednesday’s 78-75 overtime loss to Illinois State. He dressed for practice, going through non-contact drills.

“He’s progressed from a point where it was redheaded to walk, now to a point where he gets on the court and moves a bit, how does he react to that,” Lottich said. “Once he answers that, we can now start throwing him into less aggressive live situations.”

Krikke has already spoken about the importance of Kithier to the team. Lotitch added this week.

“Tom does so much for us, both offensively and defensively,” Lottich said. “There aren’t many five men you can give him to the top job and in many ways he becomes your point guard.”

The Beacons are 9-9 with a 2-4 record in the Missouri Valley Conference when Kithier is in the lineup, and now 11-13, 4-8 overall. He entered Wednesday as the team’s leading rebounder and second in assists, behind Anderson.

“It’s frustrating for me, it’s frustrating for him and it’s frustrating for everyone,” Lottich said. “I don’t know the schedule because the returns are really unpredictable. I’ll tell you he’s getting better, he’s starting to do more things and I hope we get him back on the pitch here very soon.

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