Last season wasn't a total wash for Fordham's Antwoine Anderson.
While the freshman guard was ruled ineligible and had to sit out the entire 2013-14 campaign, that didn't prevent him from using the time off to do what he could to improve his game.
Still, it wasn't easy for Anderson, who found himself on the sideline of the sport he loves.
"It was real difficult," Anderson said after Fordham's workout on Tuesday. "It was very challenging, but at the end of the day it really benefited me because I got in the weight room, and I got to watch guys like (former Fordham guard) Branden Frazier.
"That was a good [learning] experience for me."
Anderson said that helped prepare him for what will be his rookie season.
"Coach Pecora told me to be ready to have the ball in my hands," he said. "Frazier had the ball in his hands a lot. Just watching how he came off pick and rolls, shooting, his decision making—it helped me a lot."
Before arriving at Fordham, Anderson played at Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, New York, where he averaged 16 points, four assists and four rebounds per game as a senior.
He led the Kings to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association title, to the semifinals of the Federation Tournament of Champions and to the Section V Class AA1 title.
Anderson was a team captain for his junior and senior seasons.
As a result of the extra time in the weight room, Anderson said he's up to about 175 pounds.
Of course, this is a player whose game is predicated on speed. Everything he does on the court, at both ends of the floor, he does at lightning-quick speed.
"Antwoine reminds me of players I've had in the past that were almost like football cornerbacks or safeties playing basketball," head coach Tom Pecora said. "He's pretty strong and physical, he's a good on-the-ball defender, he can really push the ball and he's a sick athlete.
"We just have to get him to understand how to play the game at different speeds," he added. "Great players do. And then to make good decisions at whatever speed he's playing at."
Previously, Pecora had said that Anderson "can get from one baseline to the other as fast as anybody I've coached."
That type of speed and athleticism will be useful on both ends of the floor.
Anderson said he takes pride in his defense and also in his ability on the fast break and being able to get easy baskets.
"I can bring a lot of defense to the team, especially as far as full-court," he said. "I have the foot speed to keep my man in front of me.
"Defense starts with ball pressure. If there's a lot of ball pressure it's hard for the other team to get into their offense."
Anderson enters the mix at an exciting time for the program. Despite the Rams' struggles over the years, there's a palpable sense of optimism as the team prepares for the 2014-15 season.
That's largely a result of players like Anderson, who's part of the influx of talent that's made its way to Rose Hill.
"It's a completely different team," Anderson said. "Everybody brings something different to the table. It's really complementing each other's game."
"We're a lot more athletic," he added. "It should be interesting."
Quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.
Charles Costello covers the Fordham Rams for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @CFCostello
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