Former SPASH Trevor Anderson ends his basketball career due to injury

SPASH’s all-time leading scorer Trevor Anderson saw his college basketball career come to an end last Wednesday as a lingering back injury ended his final year of athletic eligibility.

Anderson was hoping to finish on a high with Valparaiso in 2021-22, after several injuries prevented him from maintaining momentum in his college career.

“I was kind of trying to find the love of basketball again,” Anderson said. “With everything that happened early in college and all my injuries and all that, it was kind of a ‘successful’ year for Valpo.”

CONTINUED: Four wrestling winners, three two-goal performances and two basketball standouts: Who was Wisconsin center’s AOTW prep?

Injuries at UWGB, Wisconsin, one last lap at Valparaiso

Anderson began his college career at UW-Green Bay in 2016, starting the first 20 games of the season before his back issues began to develop. The problem stemmed from hip surgeries Anderson had undergone before the turn of the year. While trying to play through the first signs of the injury, a mid-season training session in the paint ended disastrously.

“I drove into the lane, stopped jumping and my whole back came out. I had numbness and tingling in my leg,” Anderson said.

He was diagnosed with spondylosis, a spinal disc degeneration. Anderson ended up transferring to the University of Wisconsin at the end of that year, which forced him to put the 2017-18 season on hold due to transfer rules. Upon returning to action the following year, Anderson tore his ACL eight games into his first season with the Badgers.

“Then it was kind of like everything in my body started to go wrong. My back hurt, my hips hurt, my knee hurt, my feet hurt. A bit of everything,” said said Anderson.

Back issues in particular persisted through the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons with the Badgers, partly leading him to pursue a fresh start in his final year of eligibility with Valparaiso.

“I just wanted to have fun for my last go-around. I had no interest in playing overseas after (college) basketball, so I knew that was it,” Anderson said. “I just wanted everything to line up with what I was looking to achieve.”

The ball finally seemed to bounce into Anderson’s path at the start of the season. He was among the team leaders in minutes averaging 9.2 points per game in 17 starts and 19 total appearances. While Anderson called last week’s injury and the realization that his playing days are likely on a “hard pill to swallow”, he said he appreciated what this year meant for his overall love of the game. .

“I really enjoyed my time here, even though it was cut short,” Anderson said. “I feel like I’ve regained some of that love for basketball that I kind of lost over the years, just with the circumstances that I went through.”

Stay close to basketball

Anderson is pursuing a Masters in Sports Administration at Valparaiso, and while the future remains uncertain, he can definitely see himself staying involved in basketball. Whether in coaching, personal training or team administration, Anderson said his background puts into perspective the fact that not all of the impacts basketball feels happen on the court.

“It’s kind of something when I make these decisions that I’m really going to keep in mind because whatever you do, if success comes with it, if it doesn’t, at the end of the day , all you have is the people that you meet along the way,” Anderson said. “I think that’s really the only thing that matters, building the people around you and being there for them as much that they are for you.”

He explained that the latter part of his journey involved a bit of unlearning the idea that playing basketball was the “end of everything”, while embracing it more as a stepping stone to the next phase of his life.

“As much pain as it has brought me over the past five or six years, it’s also brought me a lot of really good things and a lot of joy along the way,” Anderson said. “That’s kind of the perspective I was talking about, not dwelling on something you can’t control and then becoming ill-willed towards something that has meant so much to you over the years.”

As Anderson reflects on his time on the court, he said his proudest moment was not an effective shooting night or a performance as a team leader, but staying true to himself.

“Did it bite my butt sometimes? Absolutely, but I think if you’re not being authentically, shamelessly, what’s the point of doing what you do?” Anderson said. “That’s all you can do is be yourself. I’m proud that through it all, through all the ups and downs, I’ve stayed true to myself, true to my hometown.”

Contact USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin sports reporter Zac Bellman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ZacBellman_WNY.

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