Adam Anhold’s journey to play Division I college basketball included several stops over the course of a few years.
What was another couple months?
The 2017 Janesville Craig High graduate made his debut with Western Illinois on Jan. 2 and quickly saw his playing time increase the next weekend.
But it all came after Anhold spent much of his first semester not in Macomb, Illinois, but back in Janesville, undergoing knee surgery and getting through a bout with COVID-19.
“It’s been a roller coaster, for sure,” Anhold said.
Anhold arrived on campus in August, he said, but wasn’t able to get in the gym for about a month as the athletic teams worked their way through COVID protocols.
Around the end of September, the Leathernecks started getting to a point where they could work out together as a full team.
“That was going well. Then, we had a practice on Halloween, and I just kind of landed wrong and torn the meniscus in my knee,” Anhold said. “It was a weird fall. I felt a pop behind my leg and was scared at first. I felt OK that night, but the next morning was rough.”
In the grand scheme of things, a torn meniscus was about as good a prognosis as Anhold could have received.
It meant undergoing surgery to scope out his knee, but instead of a major injury that might have cost him an entire season, he was due to be out six or eight weeks.
However, around the time of the Nov. 10 surgery, Anhold found himself in another battle, as well. Though he tested negative for COVID-19 in the days leading up to the surgery, the night that he got home from the operation he started feeling under the weather.
“I remember waking up at home after surgery and just had sweat through my clothes and had a fever,” Anhold said.
He went back in for another test the next day, and it came back positive for COVID.
“It was rough. I don’t know how I got it, but I wound up losing 18 pounds in four days,” Anhold said. “I couldn’t eat anything; those first four days were rough. I lost my taste and smell for about a month.
“And the body aches didn’t help with my knee. My knee shouldn’t have felt too bad. After the first four days, I started feeling good again. And I’ve put most of the weight back on.”
All told, Anhold was home for nearly two months.
Once he got back to Macomb, he started working his way back in practice. Anhold said he has had to sit out practices here and there as he has built up the strength in his knee.
Jeter and his staff began working Anhold into their lineup at the beginning of January. He made his debut Jan. 2, playing five minutes against North Dakota State. The two means met again the next night, and Anhold scored nine points in 13 minutes of action.
On a road trip to South Dakota State a week later, Anhold had what you might call a bit of a Division I breakout.
In the first game, he went 6 of 11 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line for 16 points and nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds. He followed that up with 11 points and seven boards in 23 minutes the following night.
“It’s progressed. That weekend (at South Dakota State) was really fun to be out there and getting into the flow of things with everyone,” Anhold said. “They (the coaches) told me before I tore my knee what my role was going to be. After I tore it, they were pretty bummed. I didn’t really know how Coach would work me in. But it’s been good. We’re just building off what I can do and what I can take right now.”
This past weekend, Western Illinois hosted South Dakota. Anhold had nine points and added three rebounds and two blocks in Friday’s 65-60 loss.
All this after what had been a winding road through the college basketball landscape.
Anhold committed to Division I Bemidji State out of high school, He transferred out after a semester there and redshirted that season.
Two seasons ago, Anhold was an all-American at the junior college level while playing for Madison College.
He spent last season at Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois. He played under Chad Boudreau, a former assistant under Rob Jeter at UW-Milwaukee and under Pat Miller at UW-Whitewater.
Jeter was hired to take over the Western Illinois program March 30 of last year. Anhold’s verbal commitment to join the Leathernecks—along with two Highland teammates—came quickly thereafter. And Boudreau is now Jeter’s assistant once again.
Now that he’s finally healthy and in the Leathernecks’ rotation, Anhold said he hopes he can help the program turn things around from its 2-9 start.
“I’m happy being back out there, but we need to start winning and having things click,” he said. “We just kind of beat ourselves every game with little mental errors on defense—not matching up or letting guys drive on us.
“We have 14 new guys and just one returner from last year’s team. It’s been tough trying to get everybody to jell and play to each other’s strengths. But I think once we get that going, we could be pretty special.”