In the Locker Room with Josh Merritt and Allison Anderson

If opposites attract, then someone forgot to tell the power couple of junior Allison Anderson and senior Josh Merritt. Not only do they both start at point guard for their respective basketball teams, they’re also both captains and Law and Society majors. The Review recently sat down with the couple to talk about their teams, the NBA lockout, two pairs of underwear, and… getting married?

Ariel Lewis, Sports Editor

Obviously you guys met through basketball, but who liked whom first, and did Josh make a move first?

Josh: [Laughs.] Do you want me to tell the real story?

Allison: Sure — I mean, might as well.

JM: Someone bet her a dollar to come talk to me because they knew she liked me. That’s how it initially started. But I kind of didn’t talk to her.

You didn’t like her?

JM: I guess I was nervous. I liked her a lot, too. And I was offended that it was only a dollar. But then she made up for it by saying that, “Well, obviously I like you because it was a dollar — if it was more money, then you should be offended.” So we kind of started talking through Facebook chat, which is corny.

Do your teammates ever give you a hard time because you’re dating?

AA: The Love & Basketball quotes get pretty old. We hear that a lot.

Have either of you dated basketball players before? Are they like “your type”?

AA: [Laughs.] I mean…

JM: Uh… I don’t really have a type. But it’s easier [to date another basketball player], especially because after a game, she really understands what I’m going through and I don’t have to explain every little detail because she already knows what I’m talking about. It makes that aspect a lot easier. And it’s nice to have someone who trains as hard as you do — well, she’s better than me, but it’s nice having someone who can push you like that.

So you play each other, and she beats you?

JM: She beat me a couple times.

I’m surprised you’re admitting that.

JM: Well, she’s a lot better than I thought she was. And I’m always amazed at how well she plays.

Does his game impress you?

AA: I definitely don’t think I’m better than him. I think he’s better than me. So it’s good that we both think we’re equally good. We play one-on-one all the time, and it gets really intense.

What are your thoughts about this year’s teams, and how have your roles on the team changed as you’ve become upperclassmen?

AA: This year is the first year I’m captain, so my role is kind of changing, but not really. Being a point guard you kind of have to be a leader anyway, but now it’s official. Being an upperclassman, you’re more in the spotlight and have to set an example for your teammates.

Our team looks really good this year. I think we’re probably going to be the best that Oberlin has been in a long time. Our first-years look really good, and everyone who is returning has gotten better, so I think we’re going to be really successful this year.

JM: For me it’s similar, along the same lines. Since I’m a senior, it’s more about making the transition and trying to turn the program around. We have a ton of first-years who came in that can contribute right away. [My role] is more to show them what college basketball is like and [make] sure that they’re working out hard, things like that. It’s more of a coach’s role, I would say, than a player’s role.

I feel like we’re going to be really good this year, too. Even though we’re kind of small, I think we can use that to our advantage. We have a lot of shooters on our team, and we have a lot of guys who can contribute, so practice is more competitive. I’m kind of sad it’s my last year, but I’m looking forward to it.

Josh, what would cap off your career here? What would be the ideal finish to your senior season?

JM: Honestly, I would be happy if we made it to our conference tournament. I would be really happy with that. If we lost in the first round, that’s perfectly fine. I just want to show people that we can make it. I feel like it would be a great springboard for the first-years coming in now, in helping to turn the program around. I think that would be the ultimate goal for me.

What are your thoughts on the NBA lockout? Maybe you can explain it to me; I don’t really understand it.

JM: To me it just sounds like people want money, and people are greedy. Obviously the owners want to make money, and the players want to make money, so they’re having tension there. But I think it’s silly. At the end of the day, it is entertainment, and we place way too much value on entertainment. We have people who actually go to [graduate] school for eight years and don’t make nearly as much money as these people. But obviously, I’m not in their place so I can’t really speak to that all that much. I just wish it would end soon so millions of people can enjoy basketball again.

Do you have any favorite professional or college teams? Do you ever get competitive over things like that?

AA: Not so much, just because I don’t really follow basketball as much as he does. I kind of just watch good games whereas he probably follows a specific team more than I do.

On a serious note, don’t you guys ever disagree on anything?!

JM: We fight over small things. One-on-one [basketball] games turn into fights, as corny as it may sound.

That’s better than fighting over serious things, I suppose. You two have been dating for a while, so you probably know all sorts of strange things about each other. Can you tell me something cute or weird about the other person?

JM: She actually hates teddy bears. I don’t know how cute that is, but I’m assuming it’s something that many people don’t know about.

AA: Josh wears two pairs of underwear every day. And he keeps all of his shoes in their original shoeboxes even after he has had them for years.

I wasn’t planning on going here, but you’ve reminded me about this crazy statistic that something like 70 percent of Oberlin couples end up getting married. Any thoughts on that one?

JM: Surprisingly, that doesn’t scare me, because I really love her.

That’s the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

JM: Yeah… it’s not scary. If this was just a college thing, I would be nervous, like ‘Oh, don’t get any ideas.’ But we’re very similar, very competitive; we enjoy life, we enjoy many of the same things. I definitely could see myself marrying her, so it’s not really a bad statistic for me.

Let me guess — Allison, you agree?

AA: [Laughs.] Yeah, I mean I don’t see [our relationship] stopping, so I don’t really think about it like that. And I definitely think I could see myself being with him.