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Something Special Brewing With Recruiting Class

As Marquette begins the stretch run on one of the most memorable seasons in their school’s history and prepares to say goodbye to seniors Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal, Dominic James, and Dwight Burke, it’s hard not to look ahead at the stellar recruiting class that will walk onto campus next year to replace them.

The class is led by 6 foot, 6 inch combo-forward lefty Jeronne Maymon. Maymon is the front runner for Mr. Basketball for the state of Wisconsin and will more than likely come in right away and see major minutes. Maymon has played mostly inside this year, but his coach sites this to the fact that he is the tallest player on the team. Overall on offense, he is a great slasher and finishes with power at the rim and is great in transition, something he noted as a reason why he chose the Golden Eagles. Defensively, he is an excellent rebounder and plays very strong in the post and will contribute right away. He has struggled with grades over the year but I have faith that Buzz is not going to take any bag eggs on the team. Guys like Wesley Matthews and Lazar Hayward have set that standard at Marquette.

Jeronne Maymon should make an impact right away in the Marquette lineup.

Jeronne Maymon should make an impact right away in the Marquette lineup.

Next in line is Junior Cadougan, a point guard from from Canada, who played his ball in Texas. He stands 6’2’’ and weighs in the range of 220 pounds. When I watch Cadougan’s film, I think of Levance Fields. Not only do they have the same body type, but Cadougan plays very physical and seems to always find the open man. He has a nice step back jumper as well as the decent court vision. He sometimes looks to score first and can play out of control, but has a lot of potential. He had an outstanding summer which led to his recruitment from Buzz Williams and he will have the chance to come in and compete for the point guard position next year.

Rounding out the 4-star recruits for this class is Erik Williams, a 6’7” guard-forward from Cypress, Texas. Williams is a product of Tom Crean recruiting who opted to stay with the Golden Eagles after Crean’s departure due to his relationship with current coach Buzz Williams. The one thing Williams does very well is use his speed. With his size, no one expects him to be as fast as he is and he is great in transition offense because of it. He broke his foot last year which took some of the national spotlight off of him, but his combination of size and speed is exactly what Marquette looks for out of its wings. He is more of a product than the other two but could be a key role player for Marquette next year, who will have to go deeper in their roster.

Two other contributors that will help the transition process for Marquette include recruits SG Dwight Buycks, a junior college transfer junior from Iowa, and Brett Rosebro, a PF from Pennsylvania. Buycks’ experience may push him into the starting lineup if he is able to beat out the likes of Williams, Maymon, and potentially Jimmy Butler/David Cubillan. Buycks has an excellent outside shot and Rosebro is a project that Buzz Williams says could be the steal of this recruiting class. The Golden Eagles may also have an ace up their sleeve in power forward Dashonte Riley out of Detroit. Riley originially signed with Georgetown but then backed out of his commitment, citing that he made his decision too early. After his back out, Marquette went hard after the 6’11” forward and must have made an impact. He attended the Marquette-UConn game which had to be a great recruiting tool, and as of March 4th has narrowed his choices down to Marquette and Syracuse. The one thing that helps Marquette is that Syracuse is loaded with young talent in their front court, while the only real big men currently on Marquette’s roster are Chris Otule and Liam McMorrow. It would be a huge improvement on an already stellar class if Riley decides to come to Marquette, but either way this class is shaping up to what could be the foundation of Marquette basketball for a while.

With Tom Crean leaving and three of Marquette’s top four players leaving this year, it was vital for Buzz Williams to come in and make his mark on a program that could have gone either way. He has done an excellent job with the season so far, implementing the run n’ gun offense and letting his players’ athleticism do the rest. But more kudos is due to him based on what he did recruiting this year. I can’t help but picture Golden Eagle fans around Wisconsin, 4 years from now, talking about how much we are going to miss Maymon, Cadougan, and Williams. If the three of them are able to start next year and build the chemistry that our current seniors did, the results could be even bigger than where Marquette stands now. Toss Dashonte Riley into the equation and the possibilities become even bigger. Maymon (46), Cadougan (60) and Williams (99) are, on average, ranked higher than James (61), Matthews (85), and McNeal (99) were. In no way am I saying that at the snap of a finger we are going to see the same results. Our seniors are where they are because of dedication of staying four years, hard work, chemistry, and brotherhood. What I am saying is that the pieces are there and it has me very excited about the state of Marquette Basketball.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, Marquette Golden Eagles | , , , | 2 Comments

Marquette Starters Getting Too Tired Down the Stretch

After watching part 4 of “the gauntlet” crumble before my eyes after Marquette went up 9 only to be outscored bby 24 points, I really began to realize how tired our starters are getting at the end of games. No, I am not an idiot that is going to say that you need to play the bench players more, although that might do the trick. I realize that we have a weak bench that contributes just 11 points per game and that our starting five might be the most talented all-around, with no real weak spots minus Burke. While, unfortunately, the loss of Dominic James will make the bench one man deeper (David Cubillan), it clearly comes at a costly price. I also realize that Buzz, ever since the Rutgers game when the backups nearly blew the game, has not been one to take the starters out unless they are in foul trouble or absolutely winded. While this is great and definitely keeps the pressure on teams to keep THEIR starting five on the court, it’s starting to take a toll on the Golden Eagles. I picked up numbers on Marquette’s starters’ minutes per game compared to the other top tier teams in the Big East as well as the other top teams in the AP rankings. The stats were pretty amazing, have a look:

minutes

Now, take into consideration a couple of things. First is that I used the average number of minutes that Dominic James played despite him being out for the year. Acker as a starter is averaging 31.7 minutes per game while James averaged 34.5. However, it makes sense to include James’ numbers in the discussion because even though Marquette’s stats would go down if I include Acker, it’s not because the bench is stepping up, but rather the injury is forcing us to use the bench and production is dropping significantly. The other is to note that Marquette’s numbers, despite almost being the highest in both categories (Oklahoma’s overall minutes were the only bigger), it says even more that Marquette probably played the easiest non-conference schedule of anyone on this list. What this says is that Marquette’s overall minutes are even lower than they should be because of the “give-me” games that Marquette played, notably Presbyterian (starters averaged 23.8 minutes), Houston Baptist (25.2) and IPFW (25.4). It’s really a testament to the starters, especially Matthews, McNeal, and Hayward. They are going out every night, knowing that they need to play 35+ minutes to give their team a chance, and they do it. Going back to the point, however, it really shows against great teams that can rest their guys with about 9 minutes to go and have them come in fresh with 4 to play and steamroll a team like Marquette who has had their starters in the whole second half. I am not Buzz Williams and I would never question anything he does, because he knows more about basketball than I probably ever will, but it would be nice to see him go somewhat deeper into his bench. With the loss of James this has happened, but even so I would like to see Joe Fulce or Pat Hazel come in and give Wes or Jerel a breather in the last two minutes or so of a half. We see this a lot in the NBA and while time is more precious in college, seeing Wesley and Jerel beat tired at the end of the game gives us little to no chance at beating teams with depth. Those teams tend to be the better ones, and in the tournament, the other teams listed in the graphic above are the ones you need to beat if you want to end up in Detroit.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, Marquette Golden Eagles | , , , | Leave a comment