Marquette’s Top PER Performers
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1. Jimmy Butler, 23.04
It’s becoming harder every game to find something wrong with Jimmy Butler’s game, who continues to be one of the most efficient players in the Big East and is a front-runner for Most Improved in the Big East. During Marquette’s four-game win streak, Butler has averaged 18.5 points and 7 rebounds, while shooting 55 percent from the field.
As the Golden Eagles’ best defender, Butler will have a tough task in front of him with players like Dominique Jones, Jeremy Hazzell, Lance Stephenson, and Gilbert Brown coming up on the schedule. Lazar Hayward might be Marquette’s best player, but there’s no denying the importance of Butler to this Marquette team.
2. Lazar Hayward, 20.94
In one of his best performances at Marquette, Hayward led the Golden Eagles to a fantastic road win over Providence by pouring in 28 points and grabbing nine rebounds. There is beginning to be a sense of urgency in Hayward’s game as the 6-foot-6 senior’s days at Marquette are numbered, regardless of whether or not they make the tournament.
Marquette will only go as far as Hayward lets them. He has the potential to take over games on offense and shut down taller players on defense, but can also get into foul trouble and fall in love with the three-pointer too much. As long as Hayward is playing well, so will Marquette.
3. Joseph Fulce, 15.24
Surprised to see Fulce towards the top of this list? Don’t be. The junior from Texas has quietly put together a nice season and has done well in the limited time he has received. He isn’t going to provide a post presence for 30 minutes a game and grab double-digit rebounds, but he has been a great player off the bench who, “surprisingly”, guards bigger than he really is.
With such a short bench in the front court due to injuries, Fulce has been an important body to have. He is efficient when he plays, regardless of how short the stints are, and rebounds well per minute. His numbers are inflated because he only plays 11.4 minutes per game, but he still plays well.
4. Darius Johnson-Odom, 14.77
Marquette is experienced in the back court with seniors Maurice Acker and David Cubillan, but it has been Johnson-Odom who has meant the most to the Golden Eagles, supplanting himself as the third best player on the team. The sophomore from Raleigh has proved to be a lethal scorer and his defense is coming along nicely, but still needs improvement.
The one thing that makes Marquette such a sleeper team in the NCAA is their ability to shoot so well from beyond the arc. The three-point barrage starts with Johnson-Odom, who is shooting over 50 percent for the season. Teams have learned to respect DJO’s range, which is why his ability to drive and finish at the rim has been so important.
5. Maurice Acker, 13.26
No one expected Maurice Acker’s ridiculous three-point averages to stay as high as they were earlier in the season, but Acker has still been an important part of the Golden Eagles’ late run. In a five-game span, Acker hit 16-of-18 three-pointers and put up his career high of 23 in a win over Providence.
A senior point guard is one of the most important parts of a team that expects to compete in the NCAA Tournament, and Acker is that guy. He gives up size on defense but he plays stingy, understands Buzz Williams’ system, and runs the fast break better than anyone on the team. Don’t underestimate Acker’s contributions.
6. Dwight Buycks, 10.88
7. David Cubillan, 9.06
8. Erik Williams, 6.9
9. Youssoupha Mbao, 3.76