#17 Marquette Men's Basketball Preview

Marquette Golden Eagles

Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #5 Big East
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2010-11: 22-15, 9-9
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Buzz Williams (69-37 at Marquette, 83-54 overall)

Many had their doubts when Marquette hired Coach Buzz Williams to replace Tom Crean. Those doubts are now gone. Coach Williams has done a great job over the last three years, culminating with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen last season. This could be the best Golden Eagles team he has had yet. Darius Johnson-Odom emerged as a superb all-around player last season, leading the team with 15.8 points and adding 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest. Johnson-Odom is the team’s most dangerous outside shooter, but even when his shot is not falling, the 6-2 senior will score by getting to the basket.

Who’s Out:
There are a couple starters who are gone, including first round draft pick Jimmy Butler. Butler was a big, dynamic wing who was just behind Johnson-Odom in the scoring column. His scoring will be missed, but his rebounding and versatility may be missed even more. The other departing starter is Dwight Buycks. The point guard was a decent scorer, but more importantly he could keep the opposition honest with his ability to knock down long balls with consistency. He also led the way with 3.4 assists per game. Robert Frozena, Joseph Fulce and Erik Williams are also gone after seeing limited action a season ago.

Who’s In:
The most familiar name should be Jamil Wilson, a transfer from Oregon. The 6-7 Wisconsin native headed back home after spending one year with the Ducks. During that season, Wilson started 14 games and averaged 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds. Wilson was a stud coming out of high school and nothing has really changed. He was a great practice player while sitting out last season and if he can take that into game situations, Wilson will not just be starting, he will be an extremely productive player who steps right into Butlers old spot. Wilson should be the familiar name, but Todd Mayo is pretty recognizable too. O.J.’s little brother, Mayo has a knack for scoring and should provide an offensive spark off of the bench as a freshman. Juan Anderson is another big wing who can shoot. He will likely spend some time stuck behind Wilson at the three spot unless this team plays small at times. Derrick Wilson has the strength to battle in the Big East right now and he could be a valuable frontcourt reserve sooner or later.

Who to Watch:
Johnson-Odom is good, but this team needs a point guard to get him the ball. Luckily, they have a couple good options. Junior Cadougan is a true point guard and the offense seemed to perform pretty well during those 20 minutes a game or so when he was on the floor. He can handle the ball and keep the turnovers down, but his lack of scoring or shooting prowess has kept him on the bench. That may be the case again this year if Vander Blue starts living up to the hype. Blue had very high expectations thrown his way during his freshman campaign, but failed to live up to them. He did play solid defense and scored effectively around the basket, but his outside shot was just bad. And, ideally, Blue is a wing, not a point guard. He can run the show if his offensive and defensive presence needs to be felt on the floor 30 minutes per game, but things need to click for Blue before that happens. It will transpire at some point, but for now Marquette has the luxury of letting Blue come in off the bench on the wing and seeing how it goes.

Final Projection:
Jae Crowder and Chris Otule proved to be an effective frontcourt duo last season. Crowder is the typical undersized bruising Marquette power forward. During his first year with the Golden Eagles, after spending a couple years at the junior college level, Crowder averaged 11.8 points and a team high 6.8 rebounds. Otule is not much of a scoring threat, but he is a big body who can swat away shots. Davante Gardner showed enough potential last season to team up with Otule and provide 40 minutes of decent play out of the five spot. Jamail Jones can provide more frontcourt depth, but the success or failure of this squad will likely hinge on the production of the point guards. If Blue can be more consistent or Cadougan develops an outside shot, Marquette can get back to the Sweet Sixteen.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Junior Cadougan, Junior, Guard, 4.0 points per game
Darius Johnson-Odom, Senior, Guard, 15.8 points per game
Jamil Wilson, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Jae Crowder, Senior, Forward, 11.8 points per game
Chris Otule, Junior, Center, 5.1 points per game

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#82 Juan Anderson
#136 Derrick Wilson

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