"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Recruiting Update: Lance Stemler and Josh Love

Since the loss to Alabama two weeks ago, Tom Crean has been on the road looking for new talent to inject into the MU program for the 2006-2007 season. Over the last couple of days, some of the murkiness of recruiting has cleared and we now have a better sense of where TC is looking -- and how many kids he'll try to sign.

We now know that Ryan Amoroso is leaving Marquette after this semester. Amoroso's departure frees up an additional scholarship for MU, which now has two available tenders.

Until yesterday, we thought MU had a shot to land 6'6" JUCO strongman John Williamson of Cincinnati State. However, Williamson instead became Mick Cronin's first recruit at UC.

With Williamson off the boards, Crean appears to be zeroing in on two other JUCO players:

- - Lance Stemler, a 6'8" forward from Southwestern Illinois College;
- - Josh Love, a 6'8" 230 pound forward from Hill Junior College in Texas;

Stemler is something of a late bloomer who bounced between Bradley and SWIC. As a sophomore he emerged as an All-American, earning the GRAC and Region XXIV "Player of the Year" awards. For the season, Stemler averaged 22 ppg on 58% shooting from the field, including 40% from 3-point range. Stemler led SWIC to the national JUCO tourney this year, including a sixth-place finish nationally. He's expected to choose between SLU (his girlfriend apparently lives in St. Louis), Marquette, Kent State, Nebraska, Georgia and USF. Here's a profile of Stemler from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Also, here's an interesting thread on Stemler from the Billiken Board.

The athletic Josh Love verbally committed to Arizona State last December but re-opened recruiting after coach Rob Evans was fired. Love, a Seattle native, is being recruited by a number of schools with Marquette, Purdue, and South Florida the most heavily involved (others are sure to jump in). Love looks to be a 3/4 combo forward, and averaged roughly 20ppg and 12rpg this season at Hill. He was first-team all conference. Like Stemler, Love is an efficient offensive force who shoots roughly 48% from the field and 44% from behind the arc. Out of high school, Love signed with Eastern Washington before heading to Hill.

The logical assessment here is that Crean views Stemler as a possible replacement for Novak, while Love could command playing time at the '4' or even the '3' - - something Amoroso failed to do as last season progressed. Filling both slots this spring would leave MU with only one additional tender for the 2007 freshman class. MU already has a verbal commitment from combo guard Scott Christopherson.

Coach Crean has pulled a few surprises in the past with spring signees/transfers (as Dwight Burke, Marcus Jackson, Robert Jackson and Karon Bradley all demonstrated), but for now it appears that Stemler and Love are priorities for the MU coaching staff.

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