"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, May 30, 2006

Steve Novak invited to pre-Draft camp

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Steve Novak has accepted an invitation to the pre-draft camp for the NBA which is held June 6-10 in Orlando, FL.


"I would say I've been shooting pretty well," the 6-foot-10 Novak said. "But I don't really feel like I need to go into these places and show them I can shoot the ball. I think a lot of the teams I'm working out for know I can shoot it pretty decent and they kind of want to see me do other things -- defend, rebound, make reads and things like that."
Best of luck to Steve.

Complete article

"McGuire" Opens Its Second Run This Week

Dick Enberg's one-man play about legendary Marquette coach Al McGuire returns to the Helfaer Theater from June 1 - June 11. Enberg spoke with OnMilwaukee.com about his first foray into theatrical writing.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Noteworthy Items

We hope everybody is enjoying a safe and restful Memorial Day Weekend. Here are a couple of noteworthy items about MU and the Big East:

- - Andy Katz reports that the expanded Big East is in great shape. The net of it: the league is sound and rolling in the dough (thanks to a huge TV contract and blowout ratings). Also, expect an 18 game conference schedule for 2006-2007.

- - Crean opines on Dwyane Wade in today's column by Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Bozich also admits that is favorite NBA player is Dwyane Wade -- "Then there is my favorite NBA player, the guy I cannot take my eyes off -- Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat." Good morning, Rick Pitino!

- - Marquette University ended the 2005-2006 season ranked 18th overall in attendance averaging 13,998 per game. Marquette was third overall for private schools and third in Big East attendance as well. Here is the link to the NCAA's .pdf on attendance.

- - Ring Out Ahoya has a brief feature on Steve Novak. Click here to read it.

- - MarquetteHoops catches up with the Orlando Magic's Travis Diener. Click here to read it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Worst of the 80s

The offseason gives us the chance to search out content that's quasi-related to Marquette basketball. Or maybe not.

With that in mind today we'll enter the "Worst Video of the 1980s" debate launched by Corey and Mudge. Among the crud they've already cyled through - - Mickey by Toni Basil and Centipede by Rebbe Jackson.

Garbage to be sure. And the war rages on tonight....and I think we have a winner - - the hideous video for Kurtis Blow's Basketball.

This video has it all, not to mention being a lousy example of old school rap. Kurtis has the GeriCurl thing working throughout, employs awful dancers as cheerleaders, and reinforces the early MTV-era mantra that 'every video requires bad dancing'.

Moreover, Kurtis appears to be as coordinated as yours truly and apparently stole the set and street fightin' dance team from the Beat It video. You gotta love dancers tryin to hoop it up! To top it off, Kurtis gave the world a cameo by the Fat Boys.

From a basketball perspective, Blow loses points for not inlcuding a Marquette reference in the song and certainly was banned from all future fantasy basketball leagues for announcing that Kareem was the "center on my starting team".

Sorry, Kurtis but that was Moses' era.

Enjoy (courtesy of YouTube)

Steve Novak Sneaks into the First Round

.......of Gregg Doyel's latest mock draft. Gregg has Novak going at #27 to the Suns - -that would be an outstanding fit!

NBADraft.net has Novak going #37 to the Timberwolves.

Draftexpress.com predicts Steve going in the first round as well, #29 to the Knicks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Amoroso: two perspectives, one biased reporter

In the past two days, MU fans have read more detail about Ryan Amoroso's decision to leave the program. Yesterday, the Racine Journal-Times' Gery Woelfel blogged about Amoroso's situation, and this morning the MJS' Todd Rosiak delivered his Amoroso status report. Predictably, Rosiak offers a balanced take on Amoroso's transfer from MU. Equally predictable, Woelfel was too lazy (or simply not interested) to match Rosiak's effort.

Woelfel continues his years-long trend of taking shots at the MU program. Woelfel used Amoroso's high school coach to further his well-known agenda, namely to tear down Tom Crean and the MU basketball program. At least we didn't have to bear Woelfel's sophomoric name calling of Tom Crean in his latest effort.

Woelfel's coverage of the MU program is inexplicable. He routinely swoops into cover specific situations that reinforce his negative perspective. His all-or-nothing recruiting updates on MU's pursuits of Bryce Webster, Chas McFarland and Lance Stemler were as predictable as his decision to completely ignore the signings of David Cubillan, Trend Blackledge and Maurice Acker. Woelfel did cover the Hayward signing late last year. Of course, he covered Hayward again recently -- only to address rumors surrounding the player's alleged academic status.

Let's get more specific. A quick search of his site pulled up eleven articles focused on Marquette. Mercifully for Woelfel, the search engine does not pull up more dated rants on Marquette or this would look much worse for him and his editors.

We removed passing mentions of Marquette from this evaluation, as well as nickname coverage and NBA draft coverage for Diener or Novak. Of the eleven remaining articles, nine were negative (nearly 82%) -- one even included baseless speculation of Crean being interested in the Indiana job.

Specific to recruits, he only penned one positive article about kids that signed to play for MU (Hayward) but revisited his 'sky is falling' routine for all others. Here are a few examples of Woelfel's work:

Stemler: "Recruit puts Marquette on hold"
McFarland: "Marquette loses another big recruit"
Mitchell: "MU loses recruit to Florida" "
"Majerus, Crean interested in Indiana job?"

The two of the first three articles were important, and were covered by many other media outlets. Of course, those other outlets also covered the kids who actually signed with MU. As for the Stemler article, he never put MU on hold -- he was merely completing the recruiting process. Add in the rumor-mongering, and Woelfel's intentions become ever more apparent.

What makes Woelfel unique is his ability to ignore nearly everything from the MU program that might be viewed as neutral to positive. He's content to wait it out, hoping for the worst. Readers are still waiting for his take on MU's 10-6 inaugural Big East season. And Novak's sublime performance against UConn. And that Novak's remarkable senior season. And Crean's success in developing talent, particularly in the backcourt.

So many possibilities...for resourceful reporters like Rosiak and Fly. With fair and balanced 'reporting' like this, no wonder Woelfel is the king of all media - - in Racine.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Draft Express Evaluates Steve Novak Workout

The folks at DraftExpress.com are evaluating the possibilities of a number of NBA prospects and today take a look at a recent workout by Steve Novak. Recently he attended a workout in suburban D.C. that also featured Rudy Gay, Justin Gray and Alex Loughton.

Here's few quintessential excerpts on Novak:

"Novak is a crafty senior who is already superb at what he does well and is ready to step into his likely NBA role from day one..........."

".........All in all he seems like the type of guy people will look back at in a few years and wonder how in the world he was drafted behind certian players who ended up being busts when the writing on him was all over the wall."

Read it all here- - the DraftExpress team was thoroughly impressed with Novak's performance and NBA potential.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Steve Novak: Senior Athlete of the Year

Over the weekend, Marquettte graduate Steve Novak earned the 2006 Ralph H. Metcalfe Senior Outstanding Athlete Award at the MU Senior Athletic Awards Banquet. Women's soccer player Heather Goranson also received the award.

Per the MU press release:

A consummate winner, Novak helped lead Marquette's men's basketball program to 85 wins, four post season appearances and the 2003 Final Four during his four years. Following his freshman season he was named Conference USA Sixth Man and Freshman of the Year, and for the 2005-06 season he was one of just four unanimous first team All-Big East selections. Novak also earned national acclaim by being named one of the 22 finalists for John R. Wooden Award, college basketball's equivalent to the Heisman. He leaves the men's basketball program as one of only six players all-time to record 1,500 points and 500 rebounds.
Further congratulations are in order for Chris Grimm, Joe Chapman and Mike Kinsella -- 2006 graduates of Marquette University. Nice work, gentlemen. Kinsella will begin graduate studies at MU this fall while he completes his eligibility.

AND A BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE GRADUATING STUDENT MANAGERS -- Andy Klister and Matt Willis. These guys have thankless jobs, and put in an unbelieveable amount of time working for the program. Congratulations guys, and thanks for all of your hard work.

BTW, the namesake of the award that Novak won, Ralph Metcalfe, was an absolute giant of a man. A Marquette alum, Metcalfe was a world-class athlete who earned four Olympic medals highlighted by a silver medal in the 200 yard dash during the tension-filled 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Jesse Owens won the event.

Metcalfe shared the podium with Owens as a member of the gold medal winning 4x100 yard relay team. Metcalfe was even more successful after his athletic career was complete, highlighted by his successful bid for Congress in 1971 where he founded the Congressional Black Caucus.

If you don't know much about Ralph Metcalfe, please read his bio here on Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Transfers, the NCAA, and Loss of Scholarships.

Whenever players leave MU, people wonder if the departures will impact MU's scholarship limits with the NCAA. In a program launched in 2004, the NCAA requires that programs meet standards for academic progress and returning players the following year.

The good news is that despite seeing Ryan Amoroso and Matt Mortensen depart, MU is in no danger of losing a scholarship.

To understand why requires a bit of analysis as to the makeup of the NCAA's requirements. The NCAA requires that teams meet an "academic progress rate" (APR) of 925. That means that MU must attain 92.5% of the possible points for a) keeping players academically eligible, and b) returning them for the following semester.

The APR consists of two components: Academic eligibility and returning for the next semester.

Each player on the roster has a potential to earn 4 points per season--one each for staying academically eligible for the first and second semesters, and one each for returning the following semester.

A player like Dominic James, expected to return for the 06-07 season, will earn 4 points for MU.

A typical transfer player like Ryan Amoroso or Dameon Mason earns 3 points (out of 4 possible) for MU's APR. One for being academically eligible for the fall semester, one for returning for the spring, and one for staying academically eligible in the spring semester. This player does not earn the point for returning next fall.

A player who leaves at the end of the first semester with good academic standing earns 1 of 2 possible points. One for staying academically eligible--but no point for returning the following semester.

Finally, a player like Niv Berkowitz, who leaves mid semester without completing his classes earns zero points. But, MU is only penalized with the possible total of 2 points. So Niv was likely a 0/2 player--not a 0/4--as he only played 2nd semester. He had no possible points in the first semester.

Assuming our senior class completed their classes for the 2nd semester, MU's points this year look like this:

Steve Novak: 4 of 4
Dominic James: 4 of 4
Jerel McNeal: 4 of 4
Wes Matthews: 4 of 4
Joe Chapman: 4 of 4
Ryan Amoroso: 3 of 4
Dan Fitzgerald: 4 of 4
Ousmane Barro: 4 of 4
Jamil Lott: 4 of 4
Mike Kinsella 4 of 4
Chris Grimm: 4 of 4
Dwight Burke: 4 of 4
Matt Mortenten: 3 of 4:

Team Total for this year: 50 of 52. That equates to an APR of 961.

However, the NCAA looks at this number on a two year rotating basis. We need to include our 04-05 roster:

Travis Diener: 4 of 4
Steve Novak: 4 of 4
Dameon Mason: 3 of 4
Joe Chapman: 4 of 4
Ryan Amoroso: 4 of 4
Todd Townsend: 4 of 4
Marcus Jackson: 4 of 4
Ousmane Barro: 4 of 4
Niv Berkowitz: 0 of 2
Mike Kinsella: 4 of 4
Chris Grimm: 4 of 4

Total of 39 of 42.

Finally, the APR for the 03-04 season, was affected by transfers to the point where MU fell below the 92.5 limit:

Karon Bradley: 3 of 4
Carlton Christian: 3 of 4
Brandon Bell: 1 of 2
James Matthews: 0 of 2
Scott Merritt: 4 of 4
Steve Novak: 4 of 4
Terry Sanders: 4 of 4
Joe Champan: 4 of 4
Travis Diener: 4 of 4
Dameon Mason: 4 of 4
Chris Grimm: 4 of 4
Marcus Jackson: 4 of 4
Todd Townsend: 4 of 4

Team Total: 43 of 48.

The three year total is 132 of 142 possible points, for a total of 92.9%. The NCAA reports this number as an APR of 929--ever so slightly ahead of the NCAA minimum of 925. This number will be reported in February or March of 2007, to determine scholarships for the 2007-08 season.

Calculating these numbers shows why Crean is a stickler for holding up a scholarhip release until a player makes his grades. If Mason or Amoroso had left school without completing their coursework, they would have been 2 of 4 on the season. That would have dropped MU to an APR of 915.

There's one more confusing factor--the "squad size adjustment." The NCAA realized that in the initial implementation, schools may be penalized for transfers or academic casualties that occurred in the 03-04 season--before the new rules were put in place. This was especially prevalent in small squad sports. The NCAA developed something called a "squad size adjustment", so that MU was not penalized for the transfers that occurred in the 04 season.

For example, the two year report on MU issued in February (and based on the 03-04 and 04-05 seasons) shows MU with an APR of just 918. However MU didn't lose a scholarship because of the application the "squad size adjustment." The NCAA expects to eliminate this adjustment when 4 years of data are available.

Finally, the NCAA will implement the APR on a 4 year rolling basis beginning with the 2007-08 season. Next year, MU's APR will be based on the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 seasons. After that, the 2003-04 season will be dropped, and data from the 2007-08 will be incorporated.

Like most NCAA rules, the application of the APR can be a bit confusing at first. However, schools like MU who insist on academic progress even for transferring players, should not be hurt under the new rules. Its only the schools that see players flunk out who will be hurt.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Freshman Matt Mortensen dismissed from team

Freshman Matt Mortensen was dismissed from the men's basketball team effective immediately according to a press release issued by the Marquette Athletic Department. Bill Cords issued a very strong statement saying "We hold student-athletes in our programs to high standards as individuals, team members and representatives of the university. Matt’s actions were unacceptable. This is only the second time in my 19 years I’ve taken such an action. However, given the circumstances, I and the university had no choice.

The dismissal means the redshirt freshman will have to find a new home to play basketball next season. It also means an additional scholarship is available for Marquette for next season if Tom Crean wishes to sign another player or bank it for the year after.

"Matt's actions were unacceptable. This is only the second time in my 19 years I’ve taken such an action. However, given the circumstances, I and the university had no choice.”
-Bill Cords, Marquette Athletic Director
Mortensen was expected to play minimally this season coming off a redshirt season last year. He was a forward for Tom Crean's club and hailed from Provo, Utah.

Through a university spokesman, coach Tom Crean said: "I'm disappointed in Matt but supportive of Bill's decision."

Through a university spokesman, coach Tom Crean said: "I'm disappointed in Matt but supportive of Bill's decision."

Here is the complete Marquette Press Release


MILWAUKEE, May 17 - Marquette red-shirt freshman Matt Mortensen (Provo, Utah/Timpview) will not have his scholarship renewed and has subsequently been dismissed from the men’s basketball program, Director of Athletics Bill Cords announced today.

Mortensen has rendered himself ineligible by NCAA rules.

“We hold student-athletes in our programs to high standards as individuals, team members and representatives of the university. Matt’s actions were unacceptable. This is only the second time in my 19 years I’ve taken such an action. However, given the circumstances, I and the university had no choice,” said Cords.

This situation is not related to academics.

No further comment will be available.


Here is the AP coverage of the Mortensen dismissal.

Journal Sentinel Article

MarquetteHoops looks at what the newly opened scholarship means for Tom Crean's recruiting strategy.

One more..... for the commenters below, here's a link to the NCAA eligibility page - - knock yourselves out! :-)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Novak works out for the Bucks

Here's a few articles on Steve Novak's latest job interview:

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offers perspectives from the Bucks' Dave Babcock.

"I think he's a 'tweener,' " said Babcock, who listed Orlando's Pat Garrity and former Houston sharpshooter Matt Bullard as players Novak most closely resembles.

"I don't think he's a 2. He's a shooter. You can play him as a 3, or you can play him as a pick-and-pop 4, where you put him in pick-and-rolls and you make them guard him and he spreads out the defense."

Colin Fly of the AP covers Novak as well. Read about it here, an excerpt appears below
Novak, from Brown Deer, Wis., said he's been told he'll be picked anywhere from the late first round to not at all.

"It's hard to know," Novak said. "I don't go searching for things. I know that it's really going to be hugely dependent on my workouts and what I do and that kind of thing. So I don't try to get to wrapped up because when it comes down to it, it comes to the workouts and proving to the scouts I can play at that level."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Steve Novak Is Ready For His Closeup

Soon-to-be Marquette graduate Steve Novak is hitting the job market later this month, meeting with prospective employers on both an individual and group basis hoping to find the best fit for his skill set.

Todd Rosiak updates readers on Novak's pursuit of the NBA today, noting:

The 6-foot-10 forward will begin his journey toward professional basketball in earnest on Tuesday, when he travels to Washington for a four-day boot camp of individual instruction and personal training arranged by his agent, Doug Neustadt.

Shortly thereafter, Novak will begin crisscrossing the United States for a series of workouts with individual teams, beginning with the Houston Rockets on May 24. From there, he'll also work out for the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and hometown Milwaukee Bucks.

Novak is expecting another six or seven teams to bring him in for workouts as well.

Draft Express currently has Novak going in the early second round as does NBADraft.net.

Good luck, Steve. And congratulations on earning your degree.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Congratulations are in order for Dwyane Wade who was named to the Big East All-Time Dunkadelic First Team. Wade joins legends Patrick Ewing, Darrell Griffith, Kenyon Martin and James White on the first team. As an aside, its blasphemous that 'Cuse's Stephen Thompson was snubbed (he only made 3rd team).

In the biggest upset of the day, Wade was named as the The Big East's All-Time Dunkadelic Team MVP. Few of us anticipated this honor given the hype surrounding Dr. Dunkenstein circa 1980.

Way to go Dwyane! I'm sure he'll cherish this award (pictured).

Internet Roundup: Recruiting recap; Barro making progress

In the last couple of days the guys at Scout.com's MarquetteHoops and Rivals' Ring Out Ahoya! have cranked out some good content on MU hoops.

Here's the Ring Out Ahoya recruiting recap for MU.

Here's the MarquetteHoops update on Ousmane Barro.

Nice work, fellas.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A stroll down nightmare lane....the MU Gold 1 year ago

It was one year ago this past week that Marquette announced a new nickname to be....... the Marquette Gold. Do you remember? Or have you buried it in the deep recesses of your brain hoping to never have it surface again.

Well, just in case you wanted to stroll down memory lane again, we have archived much of the discussion of the day with applicable articles, polls, etc.

Can't guarantee all the links or movies still work, but here you go. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page first after you click on the archive link. The older articles start at the bottom and then work themselves progressively through the timeline.

The Marquette Gold Archives (click and then scroll to the bottom)


Dan Fitzgerald Update

In case you missed it, Marquette Hoops has an informative Q/A with Dan Fitzgerald up on their site. Check it out here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Marquette University Desktop Wallpaper

Now that MU has completed its spring recruiting season it feels much more like the 'off-season', doesn't it?

Well, if u have some time to kill we found a bunch of different desktop wallpaper options from Marquette, including one of the UConn upset.

Check it out here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Belleville News-Democrat: Trend Signs with MU

Here's an article on Trend Blackledge from today's Belleville (IL) News-Democrat. In the article, Trend indicates how excited he is about going to "high major program like Marquette" to play in "the top league in the country".

Per TC's comments, Trend should expect to spend plenty of time in the Bill and Gwen Cords Strength and Conditioning Center at the Al. Also, looks like Trend will have to choose another course of study while at MU (unless the university has a new phys educ program -- readers, let us know) Here's the entire article.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Trend Blackledge Commits to Marquette

Tom Crean was bound and determined to bolster the front line for the 2006-2007 season and today snared a commitment from 6'8" JUCO forward Lawrence Trend Blackledge. Blackledge, a teammate of Lance Stemler's at SWIC, is a native of Carbondale, Illinois.

Blackledge's commitment was first reported by Todd Rosiak of the MJS. Here's his profile from the SWIC site, which includes comments from his coach. Also, here's a link to the final stats from SWIC's season.

Blackledge averaged 11ppg, 7 rpg and better than 3bpg last season for SWIC, which went 34-4 and advanced to the National JC Tournament. Blackledge, who goes by his middle name, was an honorable mention All-American last season as well as a team captain for the Blue Storm.

Trend will join Dwight Burke, Mike Kinsella, Jamil Lott and Ousmane Barro in MU's frontcourt rotation next season. As a lanky, athletic player, Blackledge potentially fills a void for MU at the forward positions, especially on defense. None of MU's returning big men would have matched up well with the more athletic combo forwards in the Big East -- players like Jeff Green, Wilson Chandler, Sam Young, and Curtis Sumpter. With Trend in the mix, TC will go to battle with arguably his deepest, most athletic team yet.

Welcome to Marquette, Trend.

Todd Rosiak offers insight into how TC hopes to use Blackledge in the upcoming season -- Trend's versatility and athleticism will be welcome additions to the rotation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stemler Commits to Indiana

JUCO All-American Lance Stemler, MU's top recruiting target this spring, committed to the Indiana Hoosiers this afternoon. Here's a blurb from Rosiak. The commitment has not been confirmed by Indiana. The Fort Wayne paper indicates that Stemler's formal commitment will come on Tuesday.

Congratulations to Lance.

What will Tom Crean do with his remaining scholarship? Perhaps he'll bank it -- though its been reported that Vanderbilt transfer DeMarre Carroll is considering Marquette among several others. JUCO forward Josh Love is another player linked to Marquette earlier this sping.