"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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Morning grinds

A few items of note regarding MU..........

Marquette Tribune's Steve Yanda paints himself green with envy at the opportunities that await Jerel McNeal. Yanda rightly expects McNeal to declare for the NBA draft shortly -- but to do so without an agent, and ultimately return to MU.

Now for the main event.

Mike DeCourcy says it will be tough for MU (and PC) to recruit in the Big East because the league is, well, too tough -- and infers that new head coaches Buzz Williams and Keno Davis might be in over their heads.

Nobody is denying that the Big East is rough, but DeCourcy downplays MU's strengths to the point where he views PC as a program on par with MU. Of course, this is not the case on any level, just look at the relative successes of each program in the last decade, not to mention facilities, fan support, television appearances, and NBA footprint. MU certainly left itself open to criticism for hiring Buzz Williams -- but the PC comparison is a non sequitur.

Still, DeCourcy marginalizes Marquette's position in the Big East:

"When the Marquette job opened and its fans wondered if Xavier's Sean Miller would be interested in moving, the answer was obvious -- but not to them."

Few MU fans (any?) expected MU to land Miller. The buzz on Miller's interest in potentially moving on from Xavier was more of a media creation than any Marquette fan's expectation. When the Pitt job opens up, Miller will move on. Fine with me.

"Marquette built one of the nation's best practice facilities and has shown a willingness to invest in coaching salaries, but it cannot change the fact it is at the Western edge of an Eastern league."

The 'western edge of an Eastern league' reeks of spin from competitive coaches, or even coaches formerly on the MU staff. Despite their proximity to the Center of the Big East Universe, programs like Seton Hall, Rutgers, St John's and Providence have somehow struggled to be competitive for what, a decade or more? To read this column, you'd expect that MU had failed miserably during its Big East tenure.

Players who grow up in Wisconsin generally dream of playing in the Big Ten, which is one reason the Badgers have enjoyed an edge in drawing the state's elite prospects

Marquette never was a program built on the backs of talent from the Dairy State. MU has always gotten its share of local kids (Diener and Novak for example), but historically recruited with greater success regionally and nationally. This is a non-issue for the program.

Both Marquette and Providence have hired promising coaches. But each has moved out of his geographic comfort zone and will have to overcome that.

Hmmm........After DeCourcy just pointed out that homestate kids don't flock to play ball at MU how can he now say that hiring a coach from outside the state (or Midwest) is now a disadvantage? Should MU have doubled-down with a yokel so he could swim upstream in a state where the cultish following of the red-clad flagship institution is culturally ingrained?

When Marquette hired Tom Crean, geography mattered more than it does now. With Marquette playing in an East Coast-based league, a coach with a national reputation as a strong recruiter just might be the right fit (process be damned), if for no other reason than being on the 'western edge of an Eastern league'.

Big East battles aren't confined to the court. In fact, the confrontations along the recruiting trail can be even more intense. No joke.

Agreed. And let's face it, after landing the blowout class headlined by the Three Amigos, Tom Crean delivered a pair of decidedly underwhelming classes to follow. Simply put, other than Lazar Hayward and maybe Trevor Mbakwe, Crean left behind a roster of questionable role players with marginal skills. True to form, it took Crean three years to land another promising class, one broken up by his Irsay-esque departure. Crean often recruited his best talent when his back was against the wall -- and heading into 2009, it would have been at Marquette because of the mistakes, misses, and reaches made in between.

In the end, maybe these perceived recruiting issues at Marquette had less to do with geography and more to do with the talent evaluation and roster development of the previous head coach.


Unknown said...

Under whose watch did Wisconsin begin to outrecruit Marquette?

I believe Indiana should have considered that before hiring the bozo they just did.

If I were Bo Ryan, I would immediately begin plans to raid the Hoosier State.

Unknown said...

Well written and thought out, NY Warrior. The chip on Marquette's shoulder just keeps growing. Mc Neal can test whatever waters he wants but I gurantee you no NBA scout has told him to leave school.

Love the "Coast" bias in the media. I live on the West Coast now and the Midwest is just flyover land for guys like Mike. Go, Buzz, prove 'em all wrong!!!

Alex said...

Great post, especially your points about Crean's poor recruiting results lately. The Indiana fans will be much less patient with him if he lands a few bad classes like he did here.

Packer Pat said...

Glad Crean is gone. We needed a change any it's likely true Mgabwe and James were on the way out if he stuck around. So we essentially have a better team coming back which will draw national attention the entire year. Typically that can help your recruiting. I also enjoy watching coaches draw up plays in crucials situations as opposed to throwing the ball away from our basket or jogging the ball up court.

It would be helpful for CS to post where we stand with our current roster + committed and open recruiting slots for 08 and 09

Hunt said...

I agree, can we get a look at our current roster plus the future recruting classes, even if they are mostly wide open? It would definitely be interesting.

Rob Lowe said...

Hey guys,

If you want a view of where we stand with recruiting classes and scholarships, there is a pretty slick page over at MUScoop. The mods there do a great job of keeping it accurate.