"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, January 14, 2009

The 3 Amigos – 5 steals a game for four years running

The 3 Amigos – 5 steals a game for four years running -by John Pudner

Having covered the fact that MUs four stars are on pace to all finish among the Top 6 scorers in MU history in the 1st of a three-part series, today we move onto the mark they’ve left in other areas. Dominic James is on pace to repeat a feat accomplished only by Bo Ellis before him – stepping on the court as a star for his first freshman game and never skipping a game until his senior finale. The ability of the three guards to steal the ball and dish out assists will also go down in history.


In terms of total wins, if Dominic doesn’t sit out any games, this would mean he had played (and I believe started) in all 136 games of his career, placing him 6th on the list. I do not have the totals for Wes and Jerel, because I am not sure how many of the games they’ve missed over the years were wins, but James would have started in 96 wins under the above projections.

  1. Earl Tatum 101
  2. Bo Ellis 101
  3. Butch Lee 99
  4. Gary Rosenberger 99
  5. Bernard Toone 98
  6. Dominic James 96
  7. Travis Diener 91
  8. Todd Townsend 91
  9. Faisal Abraham, Chris Crawford, Anthony Pieper 90
  10. Jerel McNeal and Wes Matthews - ?


While McNeal is on pace to easily move into first place on the all-time scoring list, it is a much closer call in his chase to catch Michael Wilson for the most steals since they started keeping the stat in the 1979-80 season. He is in pace to just catch Wilson even when adjusting his pace down for the tougher competition. James is on pace to finish not far behind in 4th place, and Matthews is on pace to knock Travis Diener and Kerry Trottier out of the all-time Top 10 in steals. In MUs first four years of Big East play, that means the Three Amigos would finish with 680 steals in 136 games, or exactly five steals a game for four years running. Based on the partial information we have prior to 1980 and some NCAA stats, I do estimate that Marcus Washington, Butch Lee and Dean Meminger probably each topped McNeal’s average steals per game.

  1. Jerel McNeal 275
  2. Michael Wilson 272
  3. Mandy Johnson 253
  4. Dominic James 242
  5. Doc Rivers 203
  6. Tony Smith 190
  7. Michael Sims 188
  8. Tony Miller 185
  9. Aaron Hutchins 165
  10. Wes Matthews 163


The unselfish 2009 James already has passed Aaron Hutchins by dealing out more than 5 assists a game so far, and he needs just 41 more to pass Diener for 2nd place all-time. McNeal needs another 20 assists to pass Wilson’s 394 and make the Top 10, and he could move as high as 7th. Assists only have been recorded since 1967, but the only player prior to that who might be in the top 10 is Jim Kollar from the great 1959 Sweet 16 team, who I estimate fed Kojis and company 375 times. He would have been on the all-time list if freshman had played varsity then and they had kept the stat, but even other great point guards like Richard Nixon (early 60s) and Don Bugalski (directed top offensive team in 1955) were probably a bit short of this list.

  1. Tony Miller 956
  2. Dominic James 668
  3. Travis Diener 617
  4. Aaron Hutchins 550
  5. Lloyd Walton 480
  6. Tony Smith 469
  7. Jerel McNeal 435
  8. Cordell Henry 430
  9. Doc Rivers 409
  10. Michael Sims 408

In the third and final column to follow, I will put all of these stats together to determine where each of the current stars rank among the all-time greats in MU history.

John Pudner, Journalism ’88, was Editorial Editor and then News Editor for the Marquette Tribune. He was named top sports news writer in Virginia in 1991 while working for the Charlottesville Observer and wrote a weekly column on his rankings of baseball pitchers for the New York Post before leaving journalism for a career in politics and government affairs.

John's book Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University can be ordered here: (www.collegeprowler.com/basketball)

1 comment:

HoopsMalone said...

The only game when James did not start was the loss to Louisville in the Bradley Center last season.