In a stunning development this week Marquette announced the signing of Youssoupha Mbao, a 7'2", 215-pound center from Dakar, Senegal. Per Rosiak's thorough article from today's paper the big fella was also being recruited by Kentucky, USC and Virginia Tech but opted to sign with Marquette on his official visit this week.
Mbao played ball at Stoneridge Prep last year in Simi Valley, California last year averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks per game and will have four years of eligibility at MU. Rosiak spoke with Tony Benford, who led MU's pursuit of Mbao, for more details on the newest member of the program.
Mbao rounds out what can only be called a spectacular collection of basketball players in Buzz Williams' first full recruiting class, a group that Hoop Scoop previously ranked as the nation's best. Mbao, who is ranked #125 in the 2009 recruiting class, joins an accomplished group that already included 6'9" Brett Roseboro, 6'6" Jeronne Maymon, 6'8" Erik Williams, 6'3" Dwight Buycks, and 6"2" Darius Johnson-Odom.
As they say, 'you can't teach height' and heading into future seasons the Warriors will have plenty of bigs for the rotation. With Mbao signed, Buzz Williams has three players in the stable at 6'10" or taller with sophomores-to-be Chris Otule (6'10") and Liam McMorrow (7'1") joining the newest Warrior in the Aircraft Carrier Section of the roster. Incredibly, despite losing two of its bigger players to graduation or transfer after the season, the Golden Eagles could enter next year with ten players standing 6'6" or taller.
Or will they......
With Mbao signing his national letter of intent the 2009-2010 roster is over-subscribed by one scholarship player. With 10 potential players on the frontline, attrition with the bigs is most definitely in order -- something I never thought I'd say about the Marquette program. Clearly the coaching staff is prepared for another player departure, and one possibility is a medical waiver. With Joseph Fulce's inability to contribute after his early-season knee injury and the silence surrounding Liam McMorrow's status, the notion is not far-fetched. Essentially, an injured player would forgo future eligibility due to a medical condition but remain on scholarship at the university. In turn, the program would recoup the use of an athletic scholarship for use with another eligible player, in this case Mbao. With finals coming up in a couple of weeks, we'll find out soon enough.
Nevertheless, in just one calendar year Buzz Williams completely transformed the makeup of the team. The coach quickly re-charted the direction of the program away from a dependency on undersized, redundant backcourt talent in favor of taller, longer players that naturally fit into the five positions on the floor while also re-distributing players within class years (MUScoop's handy Scholarship Table sorts out the large yet balanced incoming 2009 class)
- Speaking of height and roster makeovers, don't forget that heading into 2010-2011, MU will welcome 6'10" Monterale Clark to the team. Clark, a native Milwaukeean currently playing JUCO ball in Texas, signed his LOI with MU earlier this year. Rosiak filed this report on the local product here.
- Finally, the annual Basketball Banquet was held last night on campus - here's the recap from the MU folks.