"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

Friday, May 15, 2009

A look back, Marquette's history with top 100 recruits....Part Two, the 1990s

Late yesterday, Rivals.com updated their class of 2010 rankings, and it looks like Buzz Williams (with an assist from Dale Layer) was way ahead of the game on everyone, as previously unheralded commit Aaron Bowen is now ranked #79 in the class of 2010 top 150. Bowen was also recently upgraded to 4-Star status on Scout.com, and while they haven't come out with a full top 100 for the 2010 class yet, he's a sure thing to be included in that list.

With that in mind, we continue with part two of our look back at Marquette's history with top 100 recruits through the last few decades, this time a look back at the decade that brought Marquette back from the dead...the 1990s. For those of you who missed Part One, it is available here.

Once again, a few notes before we go on:

  • There was a bit of a problem with some players in this decade, mostly because of the lack of ability to find complete information. Several players are listed as receiving All American honors in their biography, but since I can't find complete information, I don't know the number of players that received those honors...and in some cases I don't know what team they made. In particular, Roney Eford, Kenynon "Shane" Littles, DeMarcus Minor, Bart Miller and Jon Harris. I have a vague recollection that at least Eford and Littles were considered to be "Top 100" players by some, but since I can't prove it you won't see them below. If anyone can find some other information let me know and I'll do an update.
  • For one player in particular below, you will see a generic rank of just Top 100. Unfortunately for that particular year the list I found was in alphabetic order not in terms of rank. Because of that, I couldn't really categorize him in either group and have left him as an unknown.
  • Since it may come up, I'm only counting players that enrolled or attempted to enroll in the University, not just verbal commitments. That means you're not getting an opinion on Ledaryl Billingsley no matter how bitter many of you still are about his decision.
  • As a reminder, transfer players are counted with the class they effectively joined when they came to Marquette. That means in this particular ranking you will see some players that were ranked in the 1980s, but they are listed here because they became eligible at Marquette in the 1990s.
  • As with Part One, there is a legend for the abbreviations, This time I've edited it to only include those services that apply to this decade. Again, click for a better view.

Now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, I present the "Top 100" players of the 1990s. Click the image for a better view.

So, as you can see right away, we do have a greater number of Top 100 recruits in the 1990s than we had in the 1980s. Also, just looking at the rankings independent of the results, while there are more players they are not necessarily as highly ranked as those from the 1980s. We'll have to see if they can outdo the earlier players in terms of living up to the hype.

The Hits(in chronological order)
  • Ron Curry - His first year at Arizona wasn't exactly stellar, but he made up for it with three very good years at Marquette when he decided to follow Kevin O'Neill to Milwaukee. He led Marquette in scoring and rebounding as a senior, scored over 1000 points in his career despite only playing three years, and was twice named All Conference in the Great Midwest. Truly one of the more under rated players in Marquette history.
  • Damon Key - One of the most consistent players in Marquette history. He's still ranked in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding despite last playing in a game over 15 years ago. Key was named All Conference in his final three years and led Marquette in scoring three of his four years. He was also one of 25 finalists for the John Wooden award as a senior.
  • Robb Logterman - Scored in double figures three of his four years, including 10.7 PPG as a freshman despite having to play most of the season out of position. Really though, he made his mark as a long range shooter. Logterman finished his career as the career leader in 3 Point Field Goals Made, 3 Point Field Goals Attempted, and was 4th in career 3 Point shooting percentage.
  • Jim McIlvaine - Averaged 10.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 4.3 blocks for his career. First in career blocks at Marquette and 18th in NCAA history. Also the Marquette leader in career field goal percentage. Great Midwest Player of the Year, Hank Iba National Defensive Player of the Year, and AP Honorable Mention All American as a senior. Was a second round pick of the Washington Bullets and played 7 years in the NBA.
  • Anthony Pieper - Probably more hyped in Wisconsin than nationally because he was the all time leading scorer in high school history. I don't know that he lived up to the local hype, but in terms of living up to the "Top 100" ranking, he did. A bench player his freshman year, he was a double figure scorer his final three years and when he graduated was among the top 20 in Marquette history despite missing games his senior year due to injury.
  • Chris Crawford - I'm sure there will be many that disagree with me, especially those that watched Crawford play his first two years. But I'd argue that his final two years, and his pre-injury NBA career point to the fact that the experts got it right. Crawford was the teams leading scorer with 14.9 PPG as a senior, and went on to be drafted in the 2nd Round of the NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He played 7 seasons in the NBA and was on his way to a nice career before being derailed by a knee injury in 2001 and again in 2004.
  • Aaron Hutchins - Who can forget his game winning three pointer at Louisville in 1996, or his performance against Auburn in the first round of the 1995 NIT. He finished his career 11th all time in points, and in the top 10 in steals and assists. Who knows what could have happened back in 1995 if Mike Deane had started using him earlier in the season, or how far MU could have gone in 1998 had he not been in that car accident.
  • Brian Wardle - One of the best scorers in MU history, Wardle finished his career 3rd in All Time scoring at Marquette, and 2nd in Conference USA history. He led the team in scoring his final three years and was named All Conference as both a junior and senior. Additionally, he was named the Conference USA Freshman of the year, one of only two Marquette players ever to earn that award.
  • Cordell Henry - Maybe a bit controversial, but like Chris Crawford, I think the final two years of his career showed what those high school scouts saw back at Whitney Young. After a slow start, he averaged 11.2 PPG and 2.7 APG for his career. He was second on the team in scoring as both a junior and a senior and earned all conference honors both years. He ranks in the top 20 in points and top 10 in assists all time.
The Misses(again, chronological order)
  • Keith Stewart - One of the state of Wisconsin's more heralded prospects in the 1980s, Stewart initially attended Purdue. As a part time starter, he averaged 3.2 PPG and 2.1 APG his freshman year. Stewart transferred to Marquette with the assumption being he would be the starter at point guard the following year. Instead he played sparingly before being suspended by the University and then dismissed. He ended up transferring before the end of the first semester, and eventually ended up at California-Irvine.
  • William Gates - I don't know that anyone could have lived up to the hype he had coming out of high school. He was supposed to be the next Isaiah Thomas, and most thought the HoopScoop ranking he received was a bit low due to his injuries. Unfortunately he never really recovered and he was unable to turn into the player most thought he would. He was mostly a defensive specialist his first two years before leaving the team as a junior. When he returned as a senior further injuries kept him from really contributing.
  • Zack McCall - Originally committed to Syracuse as a football player, the athletic potential seemed unlimited. Unfortunately it didn't work out. He was a bench player for two years with a career high of 13 points, before he tested positive for marijuana during the 1996 NCAA Tournament. He was suspended for the following season, and ended up transferring Huron College in South Dakota where he was a Division II NAIA All American as a senior.
  • Richard Shaw - He was a bench player without many notable contributions his first two years and a part time starter his final two. Never averaged double figures in points or contributed significantly off the glass. Was a decent shot blocker who currently is 8th All Time in Senior Season Blocked Shots.
The Unknown
  • Alton Mason - I'm sure some of you are saying, who the heck is Alton Mason? Most don't remember him, but those that do recall that was supposed to be Mason manning the role of point guard when Mike Deane wanted to slide Aaron Hutchins over to shooting guard his final two years instead of Marcus West. It didn't work out that way, as Mason had academic issues and ended up transferring before even playing a game. He ended up playing three years at Arizona State, where he finished 10th All Time in Assists and 6th in Steals while scoring 13.4 PPG as a senior. Given what he did at Arizona State, and the fact that I only have a general ranking for him, I'm leaning towards counting him as a hit, but I'm willing to hear arguments from either side. Maybe we could get Marquette assistant Tony Benford to weigh in, since he coached Mason for a portion of his career at ASU.
So there you have it. The breakdown is much better this time around. Throwing out Mason, there are 13 "Top 100" recruits in the 1990s. The success rate was much better this time around, with 9 of the 13 players turning out to be hits for a rate of 69.2%. If you include Mason, the rate jumps to 71.4%. So far, through two decades, the success rate of all "Top 100" recruits is at 56% a significant increase over just the 1980s. We'll have to see if that holds up in the future.

One final note, I think a couple of people misunderstood what I was trying to say in Part One. When I classified a player as a miss, what I'm looking at is whether or not the so called recruiting gurus got their projections right. A player can still be a respectable player and not live up to the hype that is created by achieving a certain ranking. That's not to impugn his character, but rather to show how inexact a science recruiting rankings really are. Further, the fact of the matter is it's easier for a player that is ranked say 95th to live up to that than it is for a top 20 player, and that is reflected in the analysis. That doesn't mean I have it out for a player or dislike a particular player, it's just the way the perception of these rankings works.

Look for Part Three early next week.


JohnPudner said...

Wow, so we are now one of 5 teams in the US with FOUR top 100 recruits. Only UNC has five. I did say in one entry that I thought this was like 1990, an incredible class but I hope people can be patient if, like the 1990-91 season, the young squad loses a good bit with all these freshman but builds toward a Sweet 16 run later in their careers. I am a Buzz believer though, and maybe he can make them quick studies, but let's not get down on him if we struggled next year. Clearly if this class stays together, we will have tons of success over the four years.

JohnPudner said...

Oops, sorry it's late. Of course, Bowen is 2010, so really doesn't give us four top 100s in 2009. Still, four commitments in one year is huge.

Championships Matter said...

Hey bamaboy, if Buzz is this good, how long will it be until some backwater major conference state school pays him $10 million a year to revitalize their basketball program?

Buzz is off to a good start. Perhaps too good! Will Kentucky, Memphis State or some other school with lots of dollars and no academic reputation come a calling?

I didn't think Crean was leaving neither.

Maybe championships matter, well, too much!

In the meantime, here's hoping Buzz's start is only the beginning. I'm already getting excited for next year and it isn't even summer yet!

JohnPudner said...

Championships Matter - I agree. While I wasn't an anti- on the Buzz hire, I did express one strong concern. That at 35 years old and unproven as a head coach, he could either be a flop, or he could turn out to be a wonderboy who would then be gobbled up. I even said in one post that when I was 35 I thought I had a dream job and within a couple of year I thought some other things looked much better.

Hopefully we've got that one in a million like Dean Smith that just gets hired at 27 years old and decides there is no better place to be and never leaves, but the odds are we lose him if we shoot to the top. Still, I do like the CNN ranking as a top 5 hoops city, the 10th place attendence, playing in the best conference so we are on TV all the time and hopefully continuing to turn out NBA players. We might have a shot to really establish Marquette in the minds of recruits and coaches as a truly elite, and if we do turn that corner, then it becomes less and less of a jump to the top few elites. Then it's just down to if we can come up with the money when someone is simply trying to outbid us. I do like the Big East being so far ahead of the Big 10 and SEC now - that does give us a chance (much as when schools like Florida State supplanted the monopoly Bama, Notre Dame etc. had in football).

Unknown said...

Who cares if he gets gobbled up? As far as anybody can tell, he might be a little bit odd but he's certainly not a complete horse's ass like our previous coach. If he leaves in three years, Godspeed Buzz. But it won't be "good riddance" like before. I still feel like our entire fanbase needs to be deloused after jerkoff left Milwaukee.