"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, November 11, 2009

Jones, Blue sign with Marquette as Signing Period Opens

Buzz Williams and his staff were rewarded for months of aggressive recruiting when a pair of top 100 players signed on to play basketball at Marquette today.

Williams' second recruiting class at Marquette is highlighted by guard Vander Blue. Blue, from Madison (WI) Memorial, reneged on a commitment to UW@Madison to sign with the Warriors. A consensus top 40 player in the class of 2010, Blue is the highest rated recruit to sign at Marquette in decades. Scout.com lists Blue as the nation's third-best shooting guard while Rivals.com slots Blue in as the 22nd player in the nation regardless of position. To see Blue in action check out this video.

Also signing with Marquette today is 6'6" forward Jamail Jones. Originally from Decatur, Georgia, Jones is completing his high school eligibility at Montverde Academy in Florida. As a junior Jones averaged 17 points, 10 boards, 8 assists and three blocks per game. Jones verbally committed to Marquette in August, choosing the Warriors over Virginia, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Cincinnati, and Clemson.

Signing Vander Blue looks to be a watershed moment for head coach Buzz Williams. Williams has now signed the top prospect in the state for the second straight year, with Blue will joining fellow Madison Memorial star Jeronne Maymon on campus next fall. While message board chatter indicated that Bo Ryan did not aggressively pursue Maymon, the same can't be said of the more highly regarded Blue. Today Williams served notice that while he recruits nationally he gives no quarter in America's Dairyland.

In landing both Blue and Jones, Williams also is on the verge of breaking one of Marquette basketball's most frustrating cycles -- the inability back up one strong recruiting class with another. Last year Williams smartly capitalized on the recent success of the program and the promise of immediate playing time to attract current freshmen Maymon, Erik Williams, Junior Cadougan and Yous Mbao.

With today's signees Williams is proving that he can sell the Marquette program to the country's most desirable talent in more ways than one, something his predecessor was unable to do. Tom Crean, particularly with the Three Amigos class, became overly-reliant on a smaller pool of players which, in turn, inhibited his ability to sign other talented kids in subsequent classes. Buzz Williams will coach through the downside of that legacy this year but now has two more cornerstones in place as he rebuilds Marquette hoops.

Marquette still has two open scholarships to fill and remains heavily involved with a number of notable players, including 6'8" Tarik Black from Memphis. The national signing period continues through November 18.


Alex J. said...

Use this link for Blue Video


Tim Blair said...

Alex, thank you.