"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 29, 2009

Current roster would move MU from 295th tallest to 24th tallest team in Division I

When Marquette reached No. 8 in the polls this year, I posted a blog noting that they were the 295th tallest team in America out of 344 Division I teams. The only team that was shorter that made any noise this year was Washington.

What a difference this recruiting class has made! Without speculating about who may be leaving to clear the extra roster spot, the tale of the tape now for the scholarship players reads:

7-foot-2 Mbao, 7-1 McMorrow, 6-10 Otule, 6-9 Roseboro, 6-8 Williams, 6-7 Fulce, 6-6 Maymon, Hayward and Butler, 6-3 Buycks, 6-2 Johnson-Odom and Cadougan, 6-0 Cubillian and 5-8 Acker.

After four years of David and Goliath matchups, Marquette in one year would transition from being the 295th tallest team in Division I basketball to the 24th tallest team – and would still be very high up the list even if McMorrow cannot play next year.

In 2008, MU was taller than only two of 35 opponents – Presbyterian and Houston Baptist. If this roster had been the team last year, Marquette would have been taller than 32 of 35 opponents, with only UConn, West Virginia and NC State being taller.

Does height matter?

In this case, conventional wisdom is correct – taller teams do win more. Ken Pomeroy did an in depth report (http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=82). He found that offense was a bit better the taller the team was, while defense was more substantially improved. As you might guess, shot blocking showed the biggest improvement, and a substantially lower 2-point field goal percentage resulted for opponents. (I should note for anyone who missed it that this year Dwyane Wade become the first NBA player under 6-foot-4 to ever block 100 shots - so there is one shorter player good enough to buck the trend.)

We watched all year as MU had to double down to try to stop opponents’ with height advantages in the lane, and simply didn’t have the inside stopper at the end against Villanova, Missouri and others. Those of you with a bit longer memory may recall that 7-foot-1 Jim McIlvaine blocked 142 shots to take national defensive player of the year the season that Marquette set a record by allowing opponents to shoot only 35% from the floor in 1994. A Stanford team with a couple of 7-footers a few years later held opponents to an even lower shooting percentage.

The other good news from Pomeroy’s study is that almost the whole overall improvement is based on the tallest two players you average having on the court. So yes, when Dwight and Lazar were the tallest two on the court it’s logical that opponents would hit a ton of 2-pointers, and with Dwight on the bench and the tallest two including Butler and/or Wes, any team would be expected to give up a very high percentage of 2-pointers.

A rotation including any combination of next year’s roster would be expected to give up a much lower percentage of 2-point shots.

MUs "effective height"

Pomeroy goes one step further than average height to rank “effective height,” which focuses more on the average height of the front line on the court each minute. MU could easily shoot into the Top 10 in “effective height” for the year, and even if Maymon plays power forward all the time to hold down the average some, MU should easily be in the top 20% in effective height.

The top 9 teams in effective height last year, with their records, were: 1) Wake Forest, 24-7; 2, UConn 31-5; 3, SMU 9-21; 4, Florida State 25-10; 5, Gonzaga 28-6; 6, Utah 24-10; 7, UTEP 23-14; 8, Texas A&M CC 18-15; 9, Oakland 23-13. I’m leaving off a bad #10 team in South Carolina Upstate because they are a strange team with no tall players except 7-3 center Nick Schneiders, but because they just left him in most for most of the minutes to do nothing but sit back and block shots the team calculated as 10th in effective height despite having only one tall player.

When looking at the Elite 8 this year, you clearly don’t have to be the biggest team, as only UConn from the Top 9 made the Elite 8. However, six of the Elite 8 teams ranked in the top 20% of all teams in effective height, and the two that didn’t, Pitt and Nova, both had a dominant 6-7 or 6-8 center (Blair/Cunningham) who played bigger than their height - much as Maymon should do as a dominant, physical 6-6 player.

In Pomeroy’s study, the size of the guards doesn’t matter than much, so having Mo Acker on the floor is fine based on the history. Certainly last year giving up DJ for Mo really hurt defensively against Big East guards, BUT that was with no height to have Mo’s back. I’m not sure he is as much of a defensive liability when he can use his speed to go for steals and know someone is back there to swat or alter the shot of a guard that gets by or over him.

Still, I think we are a year away

As excited as I am about Buzz’s big recruits coming in to join Lazar, Mo and Jimmy, my gut is actually that we have one transition year in front of us. Georgetown and DePaul were very tall teams this year, but very inexperienced, and in the Big East that led to very disappointing years. I think this could be more like 1990-91, a losing record in the Big East as the class gets used to playing together en route to the Sweet 16 run later in their careers.

Hopefully MU gets to the top quicker, but whatever the case, despite all my cheerleading for the Three Amigos, it may be that MU had just hit the ceiling of what could possibly be accomplished with Crean’s ability to recruit such super guards but no big men.

Buzz's ability to recruit big is good based on basketball history.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MU adds aircraft carrier to 2009 recruiting class

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)

Additional Updates

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tex Winters put together players, coach and offense for MUs 1st Elite 8 team

The report from Lakers coach Phil Jackson that his mentor Tex Winter was improving yesterday from an apparent stroke is welcome news to a key person in Marquette basketball history. We all hope his recovery continues.

While the basketball world will remember Winters for inventing the triangle offense, Winter got his start when Marquette named him the youngest coach in the country after the 1950-51 season before he had even turned 30 years old.

Winter got the job after a DREADFUL 12-year stretch during which Marquette won less than 40% of its games (90-139). The 1952 yearbook features a picture of the young Winter, and his assistant and eventual successor, assistant coach Joel “Jack” Nagle.

All Winter did right away was go out and recruit a class that I ranked as the 9th best recruiting class in MU history in a previous blog. Luckily freshman were allowed to play then, and four of Winter’s first recruits accounting for about half of the wins during the National Catholic Championship season his first year.

As freshmen, Russ Wittberger put up 299 points and had an estimated 200 rebounds, while high school All-American Rube Schultz (94, 120), Bob Walczak (195, 90), Robert Van Vooren (84,34) rounded out the freshman contributors.

Winter then put together an incredible follow-up class with Terry Rand, who I ranked as the 10th best Marquette player of all time, Don Bugalski and sharp-shooter Pat O’Keefe the next year. I am not sure if the freshman eligibility rule changed that year or not, because all three of these players did not play for Winter their freshman year. Even without their services, the team went 13-11 with Schultz and company, including losing on a trip to No. 1 Kansas State, where Winter would coach the next 14 seasons.

Two years after Winter left for Kansas State, those seven players took the court along with sophomore Gerry Hopfensperger to form an incredible 8-man deep team. As I wrote in the Ultimate Hoops Guide - Marquette University, the team used an innovative 1-3-1 offense that no one could stop.

I had the chance to talk to O’Keefe a few days before hearing about Winter’s stroke, and he claimed that the coaching strategy was all Winter’s before his assistant, Nagle, took over the year before that fateful 1954-55 season. I don’t know if the 1-3-1 offense was a precursor of the triangle offense that Winter would use to revolutionize the NBA under Jackson, but it would seem at least some of the concepts had to be in place.

The offense was so good that Marquette scored more than 84 points a game in 1954-55, a full three points more than the second best offense of all-time from Jim Chones’ first season. Schultz and Rand dominated in 1955, and Marquette won 22 games in a row. The team finished the season ranked No. 8 in the final AP poll, then went all the way to the Elite 8 finishing with a 24-3 mark.

By the time his recruits and his former assistant took Marquette to their first Elite 8, Winter was already in his second season of his incredible 14-year run at Kansas State, but he had made his mark on Marquette. The Marquette tradition was on its way thanks in part to a brief 2-year stint by one of the greatest basketball minds the sport would ever know.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2008-2009 Recap - The Changing Offense

We previously covered the breakdown of the Marquette offense and what made it tick. However, it's not as though the offense was a static aspect of the season... clearly the team played worse at some spots and better in others.

How did the offensive performance change throughout the season?

The graph above is a moving 5-game average of our offensive efficiency against Top 100 opponents. The season average for efficiency shows up in the dashed red line, so one can see the points where the team was below season average and above season average. To dig in deeper, we're going to look at four separate points.

  • Villanova #1, which represents mostly the non-conference schedule but is a low point offensively
  • at Providence, which was the high water mark for the season offensively
  • at Georgetown. This game was down slightly, but still above average for offensive efficiency. The key here is that it was the last full game with Dominic James
  • Missouri, which was obviously the final game of the season
Breaking down the changes in performance for these four games

It's kind of an eye chart, but here is the key to the colors. Red is an area where that factor is worse than season average, and green is an area better than season average.

#1 - Pace. As we saw with its modest impact on efficiency, pace didn’t have a significant impact on offensive performance. There was no strong trend over time relating to offensive performance, and we can see pace being both above average and below average for strong and weak offensive periods.

#2 - eFG%. Again, as covered last week, eFG% has the biggest impact on offensive performance, and that shows up further here. The team's eFG% was below average on the worst mark of the season, well above average at both points, and then well below average in the final game of the season. Please note that after James went out, our eFG% went into a nose dive for the rest of the season. (of course, our opponents had something to do with that too).

#3 - Turnover Rate. Apart from eFG%, this was the biggest change from the Villanova game through the Providence game. Protecting the ball was a significant strength for Marquette, but it wasn't early in the season. There was a slight worsening effect in TO% after James got injured, but not enough to make a difference.

#4 - Offensive Rebounding Percentage. Interestingly enough, this was worse than average in both of the periods (@PC, @GU) that were positive efficiencies. There is almost an inverse relationship between offensive efficiency and offensive rebounding percentage, but that’s misleading. A better interpretation is that MU was better at offensive rebounding once James went out and Jimmy Butler got more playing time. This factor helped offset slightly the poor effective field goal percentage.

#5 - Free Throw Rate. As mentioned before, despite the large number of free throw attempts we made, there was only a limited impact on our offensive efficiency. Similar to offensive rebounding, this was worse in the good efficiency periods and better in the poor offensive efficiency periods.


At the end of the season, Marquette was better than average on turnovers, offensive rebounding, and free throw rate. However, none of those areas were enough to offset the poor effective field goal percentage. This information also adds more backing that although Marquette was best in class for protecting the ball and getting to the free throw line, only the turnover rate had a significant impact on their results.

It was the eFG%, which was frequently mediocre, that had the largest impact on offensive performance. That's probably my biggest takeaway from this analysis... there's little that can be done with the other factors to overcome poor effective field goal percentage.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Killing time before Midnight Madness? Wiki top 10

There's 10,000 days between now and midnight madness. Kill some time on the wiki:

Top pages:

Other pages of interest:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2008-2009 Recap - The Offense

I've been breaking down the numbers associated with the season that just ended. The point was trying to really understand what made Marquette go last year.

Before diving in too much, here's a quick look at the methodology. First, I am only including the data against Top 100 opponents. (Sorry, Presbyterian). Second, a lot of the data that I'll track shows a moving 5-game average. In other words, the trend will reflect the previous five games worth of data.

Let's break down the offense

Below are Marquette's season averages against the final Top 100 opponents compared against the Pomeroy full-season numbers (in italics). None of this information should be a surprise, but it's helpful to recap.

Pace - 68.5 (vs Pomeroy 68.4)
eFG% - 50.1 (vs Pomeroy 51.2%, #85)
TO% - 15.6 (vs Pomeroy 16.5%, #10)
OR% - 30.9 (vs Pomeroy 34.8%, #97)
FTR - 44.8 (vs Pomeroy 45.4, #12)

When we look at these figures, two outstanding areas for Marquette really stand out. First, not only was MU's ability to protect the ball great, but it was even better against the top 100 opponents. Second, the team's ability to get to the free throw line was also consistently excellent. Two areas where MU was only pedestrian (eFG% and OR%), however, did get worse against the better opponents.

Now that we know the performance of the squad on the key areas, how much did each area contribute towards offensive efficiency (and points per game)?

Efficiency Contribution (PPG Contribution)

Pace = 27.6 (18.9 ppg)
eFG% = 73.7 (50.5 ppg)
TO% = -30.0 (-20.5 ppg)
OR% = 28.8 (19.7 ppg)
FTR = 10.1 (6.9 ppg)

What does this tell us? Making a high percentage of shots was by far the greatest impact on points per game calculation. This, among other reasons, is why I tend to yell at the TV when I see a shot early in the clock or a long two . Marquette's turnovers, being as good as they were at protecting the ball, still ended up costing the team about 20 points per game. Marquette's offensive rebounds contributed about 20 points per game. What really stands out to me, however, is that the much vaunted ability to get to the line only had a limited impact on points per game.

The marginal value of a Free Throw Attempt (and other things)

How much was a free throw attempt worth? Or an offensive rebound, for that matter?

Average (Marginal Contribution)

68.5 possessions per game. (Each possession worth 0.3 points.)
12 turnovers per game. (Each turnover cost the team 1.7 points.)
12 offensive rebounds per game. (Each offensive rebound worth 1.6 points)
27 free throw attempts per game. (Each FTA worth 0.3 points.)

I left out field goals made because the math is based on making a percentage of field goals, and when I do the calcs it shows that a made field goal is worth 1.9 points. Thinking of how to explain it makes my head hurt.

Anyways, think about these numbers in the context of various games. MU beats St. Johns by only 14 points, with Lazar (five turnovers) and McNeal (four turnovers) coughing it up. Jimmy Butler has ten offensive rebounds against Syracuse. Wesley Matthews takes 18 FTA against Tennessee, out of 35 total MU FTA, and Marquette still loses by twelve with only 68 points.

Although Marquette's strengths were in the ability to protect the ball and get to the free throw line, it was actually their ability to make a high percentage of shots that played the biggest role in efficiency. Unfortunately, this aspect of MU's game was not at an elite level. Furthermore, although Marquette was able to get to the line at a high rate, the overall contribution to the team's success was minimal and may have been overemphasized.

In a subsequent post, I'll take a look at how Marquette's efficiency changed through the season, and try to understand which of the four factors played the biggest role in transitions. eFG% will be biggest, as covered here, but what else changed during the season?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Patrick Hazel to transfer from Marquette University

Fox Sports a few days ago posted a list of upcoming transfers from division one schools. We confirmed tonight with Fox Sports that Hazel will, indeed, be transferring from Marquette University. Though nothing official has come from Buzz Williams, his staff, or the athletic department, Fox Sports indicated that it is definitely happening per sources close to the program (i.e. from a coach or administrator on the staff).

The move should not catch anyone by surprise. Hazel did not play any significant minutes down the stretch for Buzz's squad, even in blowout games (30 point win against St. John's) or contests where a tall body seemed the order of the day. Hazel failed to appear in any of the final ten games of the season. With Marquette over the limit by one scholarship, a transfer has been widely expected for weeks with Hazel the most likely candidate.

Hazel played in 21 games this season and averaged just a shade over 2 points per game. Hazel is from Queens, NY.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Updates, updates, updates

The news flow surrounding the Marquette hoops program has slowed a bit in the early stages of the off-season but in the last few days several developments emerged:

........stay tuned.

Friday, April 03, 2009

McNeal ranks as 9th best player in Marquette history

I know everyone is ready to move onto recruiting news and the next era, but the publisher is not reissuing the Ultimate Hoops Guide – Marquette University, so I wanted to post the new calculations after the 2008-09 season here so anyone who has the book can stick this in the back cover.

I know I have been an unabashed Pollyanna on this class, but rather than give my opinions on where these players rank, this column is just the result of the final number-crunching after the 2008-09 season. On January 15th, I posted that Jerel McNeal was on pace to finish as the 19th best player in MU history while Dominic James and Wesley Matthews were on pace to finish just outside the Top 20.

While the latter two stayed on that pace, McNeal then exploded to put up amazing numbers through most of the Big East season and become only the second player since Butch Lee in 1978 to be selected as one of the top 10 players in the country by the AP (2nd Team All-American).

Statistically one of the thinnest teams in history: The first calculation estimates each players’ “Win Credits,” which is a measure of how many wins he was worth to the team based purely on statistics. The formula gives McNeal 7.4 Win Credits, Wesley Matthews 6.6, Lazar Hayward 6.3, Dominic James 3.4, Jimmy Butler 1.3 and Dwight Burke 0.1. Based purely on statistics, 81% of the teams wins came from the top three players. The only other time that’s happened since 1931 was in 1960 when Don Kojis, Walt Mangham and Jim Kollar were the only three left from the previous year's Sweet 16 team, and accounted for 84% of the team's wins. Tony Smith, Trevor Powell and Tyrone Baldwin were just under 80%, but had some help from Mark Anglavar.

McNeal had best season since Wade. The best seasons in history are calculated by how many Win Credits the player was on pace for per 100 games played. By that measure, McNeal had the best season (21.1 wins per 100 games, 21st best ever), since 2003 when Wade had the best season ever (28.0, 1st). Both Wes and Lazar put up one of the best 50 seasons in history this year - Matthews (18.7, 37th), Hayward (17.9, 48th). The other three statistical contributors were Dominic James (9.8, 232nd), Jimmy Butler (3.8, 477th), Dwight Burke (0.2, 643rd). The rest of the team didn’t register any Win Credits, though Acker would have broken through with another game or two. In history, most player seasons (877 of 1,529) have not included enough contributions to merit Win Credits.

After combining each players' seasons into a “Career Statistical Rating” (0 to 31.2 scale with Bo Ellis ranking 31.2), each player gets an “Impact Rating” of 0-10 based on how far he takes the team, and a 0-15 “Dominance Rating” which gives points for All-American and All-Conference honors and NBA credentials (how high was he drafted and how long did he play).

These calculations were developed a year ago, so they are not tailored to the current players.

1st Calculation - Career Statistical Ratings: The Career Statistical Rating is the biggest factor in a player's rating in this system, and without going into a long explanation here, the highest career statistical ranking is a 31.2 for Ellis. McNeal is the 8th best statistical player in MU history with a 25.7 rating, followed by Matthews (20th at 21.8), James (24th at 21.4) and Hayward (27th at 19.7 with one year to play).

2nd Calculation - Impact: The second factor in my rankings is the Impact Rating – and this is where the Three Amigos are hurt by never cracking the Sweet 16. A table referencing how far each team went and how key the player was to that year's success determines the ranking. A “tier 1” team is a Final Four team, a “tier 2” team is a team that made the Elite 8 or was ranked in the top 8 at the end of the season. Therefore, the Three Amigos never ranked higher than a “tier 3” team – a ranked team but not one that made a deep run.

On this count, McNeal and company will always rank behind the likes of Ellis, who was a key part of two National Championship games, and Maurice Lucas and Dwyane Wade, who were each clearly the best player on a Final Four team. However, as the only class outside of the McGuire years that has finished three straight seasons ranked, the formula gives James and McNeal each an “8,” Matthews a “7” and Hayward a “6.”

3rd Calculation - Dominance: The third factor is based on the accolades the player received by being selected as an All-American or All-Conference player, and where they were picked in the NBA draft (which used to go 10 rounds deep). There are always unselfish players like Doc Rivers who don’t rank quite at the top statistically, but still calculate as elite players because writers and coaches name them All-Americans and NBA scouts get them drafted.

On this front, McNeal’s selection as a 2nd team All-American gives him a “13” on a scale of 1-15, while James gets a “10” for having been an Honorable Mention All-American in 2005, and Matthews will likewise get a “10” assuming projections are correct, and he is a 2nd round draft pick in the upcoming NBA draft. If not, he would slip to a “9” based on being selected 2nd team Big East this year. Hayward already is an “8” for his previous conference accolades.

McNeal 2nd player since Rivers to be picked as one of the best 10 in the country: While it is true that Marquette has had six All-Americans since Doc Rivers, four of those have been Honorable Mentions, meaning they were among the 50 or so best players in the country. Only Wade (1st team in 2003) and McNeal (2nd team this year), were selected by national sports writers as among the 10 best players in the country.

Since the AP started selecting All-American teams in 1948, only four other Marquette players have been likewise among the 10 best players in the US by their measure – Dean Meminger (1971), Jim Chones (1972), Butch Lee (1977 & 1978) and Dwyane Wade (2003). Converse picked two other Marquette players among the five best in the country; Ed Mullins (1934) and Don Kojis (1961), and a total of 26 Marquette players have been listed on other All-American teams or received at least an honorable mention from the AP.

Where do they rank all-time?

So after compiling a 94-41 record in four years, where do the Three Amigos rank all-time?

McNeal’s All-American final season propelled him from No. 26 all-time, to the 9th best player in the history of Marquette basketball based on crunching these numbers. Matthews actually made a bigger jump, as he was ranked only as the 70th best player before this season, but moved all the way to No. 22 on the list – virtually tied with James (21st). Meanwhile Hayward is currently at 35th all-time with a season left to play. The following lists the Top 50, followed by the records their teams had and the years they played:

1, Dwyane Wade, (53-13 in 2002, 03); 2, Maurice (Bo) Ellis, (101-18 in 1974, 75, 76, 77); 3, Alfred (Butch) Lee, (99-17 in 1975, 76, 77, 78); 4, George Thompson, (68-20 in 1967, 68, 69); 5, Dean Meminger, (78-9 in 1969, 70, 71); 6, Jim Chones, (53-5 in 1971, 72); 7, Maurice Lucas, (51-9 in 1973, 74); 8, Don Kojis, (52-29 in 1959, 60, 61); 9, Jerel McNeal, (94-41 in 2006, 07, 08, 09); 10, Earl Tatum, (101-15 in 1973, 74, 75, 76).

11, Terry Rand, (48-29 in 1954, 55, 56); 12, Dave Quabius, (26-10 in 1938, 39); 13, Jerome Whitehead, (76-13 in 1976, 77, 78); 14, Tony Smith, (54-60 in 1987, 88, 89, 90); 15, Larry McNeil, (50-8 in 1972, 73); 16, Travis Diener, (91-37 in 2002, 03, 04, 05); 17, Jim McIlvaine, (71-48 in 1991, 92, 93, 94); 18, Lloyd Walton, (76-11 in 1974, 75, 76); 19, Glen (Doc) Rivers, (62-30 in 1981, 82, 83); 20, Bernard Toone, (98-20 in 1976, 77, 78, 79).

21, Dominic James, (44-21 in 2006, 07, 08, 09); 22, Wesley Matthews, (44-21 in 2006, 07, 08, 09); 22, Ed Mullen, (40-14 in 1933, 34, 35); 23, Gary Brell, (54-4 in 1970, 71); 24, Michael Wilson, (83-36 in 1979, 80, 81, 82); 26, Bob Lackey, (53-5 in 1971, 72); 27, Sam Worthen, (40-16 in 1979, 80); 28, Joe Thomas, (73-14 in 1968, 69, 70); 29, Gene Berce, (25-39 in 1945, 47, 48); 30, Steve Novak, (85-41 in 2003, 04, 05, 06).

31, Joseph (Red) Dunn, (52-28 in 1922, 23, 24, 25); 32, Richard Quinn, (52-28 in 1922, 23, 24, 25); 33, Aaron Hutchins, (86-40 in 1995, 96, 97, 98); 34, Allie McGuire, (78-9 in 1971, 72, 73); 35, Lazar Hayward, (74-30 in 2007, 08, 09); 36, Tony Miller, (81-42 in 1992, 93, 94, 95); 37, Walt Mangham, (47-29 in 1958, 59, 60); 38, Amal McCaskill, (84-42 in 1992, 94, 95, 96); 39, Chris Crawford, (90-38 in 1994, 95, 96, 97); 40, Ric Cobb, (50-8 in 1969, 70).

41, Ron Curry, (47-39 in 1991, 92, 93); 42, Marcus Washington, (76-13 in 1972, 73, 74); 43, Cordell Henry, (70-50 in 1999, 2000, 01, 02); 44, Brian Wardle, (64-54 in 1998, 1999, 2000, 01); 45, Damon Key, (71-48 in 1991, 92, 93, 94); 46, Russ Wittberger, (60-43 in 1952, 53, 54, 55); 47, Robert Jackson, (27-6 in 2003); 48, Kerry Trotter, (75-45 in 1983, 84, 85, 86); 49, Roney Eford, (88-37 in 1993, 94, 95, 96); 50, Oliver Lee, (84-31 in 1978, 79, 80, 81).

While Dwight Burke obviously did not focus on stats, he went out with 10 rebounds against Missouri and finishes his career ranked as the 238th best among the 671 all-time players. Jimmy Butler cracked the Top 200 at 198th, with two seasons left to go. If anyone wants a list past the Top 50, just email me at jpudner@concentricgrasstops.com and I'll email it right back to you - I don't want to eat up too much space on this post.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Marquette receives commitment from JUCO Guard Darius Johnson-Odom

No it's not an April Fools joke, Buzz Williams has done it again. Only days after many MU fans were disappointed to lose out on Darius Smith, Marquette has received a verbal commitment from Darius Johnson-Odom, one of the most sought after JUCO guards in the country. Johnson-Odom had interest from many top schools around the country including Pitt, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Johnson-Odom averaged 21.6 points and 4.6 assists this year for Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, one of the top JUCO programs in the country. Originally thought to be a Class of 2010 prospect, according to Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports, Johnson-Odom recently received word that he is eligible and will have three years to play at Marquette.

Stay tuned to Cracked Sidewalks for further updates on MU's most recent commitment.

Todd Rosiak has an informative Q/A with Johnson-Odom -- who's been interested in MU for some time, and is holding his own academically.