"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, October 15, 2010

...and the world descends into Madness

......Marquette Madness, that is.

After what was the longest off-season since the last one, Buzz Williams and crew break the seal on the 2010-2011 vintage of Marquette basketball tonight at The Al. Nobody puts on a show like Marquette so expect a high-energy, entertaining event. If you're not in Milwaukee you can follow the evening live on the interwebs. Be forewarned -- filling a webcast with constant running commentary is challenging but the guys at MUTV Sports are up to the challenge.

While MU will have The Al rocking tonight there are a few subplots that are far more interesting than betting a pitcher of beer on the titanic 3-point shootout between Johnson-Odom/Weibel and Buycks/McMorris. I'll admit to being intrigued by the dunk contest where Fulce, Blue, Smith, DJO, Wilson, Butler and Jones will square off. Reggie Smith, your first prominent Marquette moment awaits. A diminutive dunker is always a fan favorite.

Still, let's get back to the real juice for Friday night.

Buzz Williams has Marquette tantalizingly close to a watershed recruiting class, drawing serious interest from a slew of top 100 if not top 50 talent. While D'Angelo Harrison is now out of the picture MU is still in the running for big time talents Rodney Hood, Mike Shaw, Nick Faust, Trey McDonald and perhaps Deuce Bello. Of course, being close doesn't mean you're a closer. While Juan Anderson is quite a catch Buzz is being decidedly selective to this point as he aims high for the 2011 freshmen class. Can Madness build on the momentum of the Anderson commitment or will the program be left to fill the gaps with less desirable talent?

Marquette's first (only!) verbal for the 2011 freshman class, Juan Anderson, is heading back to campus on his own dime to join the party. This is an extraordinary commitment from a high school kid who lives in California. Reports indicate that 2011 targets Shaw, Jarion Henry and McDonald will be in the house. As Tim Kraft noted yesterday 2012 stud J.P. Tokoto might also visit, along with a handful of other underclassmen. Anderson's return trip speaks volumes about the program and his enthusiasm for MU -- will that translate to the crew of uncommitted athletes scheduled to be at The Al?

Beyond the plotlines on the sidelines, tonight Coach Buzz will showcase the most talented roster at Marquette since the 2002-2003 Final Four team. Superior athletes such as Crowder, Wilson, Blue, Smith and Jones are marked upgrades to previous talent injections at MU, players who (when eligible, in Wilson's case) will push for meaningful minutes immediately on a roster that is already noticeably more talented.

The chatter building around Vander Blue is fast becoming deafening while Crowder, despite arriving on campus just about 45 days ago, is already considered a high-ceiling talent who will produce in the nation's best league. Meanwhile, Darius Johnson-Odom's off-season development has been lauded on the message boards, as was Junior Cadougan's impressive showing in the Milwaukee Pro-Am. While the rest of the country underrates Marquette, it's fair to say that within the 414 and Marquette Nation expectations are running unusually high. We'll get a glimpse of that promise tonight.

1 comment:

Championships Matter said...

I've been a Marquette basketball fan since the 1960s and I can hardly wait. We've had good years in the past few, but there's something special about what Buzz has assembled.

For those of you in the senior set, I'm beginning to feel a bit like I did in 1975 when we played the Russians. The Gulag may have been the result for several members of that team after we were through with them.

This year may well be the same. I see the next few weeks as perhaps being Marquette's coming out party, where we invite the world to see just how good we really are.

I was not a big fan of Buzz at first and maybe I'm too optimistic, but I have not seen this much enthusiasm since, well, Al. It's contageous so I'm buying my tickets now.