"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

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Preseason Roundtable - Part Three

Today is Al's Run. Thanks to everyone that helped us break the all time donation amount. Seriously, from all of us at Cracked Sidewalks, thank you for your generosity, your support, and your continued readership. We are proud to be members of the Marquette community.

If you're getting ready to head to Al's Run, or you just finished it, or you are just catching up on Marquette news, here is the third and final installment of our preseason roundtable. Here are Part One and Part Two. In this version, we look at returning players, or as I called it... the essay section.

Also, you may note a new name in this roundtable. We added a new blogger, Tim K. We'll give him a proper introduction in a subsequent post. For now, we welcome his contributions.

Can Jimmy Butler be this team's go-to scorer and leader?

Tim - No. Butler is best as a complimentary scorer who self-generates offense through ORBs and two-dribble drives to the basket which send him to the line. Butler lacks a solid handle which limits his offensive game a bit. That said, Butler will be a 15-16 points per game scorer.

Steve - Yes. He showed what he can do down the stretch in 2009. Anyone who was surprised at his performance in 2010 wasn't watching him closely in the last 10 games the previous year. There shouldn't be any dropoff in his performance.

Pudner - Yes. Buzz really seems to have players willing to play their role until they are needed. He needed Wes to take over two years ago and Lazar last year, and Jimmy will put up big numbers.

BMA - No doubt in my mind he's the leader of the team. Like Lazar before him and Wes before that, he get's it, and he's bought into what Buzz is selling. He'll be the emotional leader of the team for sure....but I'm not sure he's the go to scorer. To me there's a difference between go to scorer and leading scorer. I think he'll probably be the leading scorer, just because of usage. But a go to scorer is more than that. In my mind, go to scorers are guys that have one superior skill you can count on to get you a bucket when you absolutely have to have it. Whether it's driving to the bucket or pulling up from three, or dumping it in the post, they have something that always seems to work...and I'm not sure Jimmy has that. He's very good at a lot of things, but not excellent at any one in particular to the point where I can see just giving him the ball when you need a bucket (freak plays at UConn and St. John's aside). His best skill in my mind is his mid-range jumper, but until he's willing to use it more I don't think it qualifies.
He'll get a ton of points, probably shoot a lot of free throws, but I think the go-to scorer is probably DJO.

muwarrior92 - Yes, but I honestly think it will be DJO over Butler in this role.

Rob – Agreed mostly with BMA. Jimmy is the leader of the team. DJO was the one guy on the team that Buzz could go tell to “get a bucket”, and he could manufacture points. Having said that… I still believe in JFB’s continued year over year improvements. In Juco, Butler was known as a scorer. He’s never demonstrated that scorer's mentality, but I could see him taking another step up in usage while his efficiency suffers slightly.

Tim K - It's hard to argue that DJO won't be the go-to scorer after the way he ended last season. Jimmy got a good amount of points on offensive rebounds and free throws last season because sometimes Zar would step out. With the help of Crowder and Fulce/Otule down low, Jimmy's role decreases slightly. There is no question he is the go-to-leader on this team, though. Since stepping foot on campus, Jimmy has done everything right to be where he is today. Out of the gates he was a nobody and now look where he is. It's becoming clear that the coaches, players, fans, etc. view JB as the leader of this team.

DJO... expectations are through the roof but he was wildly inconsistent last year. Do you think he makes “the leap” and how would you define it?

Tim - DJO makes the leap as the team's go-to guy, no question. DJO is the one guy on the roster -- and one of the few in the BIG EAST -- who can score when the team needs it. DJO can create his own offense and this year will emerge as the team's top scorer

Steve - I think most great guards show you early in their career what they're capable of. You see refinement over time--not a "leap". That's what I would expect out of DJO. He'll improve by becoming more consistent--not necessarily by raising his top-level performance or picking up more more minutes. We'll see some improvement, but I wouldn't consider it a "leap"--maybe just some polish.

Pudner - It seems to me I used to get mad at D. Wade his first year as much as I got made at DJO last year. Yes, some wild passes etc., but the potentials unreal, though certainly not as high as Wade's. Buzz can't lock into his rotation though and rotate DJO out when hot. One of the few times I really felt Buzz screwed up last year was taking DJO out against Washington a few minutes in when they had no answer for him.

BMA - To me, the leap will have been made when he's able to play effective defense without fouling and without letting it affect his offense. Last year his stinker games seemed to coincide with games where he was picking up fouls, or where he had a tough defensive assignment and let that effect his offense. Look at the South Florida game. He did a great job defending Dominique Jones, but only made 1 shot and never was a factor offensively.

Look at the Depaul game, he got in foul trouble and as a result only played
24 minutes. For all his offensive talent, I don't think the leap is an offensive thing. I think it comes when he's able to pair that same offensive production with solid defensive showings game after game. If he can do that, the consistency improves, the overall scoring improves and I think the leap has been made.

muwarrior92 - Steady as she goes. More improvement this year, but not a "leap"

Rob – Yes, I think this year DJO continues to keep his usage high with his efficiency above average. I believe his stinker games will be few and far between. As for the “leap”, I’ll define it as a solid second team BE and us making noise about why he’s not a contender for BE POY next year.

Tim K - The only thing consistent about DJO was his head fake. I'm surprised he doesn't head fake before he shoots FTs. Despite his inconsistencies, I will be very surprised if DJO doesn't make at least the 3rd team Big East this season. He is a proven scorer, a freak athlete, and his defensive ability can only be improving. Although he came in and made such a big impact, he was still immature in a sense and made mistakes. With a year of D-I basketball under his belt, I expect DJO to meet those expectations and be a leader right along side JB.

The "leap" as in the dunk to end the L'ville game?? To me that will always be known as "the leap." But as I mentioned already, the leap for him is getting recognition. DJO was our hidden gem last season and the MU faithful fell in love with him. But not many other people were talking about him. Despite our depth at guard, I think it will be tough for Buzz to take DJO off the court and with more minutes comes more recognition. -- Whatever leap he makes, I want it to be enough to make Buzz bird walk along the sidelines again.

Who else from EWill, Buycks, or Fulce steps up big this year?

Tim - Fulce! Fulce is a high-energy and a terrific offensive rebounder. With an off-season of good health to build on his effective minutes from last year I think Fulce will be the most productive role player on the roster this year. Buycks is the veteran with the most to lose. He was ineffective throughout last season, turning the ball over at a higher rate than any one on the team and hoisting a host of bad shots. I don't see him breaking out as a senior. EWill is in a tough spot and I don't know how many minutes he can consistently command with Butler, Fulce, Crowder and to a lesser degree Jones and Blue on the roster. I hope EWill proves me wrong and blows up this year.

Steve - The easy answer is Williams. When your baseline is 19 games played, 5.8 mpg, and 1.2 ppg, anything less than 100% improvement would be disappointing. I think we've seen what Buycks and Fulce can give us, and I would be happy if they merely duplicated what we saw last year.

Pudner - I would say Buycks except that we have so many guards that I don't know if he can get in a flow. I am going with EWill and hoping the 4-star potential emerges.

BMA - Well it bit me last year when I said EWill would surprise people and he didn't do a whole lot, but I'm going to ride that horse again. There's just too much talent and he's too good of a kid to not improve this year. I think Fulce will be better statistically than he was last year because he'll get more regular playing time, but I think EWill is more talented, and if it clicks for him...watch out.

muwarrior92 - Can I say none of the above? I don't see any of those three stepping up big. Buycks and Fulce will have a few games where they play solid basketball, but the consistency over the entire season is tough to imagine. Williams...just don't see it. I hope and think he'll get better, but that's a lot different than saying he'll step up big.

Rob – I’m going with Fulce. In limited minutes last year, Fulce was more efficient than DJO or Lazar. Plus, he was the best offensive and defensive rebounder on the team. Add in a senior season motivation, and I’m expecting good things. He won’t be the best player on the court, but he doesn’t need to be.

Tim K - I'm going with Buycks. Before last season began I told a friend of mine that Buycks may be our leading scorer by the end of the year. I was wrong. Way wrong. His expectations were really high and he seemingly scored at will at Indian Hills CC and I knew we'd need some productivity from the new guys (see DJO). Well I'm hopping back on the Buycks train. Although I saw upside in EWill's offensive game, I still don't see him getting much PT this season. It seems like Fulce already has his role established with the team. He's a good rebounder, effective around the rim, and has a smooth baseline jumper. When Buycks comes in, he'll be expected to score because he may replace Vander or DJO on the court. Once we start getting bench production, we'll be introduced to a whole new side of Marquette basketball.


Thanks to the bloggers for contributing. Thanks again to you for reading (and donating to Al's Run)

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