"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 30, 2010

MU Scrimmages Virginia

As has been the custom for the last four years, Marquette will do without two exhibition games in favor of a scrimmage against another opponent. Last year, Buzz and company went to Virginia, and this year they return the favor with a scrimmage at the Al McGuire Center this year. Although reporters are not allowed and details will be scarce, there might be some rumors or reports that leak out. In the meantime, Rosiak has a great story about the history of the scrimmages and the plan for the day. It's a high quality piece chock full of info.

In the meantime, since details of the scrimmage won't be available, watch some videos!

MU Released Episode 10 of their Revealed Series. This one follows the seniors at BE Media Day.

Plus, there's a feature on Reggie Smith and how he got to Marquette.

Many season ticket holders are starting to receive their tickets. It won't be long now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hoops download heading into the weekend

....and there's plenty of news and chatter about Marquette hoops to help you avoid the monotony of work today.

First up, congratulations to Marquette graduate Maurice Acker who signed his first professional basketball contract yesterday. Acker shared the news on Twitter and will suit up for the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA Development League this winter.

Travis Diener, the Sardinian Assassin, talks about his decision to take his game to Italy in this interview with local media there. Here's Diener's player page from the Dinamo Sassari web site. Prego.

After failing to include Jimmy F. Butler in his list of nominees for the 2010-2011 Naismith Award, Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman redeemed himself this week with two hat tips to the Marquette program. First, Goodman listed Vander Blue as one of the nation's top freshmen to watch this season and he followed that up by ranking MU's backcourt as the 9th best in the nation.

Pico Dulce of The East Coast Bias wrapped up his series of blogger-driven Big East previews with two more entries. First the blogging collective talks about contenders for the Final Four followed by a look at must-see games this winter.

MSG's Jon Rothstein, a must-follow on Twitter, figures that DJO is not getting enough love heading into the season (he's right) and talks up the MU junior on his list of underrated players in the Big East.

In the classroom MU hoops continues to separate itself from the pack in the classroom.

Finally -- if you can't get over the recruiting 'losses' this week, the Anonymous Eagle gives you 25 reasons to move on. Meanwhile Buzz Williams is hosting 6'0" guard Derrick Wilson on an official visit this weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recruiting disappointments mount but fear not

With the national signing period approaching, Marquette's remaining tier one targets made their decisions this week, each choosing programs other than MU.

Earlier this week Rodney Hood cast his lot with Mississippi State after considering MU, Alabama, Florida State and Louisville. Today 6'8" Mike Shaw pledged to Illinois, while 6'5" shooting guard Nick Faust opted for his home state Maryland Terrapins.

Coach Buzz Williams earned the basketball equivalent of the Golden Sombrero, going 0-4 on top 50-ish recruits for the 2011 class. D'Angelo Harrison, Mike Shaw, Nick Faust and Rodney Hood all looked closely at MU and ultimately passed. Predictably, there's a bit of angst in the fan base over MU's inability to breakthrough with the country's more elite talent this time around. We think that angst is unwarranted.

A deep roster dramatically alters the dynamics of recruiting, which explains why Buzz was so committed to pursuing high-end talent like never before. Fact is, the existing roster is talented and it will take high-grade talent to break into the rotation. MU went big game fishing and came up empty, but we applaud the process. Nevertheless, MU should recognize itself -- at least for now -- as a landing spot for quality players who will see significant minutes immediately - if not in their freshman year, at least by their sophomore year.

Consider 2011-2012. While Jimmy Butler, Joseph Fulce and Dwight Buycks are all seniors who expect to log big minutes this season, the current roster already has their replacements lined up. Erik Williams, Jamail Jones, Reggie Smith, Vander Blue and Jamil Wilson all figure to earn big minutes next season regardless of which players sign with MU next month or in the spring.

For the Chicken Little crowd (or even those who are mildly frustrated by being so close and yet so far away), realize that Junior Cadougan and Jamil Wilson were consensus top 50 recruits while Erik Williams was top 75 for the class of 2009. Vander Blue was a top 50 recruit last year while Jamail Jones was in the top 75. Attracting nationally ranked talent to Milwaukee is less of a concern now than it's been in decades at Marquette.

Also, these rankings don't account for Marquette's best players, Darius Johnson-Odom and Butler, as well as the productive Fulce or much-anticipated Jae Crowder, each of whom arrived at MU out of junior college and did not factor into many recruit rankings.

Buzz Williams' track record indicates that talent will find its way to MU next fall, ranked or not. MU's lone verbal commit, 6'6" Californian Juan Anderson, is the top wing player out West for the 2011 class according to Scout.com. Anderson looks to be a good fit for MU, possibly replacing some of the minutes to be vacated by Fulce and Butler, as well as being complimentary to the Blue, Jones and Wilson signings.

Despite the talent on the roster, additional needs exist. Marquette is mired in a decade-long, fruitless pursuit of a skilled power forward, which remains a gap on the roster and an embarrassment for the program. However, it is debatable that Shaw is or will become a true power forward. The 2011 class is light on players who fit the description of a classic power forward and MU has adapted its style of play and roster composition to mitigate this need somewhat. The program also needs another skilled marksman.

Regardless of the decisions made by recruits this week the overall talent on the current roster is as great as it has been since the 2003 Final Four squad. In the past three years Marquette has strung together strong recruiting classes, which have reshaped the program. As Buzz told an audience of alumni earlier this month in New York City, the roster is beginning to look more like a Big East roster. Look for that roster transformation to continue in the next 12 months.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recruiting Targets Expected to Decide this Week


The three top names that we know about are all expected to announce their decisions this week. First, SG Rodney Hood will announce at noon on Wed, according to Zagoria. Further, Zagoria says Hood will choose from among Florida State, Mississippi State, Louisville, Marquette and Alabama. Hood is currently ranked as the #36 player according to RSCI. Scout analyst Evan Daniels doesn't even think we are in Hood's top 3, but of course he also says that he doesn't know what or when Hood is going to announce.

On Thursday, two more names will make their decisions official as well. Again, according to Zagoria, Nick Faust will take official to Villanova this weekend & announce Oct. 28. Maryland, FSU, Oregon State & Marquette also involved. Zags tips Alex Kline for the info. The 6'5 WG is the #32 player according to RSCI. Here's a fun mixtape to watch. MU is still considered in the running, but Villanova has been making a strong late push and Maryland has long been considered the front runner.

6'8 PF Mike Shaw from Chicago is also making his announcement on Thursdays. MU has been in the running, but whispers are out that the #50 player is expected to choose Illinois. Also here from the Sun-Times. There's an outside chance on this one, but don't get your hopes up. We'll believe Marquette is out of it when the final announcement is made by Shaw.

With all three of these players, there is enough information to either be optimistic or pessimistic depending on your general perspective. As a sometimes curmudgeon, it is a very real possibility that at the end of this week, none of these players will have decided to come play for Marquette. We believe in MU's chances, but the nature of the recruiting game means a team misses more than they make. However, I'm not really worried about the recruiting under Buzz, and certainly won't have any angst about the info this week.

Episode 9 of Marquette Basketball: Revealed

We've been critical of some of these, but this one was really enjoyable. This episode could also be titled "Buzz yells at Vander and Junior"

Other Quick Links

The East Coast Bias did Round Two of the BE Blogger Roundtable. This version had each blogger take a guess at the starting fives. Plus, there is also a Round Three, where each blogger talked about what happened during the offseason. In particular, Round three is well worth reading to get a feel for the league.

Rosiak took a look at the team one week in, including the Haunted Hoops scrimmage and a lot of good things to say about Reggie Smith.

Yet Another Basketball Blog predicts the Big EAST and places Marquette 7th.

Steve Novak made the Mavericks Roster (for now). Do great, Steve!

Rush The Court looks at 2010-1011 Impact Players from the Midwest, and has some nice things to say about Jimmy F. Butler.

Ray Floriani, contributor to Villanova By the Numbers, talked Four Factors (especially turnover margin) with Buzz Williams at the BE Media Day. I still can't decide if Buzz really doesn't know about the Four Factors, or if he's just playing the "Aw Shucks" routine.

Time waster extraordinaire. Busting the Bracket's 2011 Season Preview.

edit: Added Marquette Revealed and BE Blogger Roundtable
edit: Added further BE Blogger Roundtable

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In the spotlight at MSG


Big East media day has come and gone generating a plethora of basketball-related content on the interwebs. One trend? There's not much focus on Marquette this season by the media covering the league. In some cases it's as if MU is not even worth the pixels on your screen.

Despite a handful (literally) of consecutive top-5 Big East finishes Marquette remains an outsider without a compelling storyline, which certainly feeds into the underdog culture that drives Buzz Williams' program. Despite a rational case for JFB as the POY, he didn't even make the first team and he's not even considered the league's elite combo forward by some despite better production.

Back to the coverage. As you'd expect, Steve Lavin is the 2010 media darling and the philanderer who recruits misogynists remains unavoidable for comment. Nevertheless, here's a sampler of the Big East coverage today.

We'll start with the red herring - a modest feature on Marquette hoops from the Chicago Tribune. Good morning Oliver Purnell!

Villanova by the Numbers analyzes the variances of the primary pre-season polls for the 2010-2011 Big East season. The predicted finish for MU ranges from 6th to 9th.

Also, in response to a question from twitter, @kevinpvincent asked "On average, how many places does #mubb finish better than predicted in the coaches poll?"

The table shows the year-by-year results. Note that MU has technically never finished lower than 5th in the Big East. Plus, despite our grumbling about the lack of respect, the Three Amigos teams were actually afforded some healthy preseason props. Finally, to answer the direct question, the average is that MU finishes two spots better than predicted in the pre-season coaches poll. Take that with whatever size grain of salt you choose.

Marquette senior Dwight Buycks speaks with Big East TV about the Warriors' upcoming season.

Brendan Prunty from NJ.com provides a capsule on each Big East program, noting that MU is 'the toughest out in the league.'

Pre-season rankings are meaningless in college basketball but they breathe life into the schadenfreude that keeps passions high. One pre-season ranking that homers MU a bit is The Sports Bank, that places MU #33 in the country.

And finally today, the team at MUTVSports is back with the second episode of Marquette Basketball Weekly for the 2010-2011 academic year - see the post from earlier today.

edit: updated with sports bank link

MUBB Weekly 10/21/2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marquette in the Big Apple

Today is the annual Big East media day in New York City, bringing us one step closer to the start of the season. Coach Buzz Williams will be joined by seniors Joseph Fulce, Dwight Buycks and Robert Frozena today for the event. Senior Jimmy Butler suffered a concussion earlier this week and was unable to make the trip.

The Big East coaches selected Georgetown's Austin Freeman as the pre-season player of the year. Jimmy Butler was named second-team All-Big East, while DJO was listed as honorable mention. The coaches pick MU and Louisville to finish in a tie for 8th in the league this year, just ahead of UConn. No respect from within the league, IMHO.

In anticipation of media day the beat reporters from around the league did their own pre-season poll and this year there's some respect for the Warriors. The Big East scribes pick MU as the league's sixth-best team. Meanwhile ESPN picks MU to finish 11th in the Big East this season -- there's a discussion about that prediction on MU Scoop.

Not to be outdone the inimitable Pico Dulce from The East Coast Bias conducted his own strawpoll and pre-season preview with bloggers from around the league. We chipped in and there was some healthy respect for MU, including a few folks picking Vander as Newcomer of the Year. You can read this blogger preview here. Nice work, Pico.

Last night Buzz Williams was the featured guest at the Marquette Circles event in New York City. I live Tweeted the event so check our tweet stream for the details, including information on where to find the interview online in the coming days.

The latest episode of Marquette Basketball: Revealed is up. Also, the Journal-Sentinel posted a complete transcript of Buzz at Marquette's media day. The transcript is excellent. Seriously, it's really interesting to read carefully and digest.

On the recruiting front one-time target Trey McDonald verbally committed to Ohio State earlier this week. The 6'9" big man selected the Buckeyes over MU, DePaul and others.

Nick Faust, a 6'5" shooting guard, still lists MU as a possible destination and will announce his college choice on October 28. Meanwhile, 6'8" Chicagoan Mike Shaw might wait until Spring to decide (he was at Marquette Madness). MU fans are also watching for updates on 6'7" Rodney Hood, who will reportedly decide between FSU, Mississippi State, Alabama, Marquette and Louisville this week.

Despite all of the names Buzz is in on there's a legitimate chance that Marquette may whiff on all these players -- or chose to move on to other talent. Rest assured, however, that when it's all said and done, the talent level Buzz brings in will be at least sufficient. Don't be surprised if there is yet another JUCO player we've never heard of but will be great (see: Butler, J.F., DJO).

After Media Day, there are a few more events upcoming as we get closer to the first (exhibition) game on Nov 6th. The Fish Fry / Haunted Hoops is taking place on Friday. Plus, Marquette will host UVA in a closed-door scrimmage on Oct 30th.

Friday, October 15, 2010

#mubb is loading up on visits tonight


Once in a while Twitter noticeably trends on certain topics not related to Brett Favre and sexting. With Madness upon us the Marquette hoops corner of the Twitterverse is abuzz with information about high school kids visiting The Al tonight for Madness.

IWB has been on this all day via Twitter with loads of updates. Mark Miller is updating too, as is ESPN's Reggie Rankin. Based on what we know, courtesy of previous reports and the voluminous updates tweeted today by this trio, the following kids (at least) will be on campus tonight for Madness:

Juan Anderson, MU verbal
6'8" Mike Shaw
6'9" Trey McDonald, a big-time sleeper according to ESPN.
6'8" Jarion Henry (some chatter that he might not be there today)
6'6" Cinmeon Bowers

6'8" Timajh Parker
6'3" Arroyo Edwards
6'2" Aaron Simpson
6'3" Jamal Ferguson
6'5" Trey Guidry
6'10" Philip Nolan
6'8" Malik London
6'8" Alex Poythress
6'6" J.P. Tokoto

6'1" Bronson Koenig
6'1" Duane Wilson

Note that this list is fluid. Also, keep in mind that underclassmen are not allowed to make official visits to campus, so the 2012 and 2013 kids paid their own way. Considering the geographic diversity of these young men -- student-athletes from as far away as Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas -- the draw to The Al tonight is strong.

We'll update a consolidated list of visitors if new names pop up. Also, if you tweet please add IWB, Reggie and Mark to your follows.

**Edits: Jarion Henry commentary. Added Cimmeon Bowers, Aaron Simpson, Timajh Parker, Arroyo Edwards.

...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.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...Marquette basketball season

As if the trailer for Marquette Madness didn’t get you excited enough for Friday, there are many other aspects of the Marquette basketball program that have people chirping about this team. I can’t speak from experience because I wasn’t really a fan of Marquette basketball during the Final 4 run and maybe it’s because Twitter and Facebook are bigger than ever, but this seems to be the most hyped team in a while.

Jimmy and DJO played a ton of minutes last season and can only get better with more experience. People are saying great things about Cadougan and we'll hopefully see why he was ranked so high coming out of high school. There's loads of hype about Vander Blue, Jae Crowder, and the rest of the newcomers. The list goes on...

Although I’m going to miss my fellow graduates, I don’t see why Buzz and crew can’t exceed expectations. Again.

With the recent news that 2012 stud recruit J.P Tokoto might also be at the AL Friday night, there is reason to believe that Marquette is getting closer and closer to being one of the nation’s top programs. Sure, just because Tokoto is coming to madness doesn’t mean he’s committing to be a Golden Eagle (he also has Duke, UNC, Kentucky, and Kansas on his radar). But to be mentioned in the same sentence with schools like that is an accomplishment in its own right.

Another positive is that our team is healthy (knock on every piece of wood you can find). Last season at this time, DJO and Cadougan were both down with injuries and were unable to complete boot camp. As far as I know, every member of this squad completed boot camp. Obviously it’s a long season, but it’s nice to have arguments about starting lineups and substitutes compared to lack of depth like we’ve had for a couple years.

To be a homer and include some close friends in this, too, Marquette’s student media features some of the best and brightest minds in terms of current college students. We’ve all seen the work Brad Galli, Todd Warner, and the rest of the MUTV Sports crew put out there. This year, Andrei Greska is the MU Tribune sports editor and will without doubt produce some great material on the men’s basketball team. Andrei kept a blog throughout this summer’s World Cup and currently has a blog about the MU women’s volleyball team. So after every game when you’ve read CS, argued with Chicos on MUScoop, looked at Rosiak’s recap, etc., check out mutvsports.com and marquettetribune.org for their game recaps and next day analysis.

This upcoming season seems to be creating the most buzz I’ve seen in recent years – pun absolutely intended.

I hope to be at madness Friday night and will provide many more updates on twitter at timkraft13.

We Are Marquette.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MUTV Sports is back on the beat

Welcome back Brad, Todd and the talented crew from MUTV Sports. Here's the first installment of Marquette Basketball Weekly for the 2010-2011 season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

News and Notes on Marquette Hoops


Marquette Madness is just three days away and the intensity for the program is building. Here are a few updates for your Tuesday morning.

The Marquette Tribune takes an in-depth look at the university's financial commitment to the men's basketball program. The article is laden with facts and figures -- and be sure to click on the informative graphics which provide useful detail about the expenses associated with Division I athletics. A corollary to this article is our blog on the topic from earlier this year, which are reflective of my comments in today's Tribune piece.

In other news, Andy Katz did a story on Marquette. It's all about how Marquette is tabbed in the fourth tier but the team continues to overachieve. Mark it down now... MU finishes 5th-7th in the BE, makes the tournament, and loses their first game (probably on a last second shot, dammit).

Marquette has unveiled episode 7 of their Marquette Revealed series. This one looks at Boot Camp and it's the best one yet.

On the recruiting front, star shooting guard D'Angelo Harrison will announce his decision on Thursday per ZagsBlog. The timing is curious from a Marquette perspective -- Harrison was (is?) scheduled to visit for the Madness festivities this weekend.

Moving on to another 2011 target, reports indicate that highly coveted shooting guard Nick Faust has eliminated Marquette and will decide between Villanova, Maryland and FSU later this month.

Regardless of the decisions Faust and Harrison make, the primary need for the program in 2011 remains acquiring talented size across a number of positions, not necessarily more guards. Buzz appears to be on track to meet that need that to this point.

As far as we know 6'8" Texan Jarion Henry is still considering MU, along with 6'8" combo forward Mike Shaw and 6'9" post man Trey McDonald, among others. Earlier reports had all three of these guys at Madness later this week, along with a few underclassmen. While not scheduled to be at Madness, MU is recruiting 6'7" wing Rodney Hood as well. Hood visited MU earlier this month.

In the category of "that.....was....awesome" former MU coach and class act Hank Raymonds visited the Warriors last night.

Rivals shows the love for Jimmy F. Butler, slotting him in as the nation's 27th best player. I'm sure he'll get a plaque for that.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Al's Run Wrapup - 2010

A huge thank you to the scores of donors, new and old, who broke the 2008 fund-raising record!    

We raised $4,501 this year, a new record for Marquette basketball fans.

The run on Saturday was blessed with gorgeous weather and a huge turnout, swarming Marquette.  Buzz and the team were there signing autographs and chatting with participants.

Here's a few pictures from the day.  Hat-tip to KK for a few of these pics:

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)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Media Update


Thanks to everyone that helped up break the stretch goal of nearly $3,300 to support Al's Run. Because of your generosity, we were able to exceed last year's total, mostly due to some very kind donations. There's still time if you haven't, so please donate to Al's Run now. Every little bit counts.

A few days ago, Marquette released some details about Marquette Madness. It'll be on Friday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Al McGuire Center. Doors will open at approximately 6:45 p.m. MUTV Sports will stream the entire event.

Earlier this week MU released another episode of Marquette basketball revealed. This one looks at Buzz on the road, and the role key people play behind the scenes.

Buzz did an interview with MSG's Jon Rothstein, who posted the responses on his Twitter feed. Or... you could also read the summary in the MUScoop thread or Jon's article that he posted this morning. Buzz also did a radio interview with Milwaukee radio's Bob and Brian (click here and search for Buzz Williams). Buzz has been busy - he was also interviewed yesterday on the WSSP afternoon show.

Check out Villanova By The Numbers for their great preview of Marquette. It's fair, well researched, and in-depth. And oh so accurate -- "Blue is a consensus Top 50 recruit, who was slated to go to Wisconsin before Badger fans changed his mind." Greycat is doing a full preview for each team in the BE. They're all good.

Super recruit Quincy Miller indicated yesterday that MU remains on his list for now. Full details in the article he wrote in SLAM. Of course, according to Zagoria, Miller cut his list down to four and Marquette isn't on it. Seriously, Miller committing to MU is a pipe dream.

Finally, take a look at this mini-documentary about Wesley Matthews. , Wesley had 20 points two nights ago, and 21 points last night. Good start by Wesley.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Buzz Seals the Deal

Just one week after his official visit, Juan Anderson from Castro Valley, California verbally committed to Marquette University yesterday. The 6'6" wing, rated as the best wing player on the West Coast by Scout, chose MU over Arizona State and California. Juan counts as yet another Top 100 recruit for the Marquette program.

Anderson is the first commitment from the 2011 class for MU. The rangy Californian is reflective of the type of athlete Coach Buzz is building the program around -- skilled, athletic players how can play multiple positions effectively. Switchables.

The, ahem, buzz about this verbal is deafening on the interwebs. ESPN recruiting expert Paul Biancardi says Buzz landed a good one.

Here are some more media takes on this. Rosiak has a great story, including quotes from Anderson's AAU coach and his mother. Rosiak also delivers an interview with Juan (must read). Finally, IWB also checks in with an article, including quotes from Anderson himself.

Marquette has two scholarships left for the 2011 class. Uncommitted seniors Mike Shaw, Jarion Henry and D'Angelo Harrison will be on campus next week at Marquette Madness. By the way, freshly minted Marquette commit Juan Anderson is coming back for that event too.

We'll close this one out with some highlight videos. Welcome to Marquette, Juan!

More highlights from Juan winning MVP of the 2010 Norcal Clash tournament

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Preseason Roundtable - Part Two

First things first... thanks to everyone that contributed to Al's Run. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Marquette fans, we hit our fundraising goal. Of course, how much fun is it to simply meet expectations. We're all about exceeding expectations, so don't forget that there is still time to donate before the event this weekend. The new goal is $3,281, which is what we raised as a community last year (plus a buck).

Now, let's return to our preseason roundtable. Missed Part One? Go check it out here. In today's roundtable, we look at "How will the team play?", or as I like to call it... the true/false section.

True or False – this year’s team will continue to feature a 6.5 person rotation.

Tim - FALSE. Butler and DJO will log the most minutes followed by Cadougan, Blue, Crowder, Fulce and Smith. A combination of minutes from Otule/Jones/Williams will round out the deepest rotation the program has enjoyed in years.

Steve - False. Is this a trick question? There is NO WAY this team only has six or seven potential contributors. If we feature a 6.5 person rotation, I suspect we'll hear a lot of griping--some of it might even come from the locker room.

John - False. I believe Buzz will be awefully tempted to play a Razorback 40 minutes of hell line-up of 10 men deep in certain games. We still aren't big, and the incredible turnover/steal advantage we have will become very powerful when we can up the tempo without fear of two of our 6.5 fouling out or running out of gas.

BMA - False. Again I think it's lineup/strategy dependent, but I don't see it being less than 8 unless someone gets hurt and it could go a bit higher than that. Cadougan/Smith is essentially the PG rotation. DJO/Buycks/Blue is the 2. Butler/Fulce/Crowder have the front court, with the possibility to add Williams or Gardner or Otule depending upon the lineup.

muwarrior92 - False. Don't think that's possible if Buzz wants to continue to recruit. He's going to need to get these guys out there playing in droves. 8.5 man rotation.

Rob - Yet again everybody thinks Buzz goes deep. Just to be a contrarian, I am going to say TRUE. Honestly, I believe this because of Buzz's insistence on protecting the ball, as outlined by Dr. Blackheart. I can only count six players that are guaranteed to get PT (Butler, Fulce, Buycks, DJO, Crowder, Cadougan). Every other player, even Otule and Blue, has question marks. Can they protect the ball well enough to see time on the court?

True or False – Marquette will continue to have a minimal inside game this year

Tim - TRUE. Even with great improvement from Otule, nobody will gameplan to stop a traditional post-up game for MU. That said I expect MU to be one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the BIG EAST this year thanks to Butler, Crowder, Fulce and the freshman guards.

Steve – True. We only have one player listed on the roster taller than 6'8".

John - True. I believe both Otule and Gardner will have a couple of games with some points, but can't see them being regular scorers. However, protecting the hoop on defense will improve.

BMA - If you mean a traditional low post scorer, true. Otule is getting there, but I think he's still a year away. I don't know if Gardner is ready to play major minutes because of his conditioning, but he's got the post moves to contribute. Scores around the bucket are still going to come from drives by the wings, with the occasional dump off to whomever is down there.

muwarrior92 - True, but not quite as bad as last year. I don't think our 3 point shooting will be as good so our interior play will need to improve.

Rob - False. Now I'm just being difficult. With the overall average height, we will have a legit inside presence simply by being able to play a "length" lineup. Better said, our height probably won't kill us this year, even without that traditional low post scorer. Also, on the defensive end, I believe we will be better defensively by virtue of our length.

True or False – we have enough PG depth this year

Tim - TRUE. The roster has enough backcourt talent to mix and match.

Steve - False. Its a fair expectation that Cadougan and Smith can give us 40 mpg at the point. On the other hand, MU seems to be hit with more than our fair share of injuries. Either of those two players go down, and we're in trouble--until someone else proves capable. Blue might be that man. I hope we don't resort to letting Gardner bring the ball up.

John - True. Because Vander can play the point too, and some combination of Smith/Cadougan will work.

BMA - Can you ever have enough PG depth? If Junior gets hurt again we're in a bad spot. Smith is the only other PG on the roster, and he's not really a true PG yet. Of course, we only had one PG last year, so if Junior stays healthy I don't think it will matter much.

muwarrior92 - False (editor's note - short and sweet)

Rob - False. I agree with BMA. If Junior gets hurt, we are really in a bad spot. I'm not convinced in Smith, Blue, or Buycks running the show.


Thanks again for the contributions. Stay tuned for Part Three of the roundtable.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Make us pay!

Al's Run is this Saturday .. and we are woefully behind our $1977.78 goal.

You remember Al's Run, right?  It's not named for Al Gore.  Not Al Capone.  Nor Al Pachino.  Not even Al Jazeera.

It's named after Al McGuire.  You know, the patron saint of Marquette Basketball, and creator of the phrase "Cracked Sidewalks."

In an effort to jump start the fund-raising .. the Cracked Sidewalks authors are issuing a 24 hour challenge and will match all donations up to a total of $500 smackers.

$50 and $100 are super, but we wanna see some $19.78 donations, too.  Or how about $30, the price of one lower bowl game ticket.    You didn't want to see the big MU vs. NJ Institute of Technology game anyhow.

So .. let's find our credit cards, and double your dough, Marquette fans:  http://www.firstgiving.com/marquettefans

Monday, October 04, 2010

Preseason Roundtable - Part One

It's time again for our blogger preseason roundtable. With less than two weeks before the official start of college basketball, we threw around some questions and opened it up. This is the first of three different posts. Today's questions look at Unknown / New Players, or as I call it... the multiple choice section.

Out of Crowder, Jones, Blue, Smith, and Gardner, which of the new members of the team do you think will make a significant contribution this year?

Tim - Crowder, Blue and Smith -- in that order. Despite not getting to campus until the very end of the summer, Crowder's skills should translate into an immediate role as a contributor on the team. Blue and Smith will fill much of the playing time left by Acker and Cubillan, and I expect them to begin the transformation of the MU backcourt into a far more aggressive unit than we saw last year. Unless Jones is an exceptional defender or shooter, consistent minutes will be tough to find.

Steve - Crowder. Crowder comes in as a junior, played at a high-level JC program, and there are plenty of open minutes given the departure of Hayward with no clear-cut returning player at that position. Fulce, Otule or Williams could compete, but Crowder had demonstrated a high level of achievement. Otule has a total of 12 D1 games over two seasons. Williams not much more. Fulce is a nice role player, but I think we've seen his ceiling and it will be disappointing if Crowder can't come in top his performance. I see Gardner competing for the same minutes as Crowder, but not getting many.

Going into to practice, I think Smith has to be considered a backup to Cadougan--so he'll get 5 to 10 minutes per game in that role. That could be a more steady role than Gardner, Jones or Blue. If he makes a significant contribution, it likely means Junior isn't back 100% from his injury. Blue and Jones will see minutes limited by playing behind DJO and Butler, although some have said Blue has PG ability.

John - It's an incredible group, but I will be shocked if Crowder isn't the star.

How do you gauge what Junior College Player of the Year means for a 28-2 Howard College team? Massey Ratings seems to be the one service that has really taken a shot at rating all Divisions of basketball including Junior Colleges against each other. I notice if football his ratings often see the I-AA teams (or whatever they call them now) upsetting the BCS teams. Well, these ratings say that Howard College would have been the 103rd best Division I team last year, better than teams like UCLA by a couple of spots.

He says they are better than all the Division II schools. So Crowder was the dominant player on a team that probably wasn't quite good enough to make the NIT tournament.

Coming in as a junior into a team that basically build themselves around Lazar Hayward - a very similar player, and Crowder is the one can't miss on this team. Particularly since the guards will be fighting for minutes whereas we have to have Crowder on the court.

BMA - Sort of a non-answer, but I think it's going to depend on how Buzz structures the lineup. If we play a lot of 3 guard sets, it's Vander. He's not going to play point, but if there are two other guards spots on the floor, he's the back up for both and will play a lot...maybe even start ahead of Buycks. If we play a 2 guard set, I think he won't play as much, and Crowder will play a ton at the forward opposite Jimmy or in some weird three forward combination. Smith I think is going to play quite a bit, but I don't know that I'd ever call the contributions of the back up PG "significant". Jones is in a situation where there's just a lot of guys ahead of him at the positions he can play, so I don't think he sees the floor much this year....and Gardner seems to be one of those spot guys right now. He may play a lot against a team with two traditional inside guys like Syracuse, but he may have long stretches of no time as well.

muwarrior92 - I hope all of them. Crowder, Smith and Blue are probably top of that list. A lot of hype with Vander that I wish wasn't there. MU fans need to judge him fairly. Smith is very intriguing to me, especially in light of what little we have seen from Junior thus far. He could become a critical player if Junior struggles. Crowder probably has the ability to make the biggest splash of the new guys.

Rob - I agree most closely with Tim's answer of Crowder, Blue, and Smith. However, I honestly don't think that any of the freshmen will see much playing time. I'll believe that Buzz plays freshmen when he starts playing freshmen. My expectation is that sometime in January, there will be a large cry of "why isn't Vander Blue playing more?".

Otule or Cadougan – The whispers are loud for these guys, but both have been marred by injury so far. Who do you think makes the larger impact on the team this year?

Tim - Cadougan is the team's biggest question mark heading into the season. He was rather injury-prone in high school and last year was a lost year too. I think Cadougan makes a much bigger impact on the team this year than Otule either way --- by playing well or by succumbing to injury. I'm anxious to see how much Otule has improved, but in two years on campus the big man has not shaken the injury bug and I don't expect that his talent is so great that he'll take minutes from Crowder or Fulce on the baseline, or force Buzz to change the way the roster plays.

Steve - Cadougan. We absolutely need a PG, and given his reputation and experience, he's the obvious go-to choice. While it would be nice to have an Otule-sized player contribute, we've seen last year that it’s not an absolute need.

Pudner - Cadougan. This guy was ranked just a little lower than Vander Blue by most services. Getting a taste of Big East play may not have helped us that much last year, but it sure should have helped get him ready to step right on the court and run the point. I am really excited about the role Otule can play and trust that Buzz really has developed him, but it's got to be Cadougan coming up big.

BMA - Cadougan, and it's not even close. The guy we saw last year was a shell of what he really is. Watching him in the Pro-AM you could see that he's got his speed and agility back. I think people will see why he was a top recruit in 2009....and perhaps wish he had redshirted last year so we could have him for another year. Otule will a factor in some games, but he's still not ready yet. He had a long way to go, and too many injuries have impacted that.

muwarrior92 - It better by Junior or we're in trouble. Point Guard seems to be the biggest unknown on this team. When JC played at the end of last year, it was difficult to judge what he could do. Certainly a good passer, but I don't recall him hitting a single shot and certainly didn't look to take many. JC is the key to the season (or if not JC, someone else that can step in and play the point)

Rob - Wow... everyone went with Cadougan. Just to be different, I'll make an argument for Otule. Cadougan will run the show and protect the ball for sure. However, for two years I've been waiting for Buzz's teams to be better defensively. Otule will bring an improved presence simply through his height and rebounding. Not to mention that him being on the court will allow for Crowder to move to the four and for Jimmy F. Butler to play his natural position on the wing. Cadougan may be more noticeable because of his role controlling the offense, but Otule will have the bigger impact. Fear the goggles.


Stay tuned for parts two and three in the next few days.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Marquette Media Update


Today's Must Read Items

First things first, if you missed it, check out the Recruiting Update below. Tim's update was like tasty, tasty crack. Posted after the article yesterday, it looks like Mike Shaw will be at Madness. Marquette's chances seem strong based on the article, but honestly, we are puzzled by the info they put in about Shaw's academics. By the way, there are 12 more test dates for the ACT/SAT during this academic year.

After recruiting, your second stop needs to be this great article about Marquette legend Hank Raymonds. Getting only minimal coverage, Coach Raymonds was diagnosed with a brain tumor over the summer. At 86 years old, Raymonds may not have a lot of time left on this earth. Let's cherish him a little more, because he's one of the true Marquette legends.

Updated with news from Rosiak - your third must-read of the day is his update on Boot Camp, which includes discussion of the schedule, boot camp, foot injuries, and Jamil Wilson petitioning the NCAA (not happening).

Moving on, we'll catch up on Marquette news from around the Internets.

News from Marquette

Madness is in two weeks. Let's restate that. COLLEGE BASKETBALL IS HERE AGAIN OFFICIALLY IN TWO WEEKS. I swear these offseasons get longer and longer. Surprisingly, there is very little info on Marquette's website.

After Madness, Marquette is holding Walk-On Tryouts on Oct 18th. You've got to be a current student, email Brad Autry, and get cleared in advance. Good luck unseating The Wild Rumpus. I heard on the "Internet" Frozena killed a guy last year.

Can't make it to Madness? Hit up the Fish Fry / Haunted Hoops event on Oct 22nd. Marquette has online registration or a PDF version. Reception is at 5, scrimmage starts at 7. Kids of all ages can wear their costumes.

MU release their Marquette Revealed - Episode 5 earlier this week. I've liked other videos, but this one was weak. However, supposedly more access is forthcoming and has been restricted so far due to NCAA regs. Eventual end product will consist of two, 30-minute HD TV shows, which will include some of the video in the webisodes and other footage as well.

Going to be on campus tonight for family weekend? Buzz is speaking tonight, for the second year in a row. It'll be in the Monaghan Ballrooms of the Alumni Memorial Union at 6 pm. Check the link for more details.

Marquette Players that Play for Money

People in Portland seem to be pretty psyched about Wesley Matthews.

Catch up on some results of Dominic James playing in Bulgaria. His team just lost the first leg of the EuroCup Qualifying Round (78-74), with James chipping in 10 pts and 6 assists. A few days ago James went for 17 pts, 7 rebounds, six assists in a victory. That second link is worth reading just for the translation, even if their English is better than my Bulgarian.

Other random news

Dick Enberg's play, "Coach: The Untold Story of College Basketball Legend Al McGuire", is going to be both at Belmont Abbey and Indiana University in October. Now, before you freak out about Crean and Indiana and why-the-hell-do-you-keep-using-Marquette-stuff-at-Indiana-when-it's-Indiana-it's-Indiana, Enberg got his masters and doctorate degrees from IU. okay, fine.

Buzz was quoted in this DeCourcy article about how thin the margin is in the BE.

The Racine Journal Times is asking who should be the first inducted into the Racine County Sports Hall of Fame (scroll down). Stupid, but go vote for either Jim Chones or Jim McIlvaine. If you want to.

Finally, attendees at Marquette games this year will see a brand-spanking new scoreboard. Here's the fact sheet. Both the Marquette link and the Journal-Sentinel article also include some short video clips.

PS - Donate to Al's Run. People that don't donate like kids getting sick. What kind of monster are you?