Just two years ago 6-foot-5 Lazar Hayward was playing center for a Marquette team that was the 7th shortest team in Division I basketball. With the signing of Aaron Durley, the AVERAGE MU player in 2012-13 would be taller than Lazar, as MU would be on pace to be the 44th tallest team in the land at 6-foot-5.7 inches.
|2009-10||6' 2.7 "||341|
The chances of sneaking Durley out of Texas seemed low when he visited MU September 30 and tweated about how cold and rainy it was. When Kansas State, Arizona and Texas A&M started showing interest, it appeared MU would be a long shot in light of Durley having been acclimated to Saudi Arabia’s climate from 2000-06. My in-laws moved from Milwaukee to Saudi Arabia for a few years, and told me about the first flight from Milwaukee to Saudi Arabia. They landed at midnight, and were happy to hear it was 47 degrees in the middle of the night so they could rest before contending with the heat. They walked off the plane to get hit in the face with the furnace of the 47-degree CELSIUS (117-degree fahrenheit) midnight temperature. I really didn’t see a kid making the transition the other way.
However, late last night word came out that the center from Chris Otule’s high school, listed at 6-11, 260 in the Rivals database, had committed, leaving a projected roster for 2012-13 as:
During his stint in Saudi Arabia, where his father was working, Durley was a baseball slugger who drew fame as the tallest player to ever make it to the Little League World Series – perhaps a good sign that he is coordinated for his height. He was 6-foot-8, 245 as a 13-year-old.
The other major conference team to get an early offer to Durley was South Florida, which has to be disappointed after also losing a similar battle to MU for late bloomer Davante Gardner.
He emerged as an all-state basketball player in Texas private school division, so he seems to arrive at Milwaukee further along than Chris Otule, who Buzz recently joked was the worst high school player above 6-foot-2 in Texas, before emerging at MU. Based on a Rivals article, he sounds like a guy you would really want on the team, answering every question with a “sir” and referring questions to his father.
Roster finally big, but still has plenty of potential point guards
Buzz clearly did not like forcing his undersized players to match up against bigger positions, and has solved that quickly. He filled in many switchables who can play multiple positions, and sent one of them to the NBA three years in a row.
With a roster with four players 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-11 in Chris Otule, Steve Taylor, Davante Gardner and now Durley, that only leaves the question of whether or not MU will have enough point guard play to be a truly dominant contender.
It appears the answer is yes.
The reviews on Junior Cadougan are very good, with reports he is finally back to the incredible speed he came to Marquette with before tearing the Achilles before his freshman season. With his strong play down the stretch, he is firmly established as the point guard for the next two years.
The early reviews on Derrick Wilson are bringing back memories of another D1 football recruit who picked MU instead – Tony Miller. While only time will tell if Wilson will become one of the top few point guards in the country and lead MU to the Sweet 16 like Miller, Buzz is already saying Wilson is the best freshman defender he has ever had.
Finally, let’s remember that TJ Taylor was ranked as the 16th best point guard in the country before sitting out last year and coming to Marquette, so for one year MU could have THREE great options at the point.
Adding great size AND point guard play to Buzz’s legendary switchable players looks pretty tough to beat, and having a guy who has put up 40 points in a game with some of the deepest ranges in the country (Jake Thomas) is a pretty nice option.
Oh, and that’s just 2012-13, BEFORE Deonte Burton takes the court for MU and AFTER the graduation of preseason All-Big East players Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder put up big numbers in their senior season.