"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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Non-Conference Schedule 2012-13, Part I

It's time to get back to basketball. While bama did a great job covering the Value-Add side of Marquette's non-conference foes, I'm going to look at team capsules in terms of what they want to do and how they match up with Marquette. This will be the first of a four-part series, each will take a close look at one team Marquette is going to face and a brief look at the rest, broken down into three-four game arcs. I'm going with a wedding theme, since I'm getting married in a couple months.

Ohio State (Neutral)

Something Old: Jared Sullinger and William Buford are gone. Sullinger's impact will be felt on both ends of the floor, as he was one of the best attackers in the low post and a legitimate defensive presence, while Buford takes a ton of experience (averaged at least 29 mpg for 4 years) and scoring (averaged double-digits for 4 years).

Something New: First, Ohio State's tempo was significantly kicked up last year. Matta's teams averaged 65.4 possessions in his first 7 seasons, then turned on the afterburners last year averaging 68.2 possessions. They did this by shooting fewer threes and lengthening the bench. With four stud sophomores replacing Sullinger and Buford, most notably the quick and lanky Amir Williams at center, the Buckeyes will likely play even faster next year.

Something Borrowed: The Buckeyes will be one of the favorites in the Big Ten. Why? In ranking Ohio State #4 in the country, The Sporting News notes "Deshaun Thomas... [is] ready to pick up the two dozen shots per game they left behind, and he’ll make excellent use of them. Thomas has the skills to comfortably average 20-plus points per game."

Something Blue (and Gold): This should be an incredibly interesting match-up with Marquette. Both teams feature solid PGs in Cadougan and Craft, long, athletic forwards in Jamil Wilson and Thomas, and defensive stud centers that are offensively challenged in Otule and Williams. The X-factor for Marquette in this game will almost certainly be Davante Gardner. He's the best low-post scorer in this game, and during lulls in pace, his points and fouls drawn could be the difference. No matter what, this will be a good game for Marquette's strength of schedule and RPI, as Ohio State is a legitimate top-ten team and national title contender.

Colgate (Home)

Something Old: Apparently scoring the basketball. Colgate didn't have a single player score in double-digits last year, and only return two of their top six scorers.

Something New: The Raiders welcome a host of new faces, including Spaniard Alex Ramon, Alaskan JUCO Damon Sherman-Newsome, and former John Groce commit Ethan Jacobs.

Something Borrowed: Second-year head coach Matt Langel is a tenacious recruiter. As a Temple assistant, he traveled to Argentina to recruit Juan Fernandez, but upon arriving, learned that Fernandez was on the other side of the country and with no available flights. "It was Hertz rental all the way," he said. "Me in a compact with a stick shift driving along this bumpy two-lane road in Argentina for almost 10 hours." It's a recruiting story even Buzz Williams could be proud of.

Something Blue (and Gold): Langel is just beginning a huge rebuilding process. The Raiders will be a RPI drain, but also an easy win.

Southeastern Louisiana (Home)

Something Old:  One thing value-add missed is the return of Brandon Fortenberry. The star guard was averaging 17.6 ppg when he went down last year and is a leading Southland Conference Player of the Year candidate after being granted a fifth year.

Something New: JUCO transfer Dre Evans was once a Providence commit. He should combine with Fortenberry and Daron Populist to vastly improve the Lions' back court.

Something Borrowed: The Lions return 10 players and should be a threat to win the Southland, which is why Fortenberry, despite graduating, stayed for his fifth year. "'You always want to be the best you can be, but my thing at the end of the day is I just want to win a championship,' Fortenberry said."

Something Blue (and Gold): Marquette saw how dangerous low-major teams like Norfolk State can be last year, and the Lions are similar. They have the talismanic leader, experienced players alongside, and a coach looking for a breakthrough. But just like NSU lost heavily at the Bradley Center, the Lions won't likely put up much of a road challenge. Their wins will mostly come in conference play.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mayo's return eclipses Monarch's departure; prepares MU to take on 3 top 25 RPI opponents early

After 1,467 self-reported secondary violations in the Big Ten from 2006-2011, critics were quick to  jump on Marquette having a rare one.  Buying a piece of merchandise and giving a ride to a recruit is certainly a clear violation in the almost 500-page and growing NCAA rule book. It is a shame that Scott Monarch is no longer an assistant coach at Marquette due to reportedly being untruthful over what would otherwise be one of thousands of secondary violations.

We certainly do not want to kick Coach Monarch while he is down, but assistant coaches move on frequently and his departure is eclipsed by the reports that one of Marquette's four top 500 players - Todd Mayo - is now back in class.  Based on http://www.valueaddbasketball.com/ Todd Mayo is MUs 4th best player and Marquette is the 25th best team in the land, while without him MU would drop to the 41st best team and a bubble team.  Here is how Marquette's top 3 players and 25th best Value Add stacks up against the non-conference foes.

DateOpponent / EventRnkRank, Player, Height2nd Best3rd Best
10/12/2012Marquette Madness25158 Gardner 6-8317 J. Wilson 6-7327 Blue 6-4
11/9/2012vs. Ohio State (Carrier Cl, Charleston SC)98 Craft 6-212 Thomas 6-7219 Smith 6-4
11/11/2012vs. Colgate TV3182321 McMullen 6-62383 Roh 6-42688 Moore 6-5
11/13/2012vs. Southeastern Louisiana250760 Johnson 6-61665 Populist 5-101688 Petovcic 6-8
11/19/2012EA SPORTS Maui InvitationalRnkBest Value Add2nd Best3rd Best
vs. vs. Butler TV85209 Clarke 6-0373 Smith 6-11464 Marshall 6-6
11/20/2012EA SPORTS 2nd RoundRnkBest Value Add2nd Best3rd Best
vs. North Carolina-2nd round? TV31176 McAdoo 6-9206 Bullock 6-7223 Hairston 6-6
vs. Mississippi St.-2nd round?135506 Steele 6-3748 Sword 6-3819 Ware 6-8
11/21/2012EA Sports 3rd Round (unless Chaminade)RnkBest Value Add2nd Best3rd Best
vs. Illinois-Final Round?107586 Paul 6-4596 Abrams 6-1598 Shaw 6-6
vs. Texas-Final Round?1034 McClellan 6-498 Holmes 6-7156 Kabongo 6-1
vs. Southern Cal-Final Round?74226 Terrell 6-3465 Jones 5-7525 Dedmon 525
Final Non-ConferenceRnkBest Value Add2nd Best3rd Best
11/26/2012vs. MD Baltimore Co.3202125 Basalyga 6-92223 Getz 6-02289 Lane 5-11
11/29/2012at Florida (SEC/BE Challenge) TV1529 Boynton 6-296 Young 6-9277 Murphy 6-10
12/8/2012vs. Wisconsin TV2390 Gasser 6-3128 Berggren 6-10162 Evans 6-6
12/15/2012vs. Savannah State150622 Louis 6-7839 Rudolph 5-11874 Smith 6-8
12/19/2012at Green Bay113174 Brown 7-1232 Cerroni 6-2340 Sykes 5-10
12/22/2012vs. LSU77155 Hickey 5-10503 O'Bryant 6-9532 Carmouche 6-2
12/29/2012vs. North Carolina Central218896 Chapman 6-1947 Willis 6-61584 Ingram 6-3

If opponents' RPIs play out like their preseason Value Adds, Marquette could face 3 non-conference top 25 RPI teams and 4 in the top 50.  As you can see, Ohio State has two of the top 12 players in the country while Colgate does not have any of the top 2300 players in the country.

13 Non-Conf201220112010
RPI Top 25322
Top 50403
Top 100656
Top 200997
Not Top 200446

The 6th top 100 opponent could be LSU, which stunned then No. 8 Marquette last year but did not appear to be a Top 100 team until Memphis graduate Charles Carmouche signed to play this year with LSU.  It looks like Mayo's return means Marquette will be ready for an improved non-conference schedule.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Otule vs. Gardner line-by-line comparison: could Gardner be best player on team but not start?

What do you do when your best offensive player and your best defensive player are both centers?

In what looks like one of the deepest and most balanced teams in the country - but without any player expected to dominate like DJO and Jae Crowder did last year - Buzz Williams will have to balance out the minutes at the center position.

When going to www.valueaddbasketball.com and putting in "BE" under conference and "2013" under year, you get the following results.  When you sort by the Offensive Value Add D'Angelo Harrison comes in as the best offensive player in the conference at 6.64% offensive value add, and Davante Gardner comes in as Marquette's best offensive player and 16th overall at 3.74%.  That means if Marquette would have tied a game 70-70 in regulation without either player, then having Davante's offense should give MU a 73-70 win.

When you sort by Defensive Value Add, Gordui Dieng is the best defensive player and Chris Otule is the 12th best defensive player, meaning he changes that same 70-70 game into a 70-68 win over someone else filling in at center.

I know fans always think an individual player impacts games by 10 or 15 points, but they just don't.  Being just a few points better than the good backup right down the bench is tough at the high level that all BCS-level players play.

Best BE offensive playerschoolHeightOffenseRnkBest BE defensive playersTeamHeightDefense
Harrison, D'AngeloSt. John's6-foot-36.641Dieng, GorguiLouisville6-foot-10-5.09
Henton, LaDontaeProvidence6-foot-66.32Edwin, FuquanSeton Hall6-foot-6-4.04
Porter, OttoGeorgetown6-foot-86.223Smith, RussLouisville6-foot-0-3.34
Cotton, BryceProvidence6-foot-15.924Marra, MikeLouisville6-foot-4-3.12
Cooley, JackNotre Dame6-foot-95.745Porter, OttoGeorgetown6-foot-8-2.86
Grant, JerianNotre Dame6-foot-55.466Miller, DaneRutgers6-foot-6-2.8
Napier, ShabazzConnecticut6-foot-05.167Fitzpatrick, ToarlynSouth Florida6-foot-8-2.8
Patterson, LamarPittsburgh6-foot-55.038Behanan, ChaneLouisville6-foot-7-2.48
Adams, StevenPittsburgh6-foot-104.489Siva, PeytonLouisville5-foot-11-2.41
Crockett, JameeDePaul6-foot-44.4110Wright, CashmereCincinnati6-foot-0-2.33
Connaughton, PatNotre Dame6-foot-54.3111Cooley, JackNotre Dame6-foot-9-2.08
Fair, CJSyracuse6-foot-84.1212Otule, ChrisMarquette6-foot-11-2.08
Boatright, RyanConnecticut6-foot-04.0213Southerland, JamesSyracuse6-foot-8-2.07
Behanan, ChaneLouisville6-foot-73.9614Fair, CJSyracuse6-foot-8-2.04
Ledo, RicardoProvidence6-foot-53.7815Jackson, JustinCincinnati6-foot-8-1.94
Gardner, DavanteMarquette6-foot-83.7416Adams, StevenPittsburgh6-foot-10-1.92

As you can see from Value Add, Otto Porter looks like the clear Big East Player of the Year as the 3rd best offensive player and 5th best defensive player in the conference, for a combined 9.08% Value Add that is just above the traditional 9.0% mark that indicates an All-American season.  He projects as the 4th best player in the country.

When we look closer at the numbers by averaging together the two seasons for both at www.kenpom.com, we are reminded that due to injuries both players have only averaged 11 minutes per game played by Marquette.  That means both have tremendous upside beyond the Value Add projection (Value Add doesn't know when you are injured, so it treats both as only being able to produce at their level for 11 minutes a game, whereas when heathly both have sustained that level for much longer).  So if we run through the key Pomeroy stats and how each player would compare to the top players in the country or the average player in the country we get the following:

ave. 2 seasonsOtuleGardnerWould rank nationally
Minutes1111Will go way up
OffensiveOtuleGardnerWould rank nationally
Off Rating95.9118.2G 3rd in country
% possessions16.423.5Average 20%
Off Rebound%10.514.9G 26th in country
Assist Rate1.47.49.0% average
Turnover rate26.216.120.2% average
FT Rate65.266.9G 40th, O 48th
FT%557569.2% average
FG%57.756.9O 15, G 20th
DefensiveOtuleGardnerWould rank nationally
Block%9.11.4O 35th in Country
Def Rebound%14.914.913.6% average
Steal% average

On offense, if Gardner were to maintain his 118.2 overall offensive rating (the average number of points MU would score on a trip when Davante gets the ball), then he would rate as the 3rd best overall offensive player in the country when he has the ball.  He is that good if he has conditioned himself well enough to put in 25 or 30 minutes, so you see why Pomeroy loves him.

When MU has the ball, Davante has had it 23.5% of the time - above the 20% average, so he has had to put up these numbers despite handling the ball a lot more than Chris (16.4%).

Davante's ability to grab 14.9% of all MU misses makes him the 26th best offensive rebounder in the country, though Chris is strong as well at 10.5%.  Davante is also a very nice passer, assisting on 7.4% of MU baskets while he is on the floor, which is an outstanding number for a center and almost average for all players.  Chris almost never provides as assist, with a very low 1.4%.

Davante also protects the ball pretty well (16.1% of possessions are turnovers to 20.2% average and Chris' 26.2%).  Both would be one of the top 50 players in the country at getting to the line at a very good clip (FT Rate), but the difference is Gardner hits 75% of his free throws once there to only 55% for Chris, so when Davante gets sent to the line for two shots MU comes away with an average of 1.5 points, whereas when Chris goes MU comes away with 1.1 points.

In raw field goal percentage, both players would be in the top 20 in the country.  So Chris does get to the hoop and draw a foul a few times a game, even though overall he is an offensive liability, while Davante could truly be one of the top few offensive players in the country if he can play near the level he has been at for 11 minutes per MU game over the course of 25 minutes a game.

Chris must add defensive rebounding to defensive dominance

While college defensive stats are insufficient for an overall objective evaluation, one thing that is clear is that we do need either player to grab more defensive rebounds this year with Crowder gone.  They have both grabbed 14.9% of all opponents misses between the two years, which is barely above average for any player and way below average for a center.  After losing one of the top defensive rebounding forwards in the country in Jae Crowder and our second best non-center defensive rebounder in Jamail Jones (14%), MU was probably left with perhaps the worst defensive rebounding returning team in the country.  The only good news is that transfers Trent Lockett and Jake Thomas are phenomenal defensive rebounding guards - in fact Lockett is better than Otule or Gardner:

1. Trent Lockett 15.7% of opponents misses rebounded
2. Chris Otule 14.9%
3. Davante Gardner 14.9%
4. Jake Thomas 14.0%
National Average 13.6%
5. Vander Blue 11.7%
6. Jamil Wilson 10.8%
7. Derrick Wilson 9.5%
8. Todd Mayo 9.4%
9. Junior Cadougan 6.6%

That's dreadful, so first and foremost on defense we have to hope the combination of Otule and Gardner grabbing more defensive rebounds this year and getting wide bodies on players so that Jamil can improve dramatically and Lockett and Blue can crash the boards will keep defensive rebounding from sinking the season.

Certainly Otule looked like a great box out guy, while Gardner was out of position often though at least he gave us some muscle, so this is the number one concern for the 2012-13 season.

Otule's defensive dominance

Other than that you can see that both players are very good at steals for a center.  Otule has averaged stealing the ball 1.9% of all trips down the court, which is exactly average for all players but way above average for centers.  Davante is not far behind at 1.6%, also excellent for a center.

Then you get to the huge benefit Chris brings on defense - defending the rim to back up our three guard sets.  If Chris can maintain his rate of blocking 9.1% of all opponent's 2-point shots, that would rank him as the 35th best shot blockers in the country, or one of the top 1% of all players.  Davante rarely blocks a shot, as his 1.4% rate is well below the 1.8% for all players and terrible for a center.

Final conclusion: Start Chris, but play Davante 25 minutes a game

Subjectively, we can all see that Chris has just turned into a great defensive center, and his ability to rotate, alter shots, box out, and allow guards to release down the court on breaks gives him a huge edge on defense.

Overall though, I just believe Davante has the potential to be so dominant on offense this year that you have to try to get him 25 minutes even if it is off the bench.  Certainly it will depend on the opponent, the style of play and other factors.

This is really a strange year.  I believe that overall Gardner will be Marquette's best player in 2012-13, BUT I am not even sure he is our best center.  That's how balanced the team is this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Extra Chapter for Ultimate Hoops Guide; Stats and Ratings for All MU players 2009-2012 (Acker to J. Wilson)

Here are the stats on players who finished their careers after the Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University was published.  As I joked in my earlier post today, I could not simply answer the challenge to name MUs all-time starting 5 without going back and running the numbers from the past four years to make sure I knew exactly where Jerel McNeal, Jae Crowder and everyone else ranked.

For those of you who didn't get the book, the stats listed below calculate into a “Wins Credit or WC” stat that estimates how many wins the player was worth to him team that year, with Dwyane Wade 2003 being the best in MU history at 9.6, and Larry Byrd 1979 being the greatest in history at 15.9.  The three figures in parenthesis sum up the career, with;

1.       DOMINANCE (0 to 15) The first number indicating how dominant the player was judged to be based on All-American and NBA selections with Chones, Kojis, Lee, Lucas and Wade the perfect 15s.

2.       IMPACT (0 to 10) The second number is the impact on the program, with Bo Ellis being the only perfect 10 due to being one of the top 2 players on two Final Four teams.

3.       STATS (Wade 32 and Larry Bird a perfect 50 for 1979 season) The statistical rating is Win Credits adjusted for Games Played and combining all seasons.

The total of the three numbers is a player’s career ranking, with a 31 or higher indicating one of the best 50 players in MU history, and a 21 or higher indicating one of the best 100 players of the 685 MU players for whom I have records:

(each player's stats appear BELOW the comments on his MU career)

Maurice Acker (4+4+7=15, 142nd)
In June 2009 it appeared Mo Acker had ended his MU career with a few nice games filling in for the injured Dominic James.  Instead, he changed his mind and came back to have a great season that generated an additional 2.6 wins for MU, the difference between making the NCAA tournament and watching from home.


Juan Anderson (2+2+0=4)
A big prospect out of high school, who hopefully adapts after a weak freshman season.


Vander Blue (5+5+10=20, 107th)
Even repeating his season from last year would put him in the top 100 players of all time, but with just a little offense to add to his steals and rebounds, MUs first 5-star recruit could live up to his potential.


Dwight Burke (7+3+1=11)
Outside of consecutive 100-rebound seasons, his stats are non-existence.  However, his ability to be a productive foreign pro player (“7” dominance rating) indicates the important he had to give MU some muscle during the Three Amigos era.  


Jimmy Butler (10+7+19=36, 29th)
The more advanced Value Add shows he was actually the 5th move valuable player in the country his junior year, and that was reflected in his 1st round selection and ensuring production for the Bulls.  Even though Win Credits undervalues him due to not using all of the stats, he ranks as the 29th best player in MU history.


Dwight Buycks (6+8+8=19, 115th)
If Buycks eventually makes the NBA, it would break him into the top 100 of all-time.  While playing out of position at the point, he still added 2.8 wins his senior year to help MU make the tournament and the Sweet 16.


Junior Cadougan (4+5+8=17, 129th)
It’s still painful to look at the 4-point season that will keep Junior from coming back in 2014, but his strong 2012 was worth 2.7 wins that helped MU repeat as a Sweet 16 team.  Junior has to get some credit for Crowder and DJO having such great seasons.


Jae Crowder (14+8+25=47, 9th)
Going through the three rankings that make up the player ratings from the Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University:
1.       Dominance (14 of 15) -  his selection as 2nd team AP All-American and subsequent selection near the top of the 2nd round and ability to make the Dallas Mavericks,
2.       Impact (8 of 10) - being the top player on a Sweet 16,
3.       Stats (25, Wade highest at 32) - 8.3 Win Credits in 2012 was the 2nd best total, though still way behind Wade’s 9.6 Win Credits for the 2003 season and nowhere near the greatest season ever played (Larry Byrd 15.9 Win Credits in 1979).  Adjusted for games played the top 10 seasons played in MU history in order are; Wade 2003, Thompson 1968, Ellis 1975, Chones 1971, Lee 1978, Wade 2008, Thompson 1969, Crowder 2012, Meminger 1971 and McNeil 1973. However, if we had the stats for Value Add for past seasons, I believe we would see that Crowder’s season was actually the 2nd best of all time behind only Wade 2003, though I believe Jim Chones would have rated higher during 1972 if he had not left for the ABA during the season.  After adding a very strong 2011 season, his Statistical Rating is 25, tied with Larry McNeil for the 8th best statistical career in MU history, though well behind Wade’s all-time MU high of 32, and Byrd has the only perfect 50 of all time.
Combining the three ratings gives Crowder a total rating of 47, making him the 9th greatest player in MU history, though adjusted for Big East competition and Value Add, I believe he is even higher.


David Cubillan (4+4+5=13, 181st)
Like Acker, who would believe that Cubillan could have formed a starting backcourt that would lead MU to the NCAA in a year that should have been pure rebuilding.  His 3-point shooting transformed the team and he was worth 1.6 wins to a team that would not have made the tournament without them.


Robert Frozena (1+1+0=2)
The crowd favorite walk-on.


Joseph Fulce (3+3+1=7)
Like Burke, a player whose contributions were not reflected so much in the stats, but certainly the flashes of brilliance teased MU fans about how good he might have been without the injuries to both knees.


Davante Gardner (3+5+6=14, 158th)
A great sophomore campaign was sidetracked by a leg injury that made him miss games and then play at well under 100%, but even with that Value Add projects Gardner as MUs best player for 2013.  If he stays healthy has lost enough weight to be an average defensive player, Gardner could be a top 100 player of the 4000 in the country.


Lazar Hayward (11+7+19=37, 37th)
After putting up 1.7 and 4.6 Win Credits in the two years in the book, Hayward capped a brilliant career with consecutive 6-win seasons.  Going into his senior season, no one could have predicted he would lead MU to the NCAA or become a 1st round draft pick, but no one is more deserving.  While the stats give a little more credit to the Three Amigos and Jimmy Butler based purely on stats and leaves Hayward as the 37th best player in MU history, few have matched what he accomplished subjectively.


Patrick Hazel (2+2+0=4)
While the Big East did prove too physical for Patrick, he did hit over 70% of his field goals his freshman year, and continued to hit over 50% in his two years after transferring to Boston University.  He was also in the top 2% of all shot blockers in the country in top 7% of all offensive rebounders in each of those two years, helping them to an 11-game win streak and American East title before losing to Kansas in the 2011 NCAA tournament.


Dominic James (9+8+21=38, 23rd)
While a steady fall off every season ended tragically with the broken foot probably costing MU a good NCAA run and perhaps preventing him from making the NBA, as a whole he was the 23rd best player in the history of a very storied program.  Thanks for the memories of many dominant games.


Darius Johnson-Odom (10+7+19=36, 28th)
One of the most exciting players to ever put on a MU uniform was also the 28th best, and improved in every category listed above except blocked shots every year.  His 5.9 Win Credits and top 100 Value Add ranking of all players in the country will always make him one of the greatest duos in MU history as well as in the country in 2012.  However, the memories of the feather touch 3-pointer sending MU to the Sweet 16 versus Syracuse and the highlight dunks will be even more special than the stats.


Jamail Jones (2+2+0=4)
We hope for a great career at Florida Gulf Coast.


Wesley Matthews (12+7+21=40, 21st)
Doc Rivers and Wesley Matthews are Exhibits A and B in why I believe you have to give some weight to how good MU players are ultimately judged by NBA scouts and coaches.  While Matthews stats are not quite as strong as they would have been if he didn’t have to play virtually entire games grinding against opposing big me, the ability sometimes comes out more at the next level when he can show his ability 1-on-1 as a guard.  Same with Doc, whose stats are not that great because college teams sagged in a zone with no shot clock because they couldn't match up with him - and it turned out neither could most NBA players.  Matthews explosion in the NBA results in the dominance rating of “12,” as he is on course to be one of the top 5 NBA scorers in the history of MU.


Jeronne Maymon (3+1+0=4)
While it was a sad story at Marquette, he is not considered a possible future NBA player who could lead Tennessee to a big year next year.


Todd Mayo (3+4+16 = 13, 178th)
After one of the best freshmen campaigns MU has seen, he certainly could explode next year with just a little more consistency.  One of the many players on a balanced 2013 that could break out, and already one of the top 200 players in MU history just based on last year.


Yous Mbao (1+1+0=2)
While the 7-foot-2 Mbao may be best known for going several months at MU without scoring a point IN PRACTICE, let the record show that he broke double digits at Marshall in 2012 with 11 points for the year.  He also blocked 12.1% of all opponents shots while on the floor, which would have ranked 12th in the country if he had played more than 6 minutes a game.  Transfers can be good for school and player, and like Hazel, glad he found a home.


Jerel McNeal (10+8+27=45, 12th)
Originally it appeared he would rank 9th all-time based on projections that he would be drafted and make the NBA, but when neither happened his dominance rating dropped slightly to “10” and he slid slightly to rank as the 12th best player in MU history.  The brutal schedule that he, Matthews, James and Hayward played through at the height of the Big East is not measured by Win Credits, and in fairness you have to move all of them up subjectively and say that McNeal was one of the greatest 10 players ever at MU – even if my formulas do not quite show it.


Chris Otule (4+4+5=13, 175th)
While he will always be a bit of an offensive liability, MU has plenty of scoring and his defensive dominance altering opponents shots at the rim and ability to box out two players a time to let teammates get rebounds cannot be measured.  He already ranks as the 175th best player in MU history despite the season ending injuries, and the biggest puzzle for next year is how you balance minutes between him as one of the most dominant defensive players in the league versus one of the most dominant offensive players in the league (Gardner).


Reggie Smith (1+1+0=2)
He may have transferred from a team that could make an Elite 8 run during his career to another team that could do the same in UNLV.  Would have loved to see how many steals he might have accumulated.


Erik Williams (1+1+0=2)
It was great to have him end his career with a big basket to open the 2nd half win over Xavier in the NCAA, and we hope the surgery was successful and he is great at Houston Baptist.


Derrick Wilson (1+2+0=3)
I did not get to see MU player when Tony Miller was dominating, but as another guy who could have played football Wilson has at least shown he will physically dominant opposing guards for rebounds and steals.


Jamil Wilson (5+5+8=18, 121st)
In just one year he became the 121st greatest player in MU history, but even more showed signs of being a potentially dominating player who could take over with Crowder and DJO gone.  The only weakness was his rebounding, but he was having to player as an undersized center, so back in position he could turn into one of the all-time greats.


Answer to MU Scoop Question: All-Time MU Starting 5 and Updated Top 50 Players

Calling Pudner (Bama)...if he wasn't so damn busy electing Presidents...from his book it is Bo, George, DW3, Butch and Dean. I don't know where Jae would fit in statistically but I assume high." - Dr. Blackheart on MU Scoop
I'm sure this is an evil plot - get that guy who writes for Cracked Sidewalks and is a National Co-Chair for Romney's Faith and Values Coalition sidetracked by asking him who Marquette's all-time Starting 5 should be. I get it. OK, just kidding. But to be sure I was answering this correctly, I did run Crowder's final numbers based on the Ultimate Hoops Guide - Marquette University methodology, and he came in 9th all-time.

You could argue that if you put Bo Ellis at power forward that Crowder makes the team, and in fact I actually believe he should make the team anyway because he and Jerel McNeal would rank higher than 9th and 12th all-time if we could adjust for how much tougher their schedules were than the 1970s stars.

However, after running all the numbers again, but choosing the top three MU teams of all-time by position, I actually end up with the same starting five as walk-on poster cbowe3. I have Crowder as the 2nd team small forward behind Ellis (better season, but Ellis better career over 4 years). You can argue positions such as George Thompson really playing front line at MU, but I tried to put them at their best position, and he was a guard in the pros. I list the rank of the top 3 teams, as well as the Top 50 of all-time.

Of course, to do all this I basically had to write another chapter in the book, so that will come later. Now that I've lost half my readers by mentioning my politics, I'm going back to work on politics, but have the extra chapter posting later.

PosRnkAll-Time First TeamLast Season
sg1Dwyane Wade03 last year
sf2Maurice (Bo) Ellis77 last year
pg3Alfred (Butch) Lee78 last year
pf6Jim Chones72 last year
c7Maurice Lucas74 last year
All-Time Second Team
sg4George Thompson69 last year
pg5Dean Meminger71 last year
pf8Don Kojis61 last year
sf9Jae Crowder12 last year
c11Terry Rand56 last year
All-Time 3rd Team
sf10Earl Tatum76 last year
sg12Jerel McNeal09 last year
c14Jerome Whitehead78 last year
pf16Larry McNeil73 last year
pg20Glen (Doc) Rivers83 last year
Rest of the Top 50
13Dave Quabius39 last year
15Tony Smith90 last year
17Travis Diener05 last year
18Jim McIlvaine94 last year
19Lloyd Walton76 last year
21Wesley Matthews09 last year
22Bernard Toone79 last year
23Dominic James09 last year
24Ed Mullen35 last year
25Gary Brell71 last year
26Michael Wilson82 last year
27Bob Lackey72 last year
28Sam Worthen80 last year
29DJO12 last year
30Jimmy Butler11 last year
31Joe Thomas70 last year
32Gene Berce48 last year
33Steve Novak06 last year
34Joseph (Red) Dunn25 last year
35Richard Quinn25 last year
36Aaron Hutchins98 last year
37Allie McGuire73 last year
38Lazar Hayward09 last year
39Tony Miller95 last year
40Walt Mangham60 last year
41Amal McCaskill96 last year
42Chris Crawford97 last year
43Ric Cobb70 last year
44Ron Curry93 last year
45Marcus Washington74 last year
46Cordell Henry02 last year
47Brian Wardle01 last year
48Damon Key94 last year
49Russ Wittberger55 last year
50Robert Jackson03 last year

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Big East hires new commish - smart as a whip

The Big East will hire Mike Aresco from CBS Sports as their new commissioner later today.  To say I'm thrilled is an understatement.  I have worked with Mike and his team for a number of years on various sports programming exclusive packages like Mega March Madness.  He is extremely knowledgeable, smart as hell and provides the Big East with what it needs most.....a powerful television rights person that has gravitas in the industry.  He is also one of those guys in this industry that is just a great guy, honorable to work with. 

The current Big East TV contract is part of what led to the exodus of some schools and the general instability of the league the last few years. Aresco has his work cut out for him, but at the same time the networks are in need of content and the Big East can fill a void there.The Big East has a 60 day exclusive negotiating contract with ESPN that starts on September 1st, so the timing of his hire is critical.

What this means for Marquette and long term stability is anyone's guess.  Without football, we are certainly not in the driver's seat but it is encouraging to know someone of Mike's quality is heading the league over the next few years.  The challenges are many, but you will not find a smarter guy to deal with those challenges.  If a solution exists, he will find it.

Big East to hire Aresco as Commissioner

Aresco bio

Saturday, August 11, 2012

MU & Self-Reporting

Two strange things happened this week in Marquette hoops.  First, the university announced a secondary rules violation.  That has been somewhat of a rarity for MU to be in violation of NCAA rules, at least compared to many other DI power programs.  The type of rules broken have been largely inadvertent, or honest mistake and they took the proper action in reporting them.  Stranger, Marquette, and Larry Williams specifically, have taken some grief for self reporting that secondary violation to the NCAA. The question is why the grief? It is not only common practice to do so, but a common sense approach as well. This is especially true in a world where the NCAA has clearly sent very strong signals the last 6 months that they taking a more focused look at institutional control of their membership. The reporting to the NCAA and the release of that information to the public is not only common, but has been a precedent at Marquette, long before Larry Williams ever became Athletic Director.

Here are some examples of secondary NCAA violations self-reported by Marquette men's basketball over the years.

In 1985, a Marquette assistant coach gave a ride to a recruit that was not permitted and Hank Raymonds reported the violation to the NCAA.

In 1986, first year coach Bob Dukiet met with Mike Flory during a dead period which resulted in MU self-reporting that violation.

In 1990, several Marquette basketball players were believed to be in violation of NCAA rules for receiving free parking. Marquette self reported that secondary rule violation to the NCAA.

In 1999, Tom Crean attended a practice that was off limits to college coaches. Marquette self-reported the secondary violation to the NCAA.

In 2011, Juan Anderson was suspended by the NCAA after MU self-reported a NCAA violation as a result of Anderson receiving free tickets to a Milwaukee Brewers playoff game.

Not to be outdone in our very own city, UW-Milwaukee recently self-reported 6 violations as reported by Don Walker in the Journal Sentinel. It seems Don Walker is the one that handles this type of story for the Journal Sentinel and NCAA related issues.

This is standard practice these days, whether it is Ohio State, Florida, Tennessee, Syracuse, UCLA, Texas, Marquette, or anyone else...all have self-reported secondary NCAA violations in the last few months and rightly so. Once it is reported, it will get picked up by the press and published if it involves a major program or team. It is not worth it for a school to hide something as trivial as some of these secondary violations. Not when the NCAA is looking for scalps to send a message. Report it, get it out in the open, move on.

For those that want to go down memory lane, an interesting article about recruiting violations and the recommendations by Al McGuire and Digger Phelps on how to clean it up.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Lockett could be 1 of only 3 transfers to be strong BCS starters without sitting out a year

In sorting Jeff Goodman's incredible work to track the 445 and counting transfers for CBS Sports, I focused on those that should be eligible to play in 2013.  Our updates to www.valueaddbasketball.com are still being made, but Trent Lockett is one of only 16 transfers who should be eligible to play this coming season AND are projected to make an impact.

The only two players who project to have a Value Add of higher than 3%, the point at which a player would typically be a good starter for a BCS team, are Julius Mays and Mark Lyons, so the rich get richer.  Their additions, respectively, pushed Kentucky from 32nd to 18th (of course they will go higher) and Arizona from 21st to 12th.

Trent Lockett has the 6th best projection of any immediate transfer for the year, and his 1.29% projected impact on Marquette's final scores improves the team projection from 25th to 19th in the Value Add rankings for next year.  The news could be even better.  The hope has been that Lockett was held down by playing for one of the worst BCS teams around last year - Arizona State - and that if we instead based his projection on his sophomore year of 2.59%, then he would actually push Marquette all the way up to the 16th best team in the country - so a potentially great addition and quite possible he could be one of only three players to transfer without sitting out and be a legit starter with his new team immediately.  Here are the 16 transfers who should be impact players without sitting out a year:

Rnk2012 TRANSFER LISTNew SchoolValue Add
1Julius Mays, 6-3, G, Jr., Wright State (will graduate) KENTUCKY3.78
2Mark Lyons, 6-0, G, Jr., Xavier (will likely graduate) ARIZONA 3.54
3&Trent Lockett (if duplicates his sophomore season)MARQUETTE2.59
3R.J. Evans, 6-3, G, Sr., Holy Cross (will graduate) CONNECTICUT1.76
4Sam McLaurin, 6-8, F, Jr., Coastal Carolina (will graduate) ILLINOIS 1.6
5Devon White, 6-8, F, Jr., La Salle (will graduate) NIAGARA1.44
6Trent Lockett, 6-4, SG, Jr., Arizona State (will likely play ASAP) MARQUETTE1.29
7Kyle Smythe, 6-4, G Jr., Iona (will graduate) SETON HALL1.21
8Kauri Black, 6-7, F, Jr., Northeastern (will graduate) TULSA1.03
9Brendan Lane, 6-9, PF, Jr., UCLA (one year left and can play ASAP) PEPPERDINE1.01
10John Hart, 6-2, G, Jr., Purdue (will graduate) IUPUI0.55
11Alwayne Bigby, 6-5, G, Soph., Northeastern (will graduate)Available0.5
12Matt Humphrey, 6-5, G, Jr., Boston College (will graduate) WEST VIRGINIA0.5
13Renaldo Woolridge, 6-9, F, Sr., Tennessee (will graduate) SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA0.45
14Kore White, 6-8, F, Jr., Florida Atlantic (will graduate) SOUTH FLORIDA0.3
15Logan Aronhalt, 6-3, G, Jr., Albany (will graduate) MARYLAND0.25
16Josh Lepley, 6-9, F, Jr., Northern Arizona (will graduate)Available0.13