"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

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's April that means we're talking the ever changing roster

After a bit of a hiatus where neither of us transferred or left for the NBA, we're back with 40+ minutes of Marquette podcasting. In this podcast episode, we talk about the first of the changing roster, who's leaving, who's staying, and who is both leaving and staying. We also breakdown whether Vander's decision was a good one, and what impact his leaving will have on the team next season.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CrackedSidewalks interview with DraftExpress

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Givony today about Vander Blue and other Marquette players and their perspective NBA draft status.  Givony is the owner and founder of DraftExpress.com.  The site has information on the top high school, college and international basketball players as well as the D-League.  Part of what draws fans to their site is the mock drafts they do for the NBA.  Though it is not an exact science, Givony and his team do their best to talk to agents, GMs, coaches and others to get a feel for where a player may be drafted.

Today we caught Givony on the phone in Portland where he is attending the Nike Hoops Summit and asked him some questions about Vander Blue and other Marquette related topics.

Q:  Were you surprised to hear Vander Blue declare for the 2013 NBA Draft yesterday?

A:   I was not totally surprised because I had numerous agents call me throughout the year and especially in the month of March asking my thoughts on where he might get drafted.  They were telling me he really wanted to enter the draft and essentially didn't want to take no for an answer as he was determined to find someone to tell him he was a first round pick.  Most of the people I spoke with believe he is probably a second round pick that could work his way up, but that he would be better off going back for his senior year because he is very young for his class...he is only 20 years old.  Blue would be a young senior at 21 if he had returned.

Q: Is it your opinion that he is probably a second rounder?

A:  Tough to say what every NBA team thinks. It's very possible 25 or 26 teams feel one way, but if one or two teams like him in the first round, they might take him.  Or maybe some say they will take him early in the second round.  He was very active early on getting information about the NBA so its possible that some discussions have been had that lead to an earlier pick based on those discussions.  But my general projection is that he is a second round pick right now that could work his way up.  Depends how he does in workouts, interviews.   (EDITOR NOTE: as of today, DraftExpress has him going 26th in the second round, or the 56th overall player out of 60)

Q: What are his weaknesses or strengths?  Is size a hindrance?

A: I don't think he has bad size for a shooting guard, he doesn't have great size but he's not too small for that position. He needs to improve his shooting.  He's not a guy that can't shoot, he's made some 3's, but his shot selection isn't great, which he will have to work on.  I don't think it's out of the question that he develops and improves his shooting.  Wes Matthews, wasn't a great shooter at Marquette, but he developed into a good shooter in the NBA and is paid a lot of money as a result.  You can't rule out that Blue won't improve in this area like Matthews, but it depends on his work ethic.

Q: When you put your mock draft together, do you only focus on players that are for sure coming out or do you speculate also on those you think might come out?  Vander Blue wasn't listed in your mock draft for 2013, but is listed in 2014 as a first rounder for example.

A: We try to project who we think is going to come out based on what we are hearing.  Also some educated speculation, for example, we had Phil Pressey in our draft all year long because he is older and we expected him to go to the draft.  We also had Marcus Smart in our mock draft for 2013, but were surprised last night when he decided to go back to school so he is no longer on the board this year.  Its not an exact science. I thought Vander Blue was going to go back to school from what we heard, but then he changed his mind and decided to enter so now he is in our mock draft.

Q:  Your perception of the draft this year?  Is it weak and driving people to enter early?

A:  You need to separate different parts of the draft.  If you are the Bobcats, Cavaliers, or Magic, for them it might be a weak draft because for them they probably won't get the return on their very high picks they would hope for.  There aren't many sure fire superstars at the top.  However, as you move
down the board there are a lot of good players, good depth.  Teams in the mid first round or later, they are excited about this draft.  They know there will a number of interesting prospects to choose from.  There's a ton of big men, which you usually don't see, some good wing players, some depth at some positions.  I think this is a pretty normal draft to be honest with you, but it depends really from where you are drafting.

Q: One final question, what are your thoughts of Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson of Marquette and their NBA draft prospects?

A: Both of them have very interesting attributes that will be interesting for the NBA.  Wilson has great size and length for a 3, some decent versatility.  Needs to be more consistent as he can fade in some games and you wonder if he needs a bit more toughness.  I think he is someone that has a chance to help himself with a strong senior year.  Gardner, if he has a really good off-season and loses some more weight, he can be a very interesting prospect.  He is so productive, even with limited minutes.  Great hands, great touch, great feet and he's pretty skilled player offensively and rebounds, too.  If he has a good off-season and into play next year, he can creep up into some discussions.  He led the Big East in PER (Player Efficiency Rating), which is pretty impressive.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Looking at the Transfer List

Last year Marquette added Trent Lockett, who proved to be the Leatherman of basketball, chipping in a little bit in every aspect of the game. Lockett was a big addition, especially after losing do-it-all Jae Crowder to the NBA. With Jake Thomas, Jamal Ferguson, Juan Anderson, and Vander Blue all leaving Marquette, Buzz Williams finds himself with two open scholarships rather than the expected one-too-many. It seems Marquette may need a guy who is immediately eligible as all three guys leaving projected to play the 2/3 positions at MU. Here are the 5 most intriguing immediately eligible players:

1) Antonio Barton: When looking at Memphis transfers that can play next year, Barton won't be the first name most Marquette fans think of. But in terms of need, Barton fits more of a hole than #3 on this list. He is an excellent shooter from range and would fill an immediate need of providing minutes at the 1-2 positions. Also the brother of former Marquette target and current NBA player Will Barton.
2) Josh Davis: Davis is a beastly power forward that averaged a double-double at Tulane last year. While Marquette has a lot of talent in the front court Davis would allow Jamil and Taylor to play down a position. He has also shown some ability to shoot the three and has the frame to play on the wing. He would allow for some very big lineups at the BC.
3) Tarik Black: Like Davis, former Marquette recruit Black would allow guys to play down a position, but unlike Davis it's highly unlikely Black would be able to rotate out to the wing. Black would be a solid pickup, but would create more of a logjam at the 4/5 positions where MU already has Otule, Gardner, and McKay.
4) Jerron Granberry: He missed his senior season and elected to transfer instead of staying at UNF. The question would be can he contribute at the high-major level? Granberry is an efficient scorer, shoots the three well, rebounds, and makes his free throws. He might be worth a look.
5) Sheldon McClellan: Okay, I lied...McClellan isn't immediately available, but he is the most legitimate star available. The 6'4" Texas native can put up a lot of points, draws fouls, is reliable at the line, and can hit the three though isn't great from distance. Sound like someone we know? He would be well worth having on scholarship for 3 years in order to have a proven high-major player for two years after the 2013-14 season is done.

Roster transition all the Buzz

Are we done yet, or more to come?  It's that time of year and roster movements are in full swing across the country and Marquette is no exception.

Last night Vander Blue decided to forego his senior season at Marquette and enter the NBA Draft.  A risky move, but with a weak 2013 draft and a dream to pursue he felt the timing was now.

Few draft experts have Vander on their mock drafts for 2013, but many have him solidly selected in 2014.

Jeff Goodman of CBS sportsline calls the move a "head scratcher" 

Other reactions can be found linked below

NBC: Blue to declare

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:  Michael Hunt reaction

SB Nation thinks he is a late first rounder

Juan Anderson announced yesterday he would transfer to a school closer to home, presumably in California or somewhere in the Pacific time zone.

Jake Thomas recently announced his intentions to transfer for his senior year after walking on at Marquette but playing with a scholarship the last two years.

Jamal Ferguson also announced he will transfer from Buzz Williams squad when school concludes in May.

It's that time of year.  Marquette was projected to be a top 15 team next year before Anderson and Blue made their announcements.  One would guess this will drop Marquette a bit, but Buzz Williams has done great things under many different circumstances.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Not the storybook ending, but it was a hell of a story

Well, it ended with a bit of a splat, but it was a fun ride for Marquette basketball fans. In this episode of Scrambled Eggs, we discuss the Syracuse game, and why it was disappointing but not catastrophic. We also touch on coaching vs execution. We then frame that bad loss in the balance of a really unexpected Marquette season with a lot of positive take-aways, not to mention a very bright future. We also keep the giggling to a minimum as we discuss a very good article from Michael Hunt at MJS about why in the world would Buzz leave anyway. The article is a good way to kick off the "Buzz to" season and familiarize any new fans to the Marquette band wagon. Lastly, we discuss the future of the podcast, what the off season holds for Scrambled Eggs and a call to our listens to give us ideas and feedback. All in all, it's a pretty good effort.

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