"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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Markus Howard Scoring Record Watch

As Marquette kicks off the 2019-20 season, one of the most anticipated moments of the season will be when Markus Howard breaks Jerel McNeal's all-time scoring record at Marquette. However, that's not the only record Howard has the chance to break this year. Howard begins his final season with 1,955 career points. Let's break down the scoring records Howard could pass as the soon-to-be-most-prolific scorer in Marquette history goes through his senior campaign.

I will go through these from the most likely to the least likely. I certainly don't expect Howard will pass all of these marks, but I do think he has a legitimate chance at most of them. If he gets the last one, Marquette will likely be spending the final weekend of the season in Atlanta, just like 1977. As the season progresses, I will keep a running tally (in blue) of where Howard is at, with all highlighted sections being accomplishments he has already surpassed.

31 Points -- All-time Marquette Men's Basketball Scoring Record (Jerel McNeal)
Howard will likely reach this mark in one of the first two games of the season, and almost certainly no later than the trip to Madison on November 17. Had he not been injured, he likely would've had this record before the end of last season. ***Howard surpassed this mark on November 5th against Loyola-Maryland.***

45 Points -- First 2,000 Point Scorer in Marquette Men's Basketball History
This is another mark that shouldn't take long. It could come as soon as the Purdue game on November 13 and certainly before the team heads to Orlando. ***Howard surpassed this mark on November 13th against Purdue.***

74 Points -- Markus Howard current 2019-20 scoring
Howard is up to 2,029 points for his career and averaging 24.7 points per game for the 2019-20 season and 19.9 points per game for his career.

241 Points -- Top-10 All-Time Big East Scorers
This is small fish compared to what Howard could achieve on the year, but he could join the league's all-time top-10 during the Grambling game, assuming he roughly replicates last year's scoring pace.

250 Points -- All-time Marquette Basketball Scoring Record (Allazia Blockton)
I'll admit, I'm not a fan of comparing records between sports, but if I'm trying to include all the records, this is one of the records. Blockton established this mark last year and remains the only basketball player at Marquette to ever crest the 2,000 point plateau. As a slightly related aside, how nuts is it that last year's Marquette Women's team had 5 of the top-15 scorers in program history on the same squad? Anyway...at last year's pace, Howard would pass this mark in mid-December, either the Grambling or North Dakota State games.

258 Points -- All-time NCAA Brothers Scoring Record (Stephen & Seth Curry)
The Currys combined for 4,736 points. Markus' older brother Jordan scored 2,524 points for Central Arkansas. This record will likely fall in one of the games mentioned in the 250 point mark, but it's worth noting that the game after those two is against Central Arkansas. It seems likely Markus will either establish that record before or during that game against UCA. That might be a good time for Marquette to invite Jordan Howard to attend a game at the Fiserv Forum.

307 Points -- All-time "New" Big East Scoring Record (Trevon Blueitt)
Since the league reformation in 2013-14, it's Blueitt's 2,261 that stands atop the pile. Doug McDermott scored more for his career, but spent most of that career in the Missouri Valley, so he isn't counted here. This would also make Howard the 7th most prolific scorer in league history and is a number he could be expected to hit around the turn of the new year.

336* Points -- All-time Big East Scoring Record in Big East play (Lawrence Moten)
The asterisk is to note that this refers to conference games only. To break this record, Howard would have to average around 18.7 ppg in conference play. It's definitely a reachable mark, and could come after some of the marks listed below depending on how Howard plays in non-conference play. That would require Howard to average over 28.5 ppg in non-conference play, so expect this to occur before any of the marks below. If he has a season similar to last year, this record would fall around mid-February against Creighton or Providence.

570 Points -- All-time Howard Brother Scoring Record (Jordan Howard)
The brothers record would have fallen far earlier, but for Howard to become the family scoring leader, he'll need to score a bit more. At last year's pace, he would break this record on National Marquette Day against Butler.

678 Points -- All-time Big East Scoring Record (Troy Bell)
If this record falls, it will have stood for nearly 17 years. If Howard averages 21.9 ppg for the minimum 31 games Marquette will play this year. It seems likely he will play more games than that and score more points than that, so this should be within reach. At last year's pace, this record could fall at the end of February, possibly on national television against Seton Hall.

742 Points -- Top-25 All-time NCAA Scorers
Not an official record in and of itself, but to crack the top-25 all-time, Howard would have to score more in a single season than any Marquette player before him, but less than he scored a year ago. At last year's pace, this would happen on the final regular season game of the year against St. John's.

852 Points -- All-time Marquette Single Season Scoring Record (Markus Howard)
To establish the benchmark of expectations, Howard scored 851 points last year. That decimated the record set by Andrew Rowsey (716) the year before, but there is reason to think Howard can establish a new single-season scoring record for the third year running. First and foremost, Howard saw a downtick in his scoring after the injury suffered at the end of the Butler game, as his average dropped from 25.7 ppg before the injury (including the goose egg at Georgetown) to 22.9 ppg after. That 22.9 ppg was also far more inefficient, so with his usage in that span his scoring would've normally been expected to go up (he exceeded 40% usage 13 times last season, 6 of those were in the 8 games after the injury). This is a big number, but probably the baseline for expectations. At last year's pace, this would likely fall in postseason play.

858 Points -- All-time Marquette Scoring Average Record (George Thompson)
This is a moving target dependent on how many games Howard and Marquette play in, but if Howard gets to 858, he will eclipse Thompson's scoring average no matter how many games Marquette plays. He could set this record with as few as 83 points, but based on last year's pace, would be expected to pass this at home against Villanova. See the chart at the bottom of the article to calculate the moving target at any given time.

966 Points -- All-time Big East Single Season Scoring Record (Kemba Walker)
Howard would have to break his record from last year by less of a margin than he broke Rowsey's mark a year ago, but this is a massive number. To illustrate, if Marquette went to the Big East Final and the Sweet 16, Howard would have to average over 26.8 ppg to break this record. It would also be one of the ten most prolific scoring seasons since the NCAA adopted the three-point line. Possible? Yes. Likely? No. And if it does happen, it is probably a great year for Marquette fans. This record likely wouldn't fall until the NCAA Tournament, and even then would require an impressive season.

1,045 Points -- 11th 3,000-point scorer in NCAA history
Now we're getting into the silly territory. This is highly unlikely, but if Marquette had a banner year (Big East title game and Final Four appearance) Howard could reach this mark by averaging 27.5 ppg. In the past 5 years, only 2 players have posted that kind of average, and neither did so for a high-major program. If this happens, it would almost certainly be deep into the NCAA Tournament.

1,054 Points -- Top-10 All-time NCAA Scorers
If he's going to crack the 3,000 mark, might as well swish a few more threes and climb into the all-time top-10. This would put him ahead of names like Hersey Hawkins, Oscar Robertson, and Larry Bird.

1,132 Points -- Modern NCAA Single Season Scoring Record (Bo Kimble)
If Marquette went to both the Big East Final and the NCAA Championship Game, Howard would have to average just over 29.0 points on the season to take down the biggest scoring season since the advent of the three-point line. This would also make Howard the seventh most prolific scorer in the history of the game. This is the mark that I consider to be about as far as I can stretch reality. Pete Maravich did have a bigger season than this, but records were not kept as accurately pre-1985, so this is the modern record. If by some miracle this one were to happen, get out the switchblades because we're cutting down nets in Atlanta again, which is about the same time we could expect this record to fall.

I am going to add an additional category, which is the all-time Marquette scoring average mark. George Thompson is credited for averaging 20.4 ppg, though to be specifically accurate, he scored 1,773 points in 87 games, which comes out to 20.37931 ppg. Coming into the season, Howard had 1,955 points in 99 games, which comes out to 19.74747 ppg. Because of the nature of the season, the scoring average will always be a moving target. Any time Howard scores 21+ points, he will get closer to eclipsing Thompson's mark and any time he scores 20 or fewer he will make passing Brute Force more difficult.

Here is a spreadsheet of how many total points he will need by any given game to pass Thompson's mark. I am starting with the first game and going all the way to the maximum 39 games Marquette could play. The "Points" column will refer to the total points Howard would need to have on the season to eclipse the mark at that point. The "Average" column will refer to Howard's 2019-20 scoring average to that point of the season, absolutely rounded up. So for instance, 41.3 with the 3 repeating will be rounded to 41.4 because he has to be over the mark to be over Thompson's total. In addition, he could easily pass Thompson at some point, then fall behind again if he goes through a slump, which is why the chart continues throughout the year. The average number given above in blue text will provide a barometer for where Howard sits if readers want to look ahead to project when at the current pace he would pass Thompson.


Game Points Average Game Points Average Game Points Average
1 83 83.0 14 348 24.9 27 613 22.8
2 104 52.0 15 369 24.6 28 634 22.7
3 124 41.4 16 389 24.4 29 654 22.6
4 145 36.3 17 410 24.2 30 674 22.5
5 165 33.0 18 430 23.9 31 695 22.5
6 185 30.9 19 450 23.7 32 715 22.4
7 206 29.5 20 471 23.6 33 736 22.4
8 226 28.3 21 491 23.4 34 756 22.3
9 246 27.4 22 511 23.3 35 776 22.2
10 267 26.7 23 532 23.2 36 797 22.2
11 287 26.1 24 552 23.0 37 817 22.1
12 308 25.7 25 573 23.0 38 837 22.1
13 328 25.3 26 593 22.9 39 858 22.0

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