"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

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Walk-On Greats

Marquette is looking for a walk-on to join the 2021-2022 men's roster.

Being a walk-on is more than just waving a towel at the end of the bench and celebrating every made basket.

 

As the first walk-on to ever earn four varsity letters Rob Frozena pointed out, you may not be a Division I talent but you are expected to play and practice like a Division I player

While you get a jersey, a great seat to every game, be the hero of the student section and the victory cigar symbol when you enter the game (or the white flag), a lot goes into a being a walk-on. Oh, you are still paying tuition (unless you are at BYU), so in essence you are paying to be on the team and all the work and time commitment that comes with it.

Why would anyone in their right 18-22 year old mind willingly volunteer for such a role? 

That is why I always respect the walk-on. The Rudy's of the world as I like to call them. 

Their career stats will always have a zero point in front of them. The games played is usually in the single digits and averaged minutes is usually one. The walk-on who enters a game gets to say something not everyone can say and that is playing in a Division I game.

Some of my greatest walk-ons hits at Marquette would have to start with Frozena and it is not just because he was the first to make it all four years. It was also because he understood the role of the walk-on so well: Work hard, ignore the screams to shoot a 30-footer and have fun. He never took himself seriously and focused on how he could help the team that day get better. Also, he willingly took years of Buzz Williams hollering at him and came back for more.

 

Another favorite I have to go with is Cam Mariota. He is the second player to make it all four years as a walk-on in program history. His dad Marc had a pretty good career back in the 1980's as a scholarship player. Sadly, his father never got to see Cam in a Marquette uniform due to Marc’s untimely passing away. Cam could have played football at the FCS level but Cam wanted to wear a Marquette hoops jersey. He did just that with class.

Another good one was Craig Kuphall only because Head Coach at the time Tom Crean gave one of the best quotes when he rationalized benching Jerel McNeal in favor of Kuphall to start the second half against Savannah State on December 30, 2006. Marquette was playing sluggish in the first half but Crean was not trying to send a message to his team. He just liked the look in Kuphall's eyes coming out of the locker room. No message to send I guess except Kuphall had great eyes. Although Marquette then went onto to destroy Savannah State and Kuphall did not play much again.

My final personal favorite is Tony Gries (Full disclosure I did indirectly sublet his Renee Row room from him the summer after I graduated in 2004). He joined the 2003 Final Four team early that season but what stood out was he could actually ball. I remember there was talk about how much he challenged Dwyane Wade in practice. Gries even earned a chance to get some regular playing in the 2003-04 season when no one could really pin down being Travis Diener's backup. Crean gave him a shot against Canisius and Gries handled his own in a narrow victory. It was enough to earn another some playing time but the next game was against Wisconsin. Gries checked in and immediately had quick turnover which in turn led to Gries returning to the end of the bench for the rest of the season.

Hey, it is the end of the bench where a lot of the hardest working players on the team sit. They do not get any glory but glory is not what a walk-on is after.

Monday, August 02, 2021

A pod episode that wonders around more than David Carradine

Welcome to the offseason #mubb, buckle up for an adventure! This podcast is a meandering roll through topics both direct to MU basketball and indirect. Topics include: -The Basketball Tournament -MU roster -MU schedule -Jae Crowder -Milwaukee Bucks -NBA -NIL -Transfer rules -Too many other things to name Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/6xp746/ScrambledEggs_Editted_080121.mp3

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Marquette Deputy Athletic Director Mike Broeker Interview

I got the chance to catch up Marquette Deputy Athletic Director Mike Broeker to discuss the recently released non-conference schedule. 

The man has turned scheduling into an art and science. 

In our interview, we also discussed how working with new Marquette Head Coach Shaka Smart on the schedule went and how Smart differs from the three other head coaches Mike has worked with. In addition, we talk about former player Brian Barone coming back as head coach of SIU-Edwardsville and Barone's hope for a statue of his corner three to beat Cincy (It was all in good fun). 

We did discuss the chance of the Delta variant causing potential schedule issues this season.

We talked about Marquette using the Deer District space before games for possible pregame events (Not on the Bucks scale but it is on their radar to do some stuff). We did talk about the potential conference realignment towards the end and is there chance Marquette will play old rivals like Louisville or Cincy again?

We did wrap it up with while it is hard to see the likes of Theo John, Dawson Garcia, Jamal Cain and Koby McEwen go elsewhere, it is nice to see them land at some good spots (Mike is guy who appreciates any athlete in any sport who has walked through Marquette so it is good to have a guy like him be part of Marquette Athletics).

Monday, July 26, 2021

The All-Time Marquette 15 Man Roster

The Big East blog a little while ago put together a Marquette Fab Five lineup.

One name immediately missing is Bo Ellis. The only man in Marquette history to be on two Final Four teams, win a National Championship and design the best uniforms in human history.

                                 Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book

I think the author did his best considering the main point of his assignment was to come up with five most recognizable names from the program. 

While we are it, if you are talking about name recognition, how does Jimmy Butler or Doc Rivers miss out? Although to be fair, Markus Howard is way higher in the record books than Butler and Rivers and Dean Meminger won the NIT when it mattered.

Anyways, these type of lists are always good to run the in the summer as it strikes up nostalgia and debate. 

Especially, since right now a #MUBB fan has only a few things to discuss: What should be done with the final scholarship, what the starting rotation might look like, Jae Crowder's NBA Finals performance making him persona non grata in Milwaukee and the Golden Eagles Alumni Team playing in the Basketball Tournament.

It got me thinking though who would be on an all-time Marquette men’s basketball roster? If there was 13 scholarships to hand out to any player who has worn a Marquette jersey, who would get it? 

So I put together my list and I added two roster spots for “walk-on’s” (aka honorable mention). 

Full disclosure for some of the Al McGuire era fans, I was not alive during that time.  I had to go off the record books and on tales of greatness recounted from my hardcore, 77 year-old MU alumni father.

                                Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book 

If a certain player was missed on this list in the McGuire days it was probably because that player was not discussed much when my old man would talk about the glory days. For example, I did not get a lot of Earl Tatum stories growing up as a kid but I was always told how great Ellis or Butch Lee was.

                                    Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book

One more sidenote, I started really getting into Marquette hoops in 1989. I also covered the program from 2001-2014 for either the student media, Newsradio 620WTMJ in Milwaukee or the Associated Press. So if this list does slant to towards the more current crop of players, please know it is because I watched a lot of these players more.

The Scholarship Players

Bo Ellis: I already pointed out the postseason success as a main reason Bo should be on any all-time list. He is second all-time in rebounds and one of two players ever in program history with over 1000 boards. He finished with 1663 points (11th all-time) and made the third most field goals in program history. He is tied with Tatum with for the most career wins at Marquette with 101. He was an influential player on Marquette’s future Chicago recruiting pipeline, that Doc Rivers wore 31 to honor Ellis. He could protect the rim. All the ingredients needed for the first player to give an all-time spot.

                                                   
 Photo courtesy of the Raynor Library Special Collections and Marquettewire.org

Butch Lee: The most decorated player probably to ever put on a Marquette uniform. A two-time All-American with one of those being a consensus First Team All-American in 1977-78, he is the only Marquette player to win the Naismith and Rupp award. He earned a National Championship ring when he ran the point the for the 1977 Championship team and scored a team-high 19 points in the title game. In addition, he led the ‘77 team in scoring with over 19 a game. Therefore, it is a no-brainer offering Lee an all-time roster scholarship.

                                          Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Dean Meminger: Al McGuire said Meminger was “quicker than an 11:15 mass at a seaside resort.” The program's first consensus First Team All-American, he was the leader of the 1970 NIT Championship team when winning the NIT meant something (Probably could have won the NCAA had Al not gotten upset with seeding and decided to play in the NIT). His senior year he averaged 21.2 point per game on a team with only one loss and finished with a career 1637 points (14th all-time). Imagine what those numbers would have be if he A) been allowed to play as a freshman B) had the three-point line (Go about 53 seconds into this video to see his range and then enjoy the rest of the MU history highlights). That is why he goes on my all-time roster.

                                     Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book

Doc Rivers: When combing through the record book, Doc may not have had the chops as some of the players listed above and below. He was an AP All-American honorable mention, 33rd all-time in scoring with 1234 points and just one NCAA Tournament win in three seasons. He was still a special player when he stepped onto the MECCA court. He could get to the rim for highlight dunks and also hit big shots (Go about 20 seconds in). I want special players on my roster and also a highlight reel, dynamic player. That is why Doc grabs a spot.

                                               Photo from @MUOverload

Dwyane Wade: Enough has been written and spoken about his legend so I’ll keep it short. A hundred years from now they will still be talking about his Elite Eight performance against Kentucky. He was that special and that is why he will always be on a Marquette all-time anything.

                                              Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Jae Crowder: I know I am picking the former Big East Player of the Year and Second Team All-American over say Sam Worthen. In his two years, Crowder could do it all and that is why he makes my 13. Need rebounds? He was grabbing them. Need points? He could get them around the rim and from beyond the arc (Loved watching him hit that trailing three). He did some winning come March as he led MU to back-to-back Sweet 16’s. An all-time roster needs winners and a versatile players. Something that sums up Crowder.

                                              Photo courtesy of Marquettewire.org

Jerel McNeal: No one ever played better defense at guard than McNeal. If he wanted to steal the ball, he could go over to his man and just take the ball. (He is the program’s all-time leader in steals). Also, I never witnessed a player get better and better offensively in four years than McNeal. He came in as freshman being a slasher and by his senior he developed an all around offensive game that he left (At the time) as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Also, he was the most consistent of the Dominic James (Great freshman year), Wesley Matthews (Great senior year) and McNeal (Really good freshman and sophomore year, great his junior and senior year) trio so that is why I put on this roster. I still wonder who wins in one-on-one between those three (I asked McNeal back in the day during a postgame presser and he said they wouldn’t want none).

                        Photo from Marquette Athletics (obtained through Painttouches.com)

Jim Mcllvaine: I wanted a rim protector on my roster and no one swatted shots better than one of the best players to wear 34 (the other two being Tony Smith and Travis Diener). He holds the program’s all-time record with 399 blocks along with the single game record with 13 rejections. He also won the Iba award in 1994 as the nations best defender. The big man could also get it done on the offensive end being fifth all-time in field goal percentage and scored 1278 career points. Oh, and he was part of a group that helped bring Marquette out of its late 80's, early 90's doldrums by being a key player on the '94 Sweet 16 Team, its first appearance in the Sweet 16 since the 1977 Championship.

                                       Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book

Jimmy Butler: I remember back in Jimmy's first year on the team a Marquette Tribune reporter kept asking Buzz Williams about Butler's performance after every game. Butler could score six points and we would get a question from this student reporter. I kept thinking to myself why does he keep asking about the sixth man with a limited role? Well, this student reporter knew how good Butler would be once James, Matthews and McNeal graduated. He combined with Lazar Hayward the next season to keep Marquette as a tournament team when it seemed like Marquette was destined for a rebuilding year. The next season along with Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, he got Marquette back to the Sweet 16 that kicked off a three-year in a row stretch. Jimmy Buckets was truly a jack of all trades. He was an elite defender with his defense being a big reason Marquette got to the 2011 Sweet 16. Outside of Aaron Hutchins and Vander Blue, no one else could come up big in the clutch. He gives the roster defensive flexibility and clutch buckets.

                                              Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Maurice Lucas: Before he was known as Bill Walton's enforcer on the late 1970's Portland Trailblazers, Lucas was one of the top players on the 1974 NCAA Championship runner-up team. He scored 21 points and pulled down 13 boards in that game. His career at Marquette was also really, really, really good in his two seasons by scoring just under 1000 points and pulling down 643 boards. Had he been at Marquette two more seasons, who knows how big those numbers would have been. Some of you might say how could I put him on the all-time roster over Jim Chones? Well, I guess I didn't want to risk the wrath of some of the older alumni still bitter about Chones leaving school during the regular season (With McGuire's blessing) that may have cost a National Championship. Plus, I wanted some toughness on this roster and there was none tougher than Lucas.

                                     Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book

Markus Howard: No one scored more points in a Marquette uniform than Howard. He is the only player in program history to score 50 points in a game and he did it three times. In addition, he owns sixth other offensive program records and is one of the top 25 NCAA all-time scoring greats. We all know what he accomplished since he only recently left Marquette. In case you were in a coma or living under a rock from 2016-2020, just take a look at some of his impressive scoring feats. He could fill up the box score quickly and that is why he makes the list.

                                           Image from the Marquette 2020 Record Book

Travis Diener: People sometimes forget there might not have been Wade's terrific Sweet 16 game against Pitt or the Elite Eight game for the ages against Kentucky if it was not for Diener. It was not just because Diener was running point most of the time. It was also because in the Round of 64, while Wade was struggling to find his shot against a pesky Holy Cross, Diener went off for 29 to avoid a potential first round upset. He then followed that game up with 26 against Mizzou in that overtime second round win. Diener played so well in his two March Madness appearances that Tom Crean would say it was a shame they could never get him back in his final two seasons in blue and gold. He was the franchise after Wade took his game to the NBA. A prime example being his 29 during his senior year carrying MU to a 63-54 win over. He scored over 1000 points alone while averaging 19.3 points per game in his final two years as he took his game to a whole new level. He could knock down threes with ease and push the tempo. It was a shame his career ended on a broken hand that cut short his senior year. Hey, he is still giving the Marquette faithful great memories in the The Basketball Tournament. Memories is just one of the many reasons Diener lands on this roster.

                                               Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Steve Novak: The best pure shooter in program history. Any all-time great roster is going to need shooting and a floor spacer. When he was hitting from downtown, he could literally win a game on his own like the over 30 he hung on Number Four Louisville during his sophomore year. It was the night when he went for over 40 against UConn in Marquette’s first ever Big East game where he was as Jim Calhoun put it “Simply brilliant.” I remember thinking Marquette was going to get blown out and I had to work at 620WTMJ for most of the game that I would not be missing out if I did not get to th game. As I was driving home, I just kept hearing the radio call of Novak burying three after three that somehow my car was parked in a Bradley Center parking lot and luckily I had my press pass with me that I was able to catch the last 10 minutes. Additionally, Novak may have hit the greatest game winner in program history when he hit that three to beat Notre Dame. 

                                               Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

The Walk-On's (aka Honorable Mention)

Lazar Hayward: The man who played in the most games in program history, scored the third most points, has the fifth most rebounds and 96 wins while wearing blue and gold only makes walk-on status. I know, crazy right? I guess what knocked him down the board when looking at the 13 above is the lack of NCAA Tournament wins and I guess just one All-American honorable mention. I know, I know splitting hairs. Hey, he still makes the team. This team not only gets a great inside, out offensive player but one of the most crafty rebounders ever. He was listed at 6’6” but was more like 6’4" yet he was constantly asked to guard guys twice his size and come down with a rebound. Nine times out of ten he did as Buzz Williams would always say, he only saw one other player rebound like Hayward and that was Dennis Rodman. 

                                                     Photo from Seattletimes.com

Tony Miller: Okay this is the one that may really blow up some folks. I can see some going come on, this guy! Yes, I am very well aware that are a lot of other great players that could make this list especially from the late 80's and the 90's (Like Tony Smith, Trevor Powell, Ron Curry, Roney Eford, Robb Logterman, Anthony Pieper, Chris Crawford, Damon Key and Amal McCaskill). Yes, I am aware that I passed on say Don Kojis, the first major star player in program history or George Thompson who was McGuire's first major great player or Tatum who has his jersey retired and 101 wins as a player. I picked Miller because I actually witnessed his greatness and how underrated he was. While this all-time roster has got some guys who can handle the ball, there was no one better in a Marquette uniform at dishing out assists than Miller. That is why he takes the final spot. He is the program’s all-time leader by a country mile in assists with 956 which is top 10 all-time in NCAA history. His career 7.8 dimes a game ranks is top-20 in the NCAA record books. His 17 assists against Memphis in 1995 is still the school's individual single game record. The five seasons prior to Miller's arrival in 1991, Marquette was 65-78 with no Big Dance appearances and a few NIT showings. When Miller graduated in '95, Marquette made the Tournament twice with its program's first Sweet 16 in 18 years and nearly won the NIT (Mike Deane's first year). Oh, and Marquette went 81-42 in his four years on campus. He was a leader, an unselfish player and most importantly a winner. That is why he grabs my final roster spot.

                                          Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Feel free to Tweet or reply in the comments section with your own list. Also, you will notice I did not put together a starting rotation as that is something that can always be discussed at a later date (Or on Twitter or MUScoop.com when folks either say I agree, I can’t believe he left off so and so, etc.).



Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Name, Image and Likeness Possible Impact on Marquette

The NCAA is getting ready to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) starting July 1st.

About. Darn. Time.

The NCAA and its member schools for decades have profited in the range from millions to billions off a labor force paid in tuition, room and board. Also me thinks the NCAA is doing this to avoid any further appearances in front of the Supreme Count. 

Either way, it is time for players to be able to make some money of whatever personal brand they build during their time in school.

Really let's face it, amateurism is now just a matter of is the player actually being paid to play in the game. Disagree? Just at look at the Olympic model (You know the event that outside of basketball, hockey and baseball events celebrates amateurism) and see how much amateurism there is when it comes to landing endorsement deals.

While it is not officially approved by the NCAA, this is coming based on some state passing legislation allowing NIL deals starting July 1st and the NCAA’s recent defeat in the Supreme Court.

Big deals are on the way in the college basketball world especially the big time players.

Talking with a friend who has worked for a major marketing firm in the past said 100% they would use college athletes for campaigns. It makes sense as you can pay that athlete for the social media reach and also a lot less (figuratively speaking) compared to a pro athlete.

Since the framework is loose, it will be a wild world in the beginning. 

How will that affect Marquette? Does the Athletic Department have a plan in place already?

The Marquette Athletic Department when reached for comment advised me it was best to check back later. The main is with so many unknowns and moving parts, they would like some clarification from the NCAA on what the world will look like after July 1st and from there more details will follow on what the plan will be. 

Should we worry then?

Marquette does have a top 40 market in its favor along with a Deputy Athletic Director with an extensive marketing background, and at least when it comes to the men’s hoops program, a head coach with forging relationships as a pillar of the program. In addition, Marquette did roll out an initiative back in August 2020 to start preparing for this change. 

Really, I do not see the landscaping changing that much. The top talent will still seek out the best coach and program it feels to get him or her towards the pros. The only difference is the top players can now make some money in college.

Who this can really benefit is the three of four-year player. You know the player who becomes a star at the program but maybe doesn’t have the chops to go pro early or be in the pros at all. This is where their earning potential is at its highest (Danny Parkins at 670 the Score in Chicago made a great point on this).

Those are going to be typically your lower ranked four and three stars recruits which is in Marquette’s recruiting wheelhouse. Heck, I would be more worried about the transfer portal than what can Marquette offer a player for endorsement deals.

One thing is for sure, July 1st will mark a big change in the college athletics world. Marquette is getting ready once it knows what that world will specifically look like.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Reigning B10 DPOY Darryl Morsell transfers to Marquette

Darryl Morsell, a senior guard from Baltimore who completed four seasons as starter at Maryland, today announced his decision to transfer to Marquette University. Morsell, the 2021 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, selected MU over Louisville, Providence, Arkansas and DePaul.

In College Park, Morsell distinguished himself as a consistent, reliable contributor with a ferocious defensive reputation. Last season the 6'5" Morsell averaged a career-high 9 ppg and was particularly effective inside the arc, along with an admirable assist rate for a player with a defense-first reputation.

But let’s face it, Morsell is coming to Milwaukee as the defensive totem for the Smart era. Marquette, a program that refused to defend at a high level for the past seven seasons, now values elite defense.

As Alan Bykowski noted in March, "(Shaka) Smart ... managed to maintain a top-40 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency every year with the Longhorns." Adding Morsell to a very young roster will be critical in developing the defensive toughness that ought to define this program going forward.

Marquette fans might remember Morsell from the 2019-2020 season where he helped shut down a white-hot Markus Howard in an 84-63 Maryland victory.

Darryl Morsell has been a quiet key for Maryland this season. He's not the scorer than Cowan or Wiggins is, but he is Maryland's Swiss Army knife. He spent more than his share of time guarding Howard, who had totaled 91 points in his previous two games, teaming with Wiggins and Cowan to shut down the All-American. Late in the game, with Marquette switching to a zone defense that had Maryland slumping, he found a spot near the baseline and played quarterback to perfection. In the span of less than two minutes, he hit a short jumper, bounced a dime to Makhi Mitchell for a layup, made a free throw and fed Wiggins for a 3-pointer.

In between, he made play after play, including a couple of 3-pointers and his typical scrapping defense and rebounding. In the semis and finals of the tournament, he totaled 30 points and 22 rebounds.


Morsell fills an immediate need for Shaka Smart’s 2021-2022 squad: an accomplished, mature guard and backcourt defender. The good guys only return Greg Elliott from last season’s backcourt (!!!!) and welcome a cadre of freshmen and transfers who will be in a hyper-competitive battle to contribute straight away. Morsell, long on experience and productivity, figures to be a day one starter who keys Marquette’s defensive pressure.

Morsell is following assistant coach DeAndre Haynes from College Park to Milwaukee, and has been linked to the program since Haynes joined the staff a few months ago

Shaka Smart has one more open scholarship for the upcoming season. With Dawson Garcia in the transfer portal – and likely to move on, it says here – Smart could still fill that slot with a capable scorer, though the market is tightening up for immediate impact scorers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

An "Ultimate" Mistake

My first real exposure to Marquette's nickname obsession was at my graduation ceremony in 2004. The commencement speaker was Wayne Sanders, a wealthy alum who offered $2 million if Marquette University would change the nickname back to Warriors. The offer was refused, but that was only the beginning of a torrid debate that led to Marquette's Board of Directors changing the nickname to the short-lived "Gold" before a voting process settled back on Golden Eagles.

On May 24, 2021, the checkered nickname past was reignited by the Golden Eagles Alumni TBT team when they suddenly announced they were changing their name to "Ultimate Warriors." To this writer, it smacked of irony that this team decided to pay homage to a racist homophobe as a way of calling back to a nickname awash in racist iconography. For younger readers, this may need more explanation. The Ultimate Warrior was a professional wrestler who rose to prominence in the 1990s. However, the individual that played the role, born Jim Hellwig, changed his name to Warrior and also became known for racist and anti-Semitic comments he made during speaking engagements. I would recommend starting with this Vice article on the past of Jim "Warrior" Hellwig. Anonymous Eagle also dug into why Warrior was problematic, and their article is particularly salient given its recency and focus on this specific decision.


This Ultimate Warriors logo is a clear homage to Warrior's image

The decision by Golden Eagles Alumni to change their name is a mistake. First of all, there can be no disputing they are attempting to honor Warrior when they do this. The new logo is a clear representation of Warrior's signature facepaint and ties the team to Warrior himself. As Warrior chose to legally change his name, the reality is there is no separating Ultimate Warrior the wrestling character from Warrior the racist homophobe. The two are one and the same. And because of that, this new moniker is one that represents those ideals, whether intended or not. A simple Google search would've revealed the problems inherent in paying homage to Warrior.

To make this poor decision even worse, any use of the Warriors name when associated with Marquette will always hearken back to the nickname that was in use from 1954-1994. While some try to paint this as a proud legacy, the reality is that this is imagery Marquette University at the time chose to associate with that nickname:

Former Marquette mascot Willie Wampum

For anyone unfamiliar with the use of racist iconography in sports mascots, you're looking at it. Marquette is not the only university that had to reckon with this in its past. Stanford, St. John's, and Syracuse made similar changes to distance themselves from the racism inherent in caricature nicknames. Professionally, the Washington Football Team and Cleveland Indians are going through the process of changing their names now and frankly should have long ago.

Let that sink in. The Golden Eagles Alumni chose a racist homophobe to call back to a time when Marquette had a blatantly racist mascot. This is a disgraceful decision not just to the people managing that team, but to the university and fanbase they are associated with.

In addition, as the Golden Eagles Alumni TBT Twitter account interacted with two Tweet responses to their announcement, there can be no doubting they have seen the negative reactions to the announcement as well. As of this writing, there are 46 responses directly to the tweet, 40 of which are either negative or point out why this was a poor decision. Maybe they could've plead ignorance when this was posted, but when you are seeking out and interacting with the small percentage of positive interactions, it's dishonest to pretend you don't see the landslide of negative ones. At this point, continuing down this road is a deliberate statement not only that they are okay with the racist, homophobic connections to Warrior but also that they want to recall a past that Marquette University has spent decades trying to distance itself from.

There are those that will try to point to the Golden State Warriors as an example of why this is all okay. Maybe in an alternate reality, if Marquette had walked away from racist iconography completely in the 1960s like Golden State did, they would still be the Warriors today. They didn't, so they aren't, and that ship has sailed.

Students react to the Gold announcement in 2005

Maybe in an alternate reality, the above picture never would've surfaced. It shows students displaying a mix of disgust, disbelief, and outright laughter at the name Gold when it was announced in 2005. But was it really that different from Harvard's Crimson or Stanford's Cardinal? It could've been unique and over time would've been embraced, because what's the alternative?

Maybe we would've been Hilltoppers, or Golden Avalanche, or Jumpin' Jesuits. But all those maybes are just that. Alternate realities that don't change where we are now, which is a program that has been Golden Eagles for 27 years, long enough that the first Golden Eagles' children could be graduating as Golden Eagles today. Marquette has tried to leave its racist past in the past. It's time for the Golden Eagles Alumni TBT team to do the same, even if that past means walking away from a bad decision they made just days ago.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Some things have happened

It's been a whirlwind for #mubb with new coaches and practically a whole new roster. We break down the changes that have happened and any changes that could still happen. It's a.....lot. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/rppgm9/ScrambledEggs_Editted_042921.mp3

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

This So Called Marquette Roster Exodus

Theo John is going to Duke. Good for him. 

No, really I mean it. 

The young man gave Marquette everything for four years and now he gets a chance to play at one of the blue bloods and a free year towards a masters degree at Duke to go along with his Marquette degree.

What bothers my make believe gold alumni sweater vest was the headline announcing his Duke arrival. Also the article focuses more on Marquette's roster additions and subtractions and less on what John can bring to Duke. I wonder if this happens to be a coincidence considering this is from the Durham perspective and Marquette just happens to recently fire a Duke legend.

Anyways, it is a Marquette basketball exodus folks. 

Yep, four players have left the program and one is thinking about the NBA as new head coach Shaka Smart shakes up the roster to meet his programs needs. Calling it an exodus is a bit of a stretch and doesn’t even take into account any context whatsoever.

A roster exodus is like what is happening at Cincinnati where the players are fleeing a toxic situation. 

What is happening at Marquette is it’s three seniors got an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19 and have chosen to use it at other programs. In any other year, it would be called replacing departing seniors.

Also Jamal Cain, Koby McEwen and John first made it clear they were not using that extra year. When they most likely found out most overseas teams have US players sitting at home waiting for restrictions to be lifted and therefore blocking their route to an immediate pro career, they smartly decided to take their extra year. 

Plus, Cain considered coming back but decided it was better to play closer to his hometown and most likely be the man at Oakland. Hardly fleeing the program.

Symir Torrence announced his departure before Wojo’s firing. Even then, he considered returning when Shaka was hired but the prior head coach created a bad taste about MU that he couldn't get out. I charge that departure to Wojo and not Smart.

Dawson Garcia is making a smart move by testing the NBA Draft waters. He is most likely to hear go back to school and hit the weight room but what is wrong with getting some feedback on his game and taking a chance on impressing one team enough to maybe take a gamble on him and making him a millionaire?

If Garcia returns, then yes. someone has to go because Marquette is at the 13 scholarship limit. Even then that is one player leaving under Shaka (If Greg Elliot gets granted a roster exemption then no one has to leave).

Really to reach exodus status it would take Shaka landing more players in the transfer portal (Like transfer guard Darryl Morrsell of Maryland), or another incoming recruit along with Garcia’s return. Then that means more players got to go but do we want to be the type of fan base hoping to get rid of players (Got to give credit @brutus_87to98 for that take)?

On a related note, Shaka's recruiting haul will bring seven new faces to Fiserv Forum next season. The question I keep getting is with seven new players is Marquette better, worse or a push? I would say talent wise they are better and poised to have some big seasons ahead with Shaka’s haul. MU will have some growing pains next season as Shaka implements his style of play, five freshman learn the college game and everyone learns to play together. They do have the talent to compete for a NCAA appearance next season if they can narrow the learning curve.

Only time will tell though. Until then, I guess we should just be worried about this roster exodus.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Make Believe Transfer Chaos

The NCAA officially announced its Division I Council voted to allow college athletes transferring in football, baseball, men's hockey and men's and women's basketball will be granted a one-time immediate eligibity. As some of the old men yelling at clouds out there like Dick Vitale call the decision complete chaos.

The three major chaos theories are I have observed (Besides coaches scared to death about their job security and not having complete control)...

1) People like Vitale believe the transfer portal is out of control and will just cause roster chaos.
2) Others believe it will destroy mid-major basketball.
3) Wisconsin Head Coach Greg Gard fears it will teach the wrong life lessons.

First, lets address the out of control transfer portal. There are currently over 1300 players in the Division I men's basketball transfer portal and counting. Just an eye popping number that is going to collapse the game.

Except it is not. First, the most recently collected data (The data is from 2019) on transfers affecting rosters shows 58 programs out of the 350 Division I teams didn't have a transfer (17% for those that love percentages), while 183 programs had no more than two (52%) and 110 experiencing three to five players leaving (31%). Yes, the data shows programs have to deal with the transfer portal but not to the point where it is literally a whole new 13 players every year like some of the exaggerators would make you believe.

The against the immediate eligibility crowd though will argue now that the sit out rule is gone, transfers will jump even higher. I will point out that those folks like Vitale (Why he is still relevant anyways?), usually love to emphasize the student before the athlete in the argument. So okay, let's look at the current state of the transfer portal and how it relates to the normal student transfer rate.

There are 350 Division I men's basketball programs which at 13 scholarships a pop means there is 4550 Division I scholarships available. Say the current 1390 players (as of this writing) in the transfer portal all transfer (because some can return), that is a 31% transfer rate. Which guess what folks is right within the typical transfer rate of normal students.

Second, this belief that mid-majors will be destroyed is something I give a raised eyebrow to. The belief that players wanting a new challenge (or some mid-majors will call it being poached) will destroy the mid-majors is something I do not buy. Heck, as some mid-major coaches point out in this article there will be a balance of those going up and those going down (Especially since mid-majors can offer shots and minutes where some players at the higher levels might not be getting and legitimately yearning for).

The life lessons argument I find humorous. What is the lesson to be learned? Stick it out in toxic situations? Be loyal to a coach who at a moments notice will not be loyal to you? Be miserable in a situation because when you made a commitment to the program you thought it was one thing and it turned out to be completely something else? 

If that is the life lesson being taught, you might as well just teach these athletes to prepare to work a job they hate for 30 years and enjoy the gold watch at the end. 

The only reasonable life lesson argument I have found when it comes to dealing with adversity comes from Milwaukee's 97.3 the Game's Brian Butch (Yes, that Brian Butch). He pointed out on his show Nine to Noon with John Kuhn recently that if players run from actually competing for shots and playing time that will have an impact on a players future pro prospects. It makes some sense since most DI players have a shot to play professionally in the NBA, G-League or overseas. At the pro level, they are not going to care about a players feelings towards shots or playing time. They are going to care about the contribution to the team and what are you doing to get better. Butch summarized the players who jump from program to program to chase shots to improve those pro aspirations usually backfires. He has saw it time and again in his pro career. The players finally had to face competing for playing time, could not handle it and were sent home.

Maybe the whole sky falling argument just comes down to fear because this will change the game. It will change for sure how college coaches recruit. It has already begun to create this perception that players are now hired guns (Total irony here with that analogy considering these hired mercenaries will be paid--for now at least--in tuition along with room and board while the NCAA makes billions and the schools make millions off the relationship). 

What I hypothesize is what this rule change will do is create more and more of the perception that the God-like coach and his outstanding culture may not be so outstanding after all. Coaches may be exposed and have to deal with a change that will only at best zero-sum benefit them. There is one thing I have observed in my time when I covered college hoops is most coaches only love changes that benefits them. The best response to that is adapt or die because the times are a changing.

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Home Run Hire

“The first thing I realize about (Haynes) is he seems like a great family man. He and his wife had their kids around, and that just shows you what type of individual he is and what he values. He’s been a great help for us. He’s like the coach I’ve never had since I’ve been in college. I’ve definitely enjoyed his time since he’s been (at Maryland). From the perspective that he played and had success while he was playing, he brings another dimension. He’s great with film. He’s a great coach all around.”

--Darryl Morsell, 2021 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year

 

Marquette officially announced their three Assistant Coaches today. As previously reported on Cracked Sidewalks, Cody Hatt and Neill Berry are following Head Coach Shaka Smart from Texas.

Cracked Sidewalks had been told over the past couple weeks that the third assistant was going to be a home run hire. It was a big target that the staff was looking to add. Today we can confirm the third assistant will be DeAndre Haynes. Coach Haynes joins Smart's staff after spending the past two years on the bench at Maryland. The upcoming season will be his tenth as a Division I assistant, having additional stops at Kent State, Toledo, and Michigan.

Every article written about Haynes, and there has been a lot of digital ink spilled on his behalf, puts a focus on his ability to build relationships. The 37-year old Haynes retains an ability to connect with younger players that isn't always natural for coaching staffs. That was exemplified by his relationship with Maryland guard Anthony Cowan. Haynes and Cohen bonded not only over basketball, but when Haynes told Cowan about his mother's health troubles, multiple surgeries, and how compared to that, Cowan could relax because they're just playing basketball.

Haynes' route to Marquette was a long, divergent path. He got his start in college basketball as a player, spending all four years at Kent State while also winning MAC Player of the Year as a senior and leading the Golden Flashes to the MAC regular season and Tournament titles as well as a NCAA berth. From there, he played professionally in Europe for six seasons before retiring and joining the Kent State coaching staff as an assistant in 2012. That was when Haynes began to demonstrate his ability to build relationships. Of Haynes, Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said, "The work he’s willing to put in with those guys on the court is where the relationship starts."

Haynes holds Kent State records for career assists and steals

Photo Courtesy of Kent State Athletics

After four seasons learning the ropes of coaching, Haynes moved on to Toledo for one year under head coach and one-time Marquette assistant coach Tod Kowalczyk. From there, Haynes had a very (very, very) brief stay with Illinois State. Haynes made an immediate impression on head coach Dan Muller. His initial hire in Normal was on May 16, 2017. Then, 343 miles away in Ann Arbor, something unexpected happened. Within the span of a week, Michigan assistants Jeff Meyer and Billy Donlon left the program for similar jobs at Butler and Northwestern, respectively. For John Beilein, it was rare to have to replace an assistant in the middle of summer, but replacing two within a week that late in the year is almost unheard of.

This is where Haynes' boss at the time, Dan Muller, comes in. When he heard about the vacancies at Michigan, he called John Beilein and recommended he hire two assistants off his own bench. The first was Muller's long-time friend Luke Yaklich, who was shortly thereafter regarded as the guru that reshaped Michigan's defense. The other was DeAndre Haynes, who went from the new guy at a mid-major to a Big 10 bench in just 72 days. "I learned a long time ago...you can't control when things happen," said Muller. "If it's right for you and your families and a progression in your career or the money, whatever it may be...we'll be okay. That's what I told them."

Haynes unquestionably delivered in his first year at Michigan. He was credited with the improvement of guard Zavier Simpson, who became indispensable for the Wolverines as they won the Big 10 Tournament and made a NCAA run all the way to the Final Four before losing in the Championship Game to Villanova.

Haynes connected with players like Jordan Poole on and off the court
Photo courtesy of USA Today
 
The job had to seem like a dream come true. By his second summer in Ann Arbor, Haynes was running the Michigan offense on their international trip to Spain. The Wolverines started the year 17-0, climbing all the way to #2 in the AP Poll on their way to another Big 10 Title Game appearance and Sweet 16. And then, for the second summer in three years, Haynes found his life radically changed by one of those things you can't control. John Beilein left Michigan for the Cleveland Cavaliers in May, leaving Haynes facing a summer of uncertainty as most assistant positions are filled by that time of year.

Coincidentally, the man that came to Michigan with Haynes, Luke Yaklich, was hired by Shaka Smart at Texas. The Wolverines' other assistant, Saddi Washington, was retained by new coach Juwan Howard. That left Haynes as the odd man out, and the process of filling Michigan's staff had taken nearly a month. In early June, the only high-major assistant positions open were at Miami and Maryland.
 
It was once again a fortuitous phone call that gave Haynes a lifeline. Two weeks before he took the Cavs job, Beilein called Mark Turgeon at Maryland. One of Turgeon's assistants had taken a head coaching job and he still needed to fill the spot. Beilein recommended all three of his assistants to Turgeon. In College Park, Turgeon watched the Michigan situation and waited as Yaklich and Washington secured employment. When Haynes looked to be left in the cold, Turgeon reached out.

After Haynes' interview, Turgeon was driving him back to the airport for his flight back to Detroit. Haynes received a text from Hurricanes Coach Jim Larranaga to tell him they went with another candidate. He quietly closed his phone as they approached the airport. Just before arriving, Turgeon offered Haynes a job at Maryland.

Haynes is known for his skill development and work with guards
Photo Courtesy of Washington Post

In the past two years, Haynes has continued to develop both players and relationships. In his first season at College Park, Anthony Cowan was a first-team All-Big 10 selection. This past year, Darryl Morsell was named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Turgeon said, "Players love him, and they love being around him. He's a great teacher."

Working in one of the premier basketball conferences and having so much success, some might wonder why Haynes would leave Maryland to join a new staff at Marquette. The first reason that comes to mind is stability. When Lon Kruger retired in late March, Mark Turgeon was one of the first names mentioned with the opening. While Turgeon signed an extension on April 7th, that circumstance could have left Haynes in a difficult situation once again. Would he really want to be back on the market for the third summer in five years?

Another consideration could be salary. While the Maryland job came along at the right time, thanks to our colleagues at Paint Touches, we have learned that Haynes took a major pay cut, from $275,000 per year at Michigan to $156,000 per year at Maryland. Not only that, but the two other assistants on the Maryland staff, Orlando "Bino" Ranson and Matt Brady each make $278,000 per year. As Marquette is a private institution, we don't know Haynes' exact salary, but having to take a 43% pay cut and making a little over half what your peers make might be a major incentive for Haynes to move on.

Haynes may also be a particularly good fit for Marquette. This isn't just because he's a Midwest guy who grew up in Detroit, went to school in Ohio, and has coached in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan. It's also because two of the men that sat in this seat before him recently are Dwayne Killings and Justin Gainey, who helped form Coaches For Action. Haynes and his wife have focused on the importance of serving as and discovering black role models, not just in sports. His wife, Tierra Haynes, wrote a children's book about the first black astronaut, Guion Bluford, Jr that also includes their own children as main characters in the book. As Marquette did for Killings and Gainey before them, the University can provide a platform for Haynes to be similarly influential, especially as he works alongside the first black head coach in Marquette history, Shaka Smart.

In addition, Smart has talked repeatedly about building a culture through relationships. The word relationships comes up repeatedly when people talk about Haynes. It seems to not just be the reason for his success but the calling card of his life. At every turn, his colleagues talk about his ability to connect with others, something that will be instrumental on a young team that will look to blend players and recruits from two different coaching staffs into one cohesive unit.

After noticing Cody Hatt's instant Marquette embrace and seeing Neill Berry on some of the videos Marquette was releasing on Twitter, it was clear that two of the three assistant coach positions were filled. The announcement of Haynes was reportedly delayed because while this was agreed on in principle, Haynes was still in the mix for the Eastern Michigan head coaching position until it was filled by Stan Heath on Monday. The Eagles' loss looks to be the Golden Eagles' gain. Looking at his history, his connections, and his successes, DeAndre Haynes looks like the signing Smart truly hit out of the park.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Take a Breath, Marquette...

In the past two days, we reported out the commitments of Emarion Ellis and David Joplin to join Shaka Smith at Marquette. Before the digital ink dried on the Joplin article, it was reported that Keeyan Itejere (ee-TEEZ-your-ray, from what we are told) had also committed to Marquette. Those three additions joining already affirmed Stevie Mitchell and Kameron Jones rocketed Marquette's class from #52 nationally all the way up to #17 per 247 Sports, as of this writing.

Before Marquette fans could finish celebrating their good fortune, we learned that Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year Tyler Kolek was also going to be joining Marquette as a transfer from George Mason. That was followed early this morning by the addition of Clemson freshman transfer Olivier Maxence-Prosper. With immediate eligibility passing, this is what Marquette's roster looks like:

Freshmen: Emarion Ellis, Keeyan Itejere, Kameron Jones, David Joplin, Stevie Mitchell

Sophomores: Dexter Akanno, Dawson Garcia, Osasere Ighodaro, Tyler Kolek, Justin Lewis, Olivier Maxence-Prosper

Juniors: D.J. Carton

Seniors: Greg Elliott, Jose Perez


So what are Marquette fans going to see with these players coming in? Let's go in chronological order of commitment and get a bit of a breakdown on the three newcomers.

Keeyan Itejere

Itejere is a 6'9", 190-pound forward from Raleigh, North Carolina. His stock shot up in the past few months, from #265 in the 247 Sports composite in November, 2020 all the way to #156 currently. At this point, he still looks fairly raw and will likely need to add weight. Itejere could be described as bouncy, with the athleticism to both dunk and block shots. He also runs the floor well and looks like a forward that will be comfortable in transition. According to MaxPreps, he averaged 9.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game in 2020-21 for GRACE Christian High School. Itejere is probably more of a long-term prospect but his high school coach raved about his NBA athleticism and that he has only been playing basketball seriously for the past four years, which could indicate a higher ceiling as he is still just scratching his potential.


Tyler Kolek

Kolek first came up as a target shortly after Smart was hired. Kolek was an unranked player coming out of high school in Rhode Island. Despite that, his shooting helped him quickly move into the starting lineup at George Mason. Kolek ended up leading the team in minutes while averaging 10.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He was named Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year and had a number of high major options, including Providence, Oklahoma, and Penn State. Perhaps the most impressive from Marquette's perspective is that he chose Milwaukee despite having grown up with season tickets to the Dunkin' Donuts Center, home of the Big East rival Friars.

In terms of his game, Kolek loves to shoot threes, with over 74% of his FGA coming from beyond the arc. Not only that, but looking at his highlights, it's clear he has Andrew Rowsey type range. On a team in need of shooting, Kolek and his 51 made threes will be very welcome as the most prolific long range shooter in terms of makes is DJ Carton with 33. Kolek can also score through traffic, doing well to use his body to shield off defenders. He is a reliable ball-handler as well who can create for others. The video below shows off those specific skills, and bear in mind, it's against A-10 competition, which may not be the Big East, but is a much better method of comparison than high school or AAU teams.

In discussions behind the scenes, the staff used words like "toughness" and "balls" to describe his style of play while also comparing his level of competitiveness favorably to Marquette and TBT legend Travis Diener. It is no coincidence that Shaka Smart tweeted the gif of Travis' TBT Championship winning shot right after Kolek made his announcement. While those are lofty comparisons, the staff at least seems to believe Kolek is the kind of player you want with the ball in his hands in the closing minutes of a tight game. Here's a look at his freshman year highlights:


Olivier Maxence-Prosper

Looking at his statline from Clemson, it could be understood why some fans might not get overly excited about this transfer. O-Max, as he's nicknamed, averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game playing 9.7 minutes per contest. While he didn't light up the ACC the way Kolek did in the A-10, there are reasons to be optimistic about the long-terms prospects here, not the least of which is that he came to college after his junior year in high school, so he's young for his class.

Maxence-Prosper was also a freshman who came in more highly lauded, checking in at #106 in the final 247 Composite after spending most of the year just inside the top-100. He is listed at 6'8", 216 pounds, so more filled out than Itejere and likely more ready to contribute from day one. He has adjectives like "NBA athleticism" mentioned with him as well, though that clearly didn't pave the way to minutes at Clemson. That said, the Tigers did have three 6'8" or taller upperclassmen in front of him while playing a slow-down style that likely didn't fit his game particularly well. There are legitimate reasons to believe he will fit better in Smart's system than he did in Brad Brownell's.

The following (lengthy) video shows his highlights from Clemson and gives clues as to why he was a highly regarded recruit and also why Marquette was after him:


What's to Come?

It should first be noted that Marquette is still actively pursuing a number of players. Tamar Bates is the most prolific high school player, ranked #56 by the 247 Sports Composite. The 6'4" combo guard has excellent athleticism and can score both inside and out. Bates originally committed to Smart at Texas though he is being heavily recruited currently, with Missouri and Oklahoma State among the perceived leaders as well. Were he to commit, Marquette would move into the top-10 in 247 Sports recruiting rankings. Marquette has also been associated with transfer guard Darryl Morsell of Maryland. Morsell is widely regarded as one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. While he won the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year, Marquette fans might remember him from the Orlando Invitational Championship Game in 2019, when he was the primary defender on Markus Howard. After scoring 91 points in the first two games of the tournament, Howard was held to 6 points on 1/12 shooting with Morsell as his primary defender.

Those that can do math can also see Marquette is currently one over the scholarship limit as they continue to recruit. There is some speculation that seniors like Greg Elliott could be allowed to stay over the limit based on a COVID loophole, but barring that, it would seem that at least 1-2 players could be transferring if nothing else changes. There's nothing abnormal about that in a coaching change, but don't be surprised to see some departures before all the dust settles.

Finally, there is the matter of the last Assistant Coach spot. As we reported earlier this week, Cody Hatt and Neill Berry have followed Smart from Texas to take spots on his bench, but his other assistant, K.T. Turner, has taken a position at Oklahoma with Porter Moser. There are many rumors swirling on Twitter and message boards. We will address this in two ways without pointing to any specific coaches. First, there has been a lot of talk that Smart is looking for a big hire with the final assistant position. Whether that is a sitting head coach or a high-major assistant, we can't say for certain, but his past three associate head coaches at Texas were KT Turner (hired from SMU), Luke Yaklich (hired from Michigan), and Darren Horn (former high-major head coach). Don't be surprised if one of the big rumors out there proves to be true. Second, prominent assistant hires often come with relationships to recruits already developed. Look at how quickly Jonas Aidoo committed to Tennessee after former Marquette assistant and lead Aidoo recruiter Justin Gainey joined Rick Barnes' staff. Don't be surprised if the final assistant has a relationship with a recruit that ends up in Marquette colors as well.

It's been a whirlwind 48 hours. 5 new players and according to Shaka Smart, they aren't done yet. So take a breath, and as you exhale, say "We Are...Marquette!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Joplin Comes Home to Marquette

Shaka Smart has won the commitment of his first Wisconsin player as David Joplin, a 6'7" forward from Brookfield Central, has committed to Marquette. Joplin joins prior 2021 commits Stevie Mitchell, Kam Jones, and Emarion Ellis and according to the 247 Sports Class Calculator moves Marquette up to the #20 recruiting class in the country.

Joplin drives past a Sussex Hamilton player
Photo courtesy of Rivals

Joplin is a four-star recruit and rated as the #114 player in the country by the 247 Sports Composite Ranking, though he checks in at #74 on the site's internal metrics. He put up a monster senior season, averaging 25.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game for the Lancers. Joplin had committed to Texas last summer, picking the Longhorns over Georgetown, Iowa State, and Minnesota, among others. Today he chose Marquette over a list that included Virginia, Minnesota, and Missouri, among others.

There has long been speculation that Joplin would've been receptive to a Marquette offer, but until the recent coaching change that offer never came. Joplin lives just 13 miles from Marquette's campus and he's grown up in the shadow of Milwaukee. The addition of Coach Smart, who similarly grew up in a suburb of Madison, made what was already a good fit, ideal.

Joplin always had the physical tools to play at the D1 level, but the biggest knock on his game was his shooting from distance. He broke through in that regard first as a sophomore, shooting 38.5% from deep, then backed that up as a senior as he connected on 37% of his shots from beyond the arc. Joplin is also regarded for his prodigious dunking ability and the way he uses his length and athleticism on the defensive end of the court.

The Brookfield forward has also shown the ability to come up big when the lights are brightest. He led Brookfield Central to the WIAA Division I State Championship game in 2019 as a sophomore. In that game, he exploded for 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks with a cool 70 eFG% as he was also named to the 2019 Wissports All-Tournament Team.

So what is Marquette getting in Joplin? Listed at 6'7", 215 pounds, he should be able to play at this level immediately, though time in the weight room will only refine his physique. He has the ability to score at all three levels, attacking the rim, showing the ability to create his own shot in the mid-range, and as mentioned above shooting well from deep. His length and athleticism make him disruptive on the defensive end both in man-to-man and as a help defender. Joplin is a high-upside prospect that should contribute this year and develop into a starter, if not outright star, in the years to come. Here's a look at some of his senior year highlights, though we at Cracked Sidewalks always caution those watching to take mixtapes with a grain of salt, impressive though they may be.