"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, April 21, 2005

Rating the Big East Coaches

The guys over at the Pitt Sports Blather pulled together a list worth considering this week. The guys there rated the Big East coaches, from #1 on down to #16. MU's own Tom Crean fared well in these rankings, landing at #5. Crean trails only Calhoun, Pitino, Boeheim and Huggins on their list.

That's good company for TC, and a tip of the cap to the MU program.

Check out the post and let'em know what you think.

Dwight Burke Commits to Marquette

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel broke the news (LINK TO UPDATED STORY):

"Moving quickly to use the scholarship freed up by the pending transfer of Dameon Mason, the Marquette Golden Eagles have secured a verbal commitment from 6-foot-8 power forward Dwight Burke of St. Benedict Prep in Newark, N.J.Burke becomes the second big man to commit to the MU men's basketball program this week, joining 6-7 Jamil Lott of North Dakota State College of Science, and the final player in what has become a six-man 2005-’06 recruiting class for the Golden Eagles.

MU worked hard to secure Burke, who had recently been attracting interest from fellow Big East members Rutgers, South Florida and Pittsburgh. He had originally signed with East Carolina but was given a release when coach Bill Herrion was fired.

Like Lott, Burke is expected to provide athleticism and size for an MU frontcourt in need of both for the upcoming season. The Golden Eagles will lose their best big man, Marcus Jackson, to graduation and feature little in the way of experience in the post."

A Delaware native, Burke was listed among the nation's top 75 5th year players by Hoop Scoop after playing for Danny Hurley's nationally ranked St. Benedict Gray Bees last season. Previously, Burke played at Rice High School in New York where he averaged 7.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and one block per game. Dwight began his high school career at Christiana High in Delaware.

Late last year, the folks covering ECU hoops penned this article about Dwight Burke.

Hoop Scoop rates MU recruiting class #10

With this week's signing of Jamil Lott, a Junior College 2nd Team All-American, Hoop Scoop Online has moved Marquette's recruiting class up to number 10 in the nation. Marquette and Tom Crean still have one more scholarship remaining that they could choose to use on this year's class or bank it for next year.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

No loss of scholarship for MU.

There's a lot of concern over how the new NCAA rules might affect Marquette with the recent transfer of Dameon Mason.

The material out of the NCAA has been confusing at best, and incomprehensible at worst. However, there is one example that shows how the new rules are implemented. More info is here.

Teams get one point for each player enrolling and earning academic standing, one point for staying for the next semester (or finishing eligibility). So a player has a possiblity of earning 4 points per year.

If a player leaves mid year, he has a maxiumum of 2 points.

For example, Marcus Jackson gets 4/4 points--
one for enrolling and being eligible in the fall
one for returning for the spring
one for enrolling and being eligible in the spring
one for graduating.

Mason is a 3/4 player
one for enrolling and being eligible in the fall
one for returning for the spring
one for enrolling and being elibilge in the spring
zero for not returning for the fall.

The enforcement begins with two years of data, ultimately growing to 4 years. So looking at MU's scholarships:

For 03-04:
1 Sanders 4/4
2 Merrit 4/4
3 Jackson 4/4
4 Townsend 4/4
5 Diener 4/4
6 Chapman 4/4
7 Novak 4/4
8 Christain 3/4 did not return following fall
9 Matthews 1/2 1st semester only.
10 Mason 4/4
11 Bell 4/4
12 Bradley 3/4 did not return following fall
13 Grimm 4/4

Total: 47/50

1 Jackson 4/4
2 Townsend 4/4
3 Diener 4/4
4 Novak 4/4
5 Grimm 4/4
6 Chapman 4/4
7 Mason 3/4 as explained above
8 Kinsella 4/4
9 Fitzgerald 4/4
10 Barro 4/4
11 Amoroso 4/4
12 Bell 1/2 enrolled for fall, did not return.
13 Berkowitz 0/2 enrolled, did not maintain academic standing, did not return.

Total: 44/48

2 year total: 91/98 = 929, above the 925 threshold for scholarship limits.

Furthermore, there will be a "squad size adjustment" that reduces the 925 threshold. The example cited was baseball, which has an 895 limit for a 35 player team. I'm not sure how this is calculated--but for MU it doesn't matter since we're above the limit anyway.

The only possible loss of scholarship would have been for next season for Berkowitz. Teams lose scholarships for any 0/2 player--if they are below the 925 threshold. MU is not, and can fill his scholarship.

More good news is on the way--the NCAA is evaluating the academic progress of transfer players versus dropouts, and plans to incorporate an adjustment that will benefit MU so long as Matthews, Bell, Christain and Mason make academic progress at their new schools.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dameon Mason to Transfer

Earlier today, Dameon Mason confirmed rumors that he was leaving Marquette University. Mason, MU's third-leading scorer at nearly 12ppg last season, is the third player to leave the program during this academic year (Bell, Berkowitz). Perhaps more than his scoring, Mason will be missed on the glass where he chipped in more than five boards per game. With his departure and Marcus Jackson's graduation, MU has even work to do on the backboards moving into the Big East.

The Mason departure is frustrating in that he was a kid who commanded big-time minutes early in his career and showed flashes of brilliance on the court. He was clutch at times (ask any Louisville fan), but also played inconsistently as sophomore, leading the team in turnovers. With the series of injuries and illnesses that plagued the team last season, Mason was forced to play out of position more than most of his teammates, and his production suffered. Given the circumstances, it was understandable. If Mason were to return and play his natural wing position, one could have imagined him quickly returning to form.

With Mason gone, MU will rely on a cadre of talented and unproven backcourt players. Tulane transfer Dan Fitzgerald and incoming freshmen Matthews, Mortensen and McNeal figure to be the biggest potential beneficiaries of Dameon's departure -- playing time is just waiting to be claimed. The larger issue will be the effectiveness and productivity of this group, which might have to play more minutes than the coaching staff initially imagined.

JUCO All-American Jamil Lott Commits to Marquette

As reported at John Dodds' Marquette Hoops site over at Scout.com, second-team JUCO All-American Jamil Lott committed to Marquette during his visit over the weekend.

Lott, a native of St. Paul, averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds per game last season. Lott was the key to NDSCS' third consecutive Mon-Dak Conference title, and led his team to a 28-7 overall record including a 7th place finish in the national JUCO hoops tourney at Hutchinson, Kansas. Lott's strong play throughout the tournament turned the heads of major Division One programs, including Arizona, Marquette and USC.

Lott will sign his LOI later this week and has a chance to fill the void left by the departing Marcus Jackson. Lott will compete with Ryan Amoroso, Mike Kinsella, Chris Grimm and Ousmane Barro for playing time at the big forward position next year. As an added benefit, Lott's signing helps coach Tom Crean 'balance his classes' by opening up a slot for the incoming class in 2007.

Lott joins a very talented class of newcomers for MU, one that is now much more complete. MU needed a ready-to-play big man in the physical Big East, something Lott has a chance to be. Lott is the fourth Minnesotan to land on the Warriors' roster in the past year, joining Ryan Amoroso, Mike Kinsella and Dan Fitzgerald.

Welcome to Marquette, Jamil!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Gregg Doyel Sizes up the new Big East

CBS Sportsline columnist Gregg Doyel provides an overview of the new Big East in his most recent column. Gregg likes Villanova, UConn, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville to finish near the top of the league next season. He adds MU into a mix of teams that he feels will struggle in the new league next year - - of course, he feels much the same about ten other Big East teams.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Mortensen reroutes his mission

Matt Mortensen, a 6'6" swingman from Provo, Utah, has decided to set aside his Mormon mission for the time being and join the Marquette basketball team in the fall of 2005. Matt brings the number of 1st team all-state newcomers at Marquette to 5 (Dan Fitzgerald in Minnesota in 2003, Jerel McNeal in Illinois, Dominic James in Indiana, Wesley Matthews in Wisconsin and Mortensen in Utah).

Mortensen reportedly is not just a sharpershooter, but an athletic slasher, who can finish in the lane. See this Journal Sentinel article for more on Mort, as well as some information on two other Marquette recruiting targets, Jamil Lott and Dwight Burke.

Without a doubt, Marquette will have a young roster next year, but the athleticism and talent coming into the program is definitely encouraging.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

10,000 hits and counting: Thank You

Wow, who knew a basketball blog would attract this kind of interest? Not this blogger, that's for sure. We started this blog on a whim less than three months ago, and it fast became a passion that builds with each passing week.....And this is merely the off-season! Many thanks to all of you who make this blog part of your online Marquette basketball experience.

We've assembled a terrific team of contributors, each of whom offer different areas of interest that are drawn together by a passion for Marquette basketball. Marquette 84, muwarrior92 and Marq2000 -- thanks.

As the university rolls into the Big East in a few months, we'll continue to offer our perspectives on the program and offer links to interesting content related to MU hoops. July 1 is fast approaching, a new era awaits. Thanks for joining us on this journey.....much more to come.

Was Dominic James Robbed of Mr. Indiana?

Certainly up for interpretation, but here is an interesting take by one writer. Click on the article below written by Greg Fallon

Dominic James Robbed of Mr. Indiana Basketball?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Dominic James Finishes 2nd Mr. Indiana Basketball

Despite leading the state of Indiana with over 31 points per game, Dominic James finished second in the Mr. Basketball award for the state of Indiana. Luke Zeller (heading to Notre Dame) won the honor and probably benefitted from his improbable 40 foot last second shot to win the state title. Josh McRoberts (heading to Duke) finished third.

Click here for a complete recap of the voting.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Jerel McNeal named 3rd Team Parade All-American

Congratulations to Jerel McNeal who was named by Parade Magazine as a national 3rd Team All American. McNeal will join Tom Crean's Marquette squad as a freshman in the 2005-06 season this coming Fall.

Click here is the complete list of Parade All-Americans.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Dominic James: Mr. Basketball?

Indiana's Mr. Basketball will be announced on Sunday, April 10. Dominic James, Luke Zeller and Josh McRoberts are considered the front-runners for the award, with Zeller making a strong statement for the honor after winning the state title on his own half court shot last week. Meanwhile, McRoberts has the advantage of a higher national profile than either Zeller or James.

Not surprisingly, Dominic James' hometown paper, the Palladium-Item, contends that DJ deserves the honor. Also, check out this site, which is a campaign homepage of sorts for James.

Good luck, Dominic.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Strohm to Fresno State?

According to this report, he's on the list.

. . .and the same message suggests Tom Crean isn't the target of Virgina.

Friday, April 01, 2005

'Freeway' Dances Into the Rafters

Ok, this is a funny April Fool's article about Freeway having a jersey retired. A nice effort by the folks over at OnMilwaukee.com

Query: how did they decide on #25? I wonder if Mark Anglavar is disappointed that Mike 'Freeway' McCarter earned this honor rather than him.