"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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Looking ahead to 2007-2008

Todd Rosiak takes a much needed look ahead for the Marquette hoops program in today's Journal-Sentinel.

The priority area for improvement? No surprise, its MU's inconsistent front line.

The good news is MU will have Ousmane Barro back for his senior season. The 6'10" junior showed marked improvement last year, averaging better than 9 ppg and 7 rpg. Did Barro disappear at inopportune times last season? Sure -- but he's at least a serviceable big man.

The bad news is that Barro has litle to help to count on along the baseline. Dwight Burke will be back, but during his sophomore season he failed to seize the opportunities presented to him by an underperforminng Jamil Lott an an oft-injured Mike Kinsella. Given his size and strength there's still hope for Burke to emerge as a valuable role player -- but why couldn't he do it this past season?

Its time to look to the kids. MU has three 'big' men signed for next season: Trevor Mbakwe, Damian Saunders and Patrick Hazel. Per Rosiak, "At this point, only the 6-foot-7, 225-pound Mbakwe, a superlative athlete with a 7-2 wingspan, appears ready to make an immediate impact." Good call, Todd. Mbakwe will contribute from day one -- exactly what TC needs next season.

I think Rosiak is underestimating Hazel, a prep-school strong man from Queens. While Hazel won't score effectively as a freshman, his toughness and hustle should make a difference for the 2007-2008 team. Saunders? He's a 6'7" 190-pound forward - - he's a couple of years away from contributing.

And while James will dabble in possibly departing for the NBA -- MU has the 2006 MAC freshman of the year Maurice Acker waiting in the wings to assume the poing guard duties, and super shooter Scott Christopherson joining the backcourt mix as well.

Lots of promise in this program. If James stays and Mbakwe can contribute -- next year could be special.


J.J. Pauly said...

a thought...

does anyone else think that starting acker at the point and moving james to a wing might make james more effective in terms of being able to slash the lane as mcneal does (coming off the wing?) james, although a great athlete, has proven this season that he is not a floor general. i think cubillan was much more effective at the point at times for the warriors this year and i can't wait for the addition of acker next year...if everyone returns, we'll easily have the deepest backcourt in the country...james, mcneal, matthews, hayward, cubillan, fitzgerald, acker, christopherson...the question marks are on the frontline. i think mbakwe is just the guy we need playing along side ousmane to make him more of a force down low.

muyankercranker said...

great front court, i concur but i see no real help on in 07/08 in our front court. we can not count on newbie for immediate help - sure we could get lucky but trevor's no durant or ogden (sure things). barro is our only known quantity (with a chance of success -burke is a role player/foul vacuum at best) and he is solid, on most nights but was painfully absent in some key games but i do see his consistency increasing and he is a hard worker, so again he is solid. but we still do not have a legit stud in the 4 or the 5 here or coming. these newbies may (i hope they do) bang the boards, we got to get some scoring threat in side or all some one has to do to beat us on any given night is control 3 scorers, maybe four if lazar keeps his upward trend - no guarantees - see dj. hey i am as exciting about muhoops as anyone but we have to be honest here tc has not gotten to the promised land of big studs. i believe that directly relates to who we have sent to the bigs - all perimeter players - novak's size made him seem big but he was/is a 6'10'' guard and we all knew/loved it. the studs want see the pathway before they will commit. wade was wild card for us but he was the first to walk that path a be stud in the nba in quite a while and although diener and novak have walked it they are not and will not be a wade but at least they have walked it - no 5s from mu have walked that path since jimmy mac and the distantly remembered amal mccaskil. tc has to find that diamond in the rough - see wade, of a monster stud, then get him into the bigs - that and only that will widen the path for us to get a free flow of biggins to match our very talented back court recruits.