"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, November 14, 2007

National Signing Period Begins Today

Today is the first day of the National Signing Period when recruits can sign binding letters of intent with the university of their choice. Recruits can sign LOIs between November 14th and November 21st.

Marquette is expected to sign four student-athletes this week -- a class that stands to be one of the more well-balanced groups Tom Crean has signed in several years. With this class, Crean recruited to every position on the floor (in terms of skill) and neatly replaced his outgoing seniors (Barro, Fitzgerald, Blackledge), and signed a talented PG to potentially replace Dominic James or to account for other roster attrition.

Collectively, this group is ranked in the national top 20 by HoopScoop and unranked by other services - -which is not surprising given the late-bloomers in the class. Here's a brief look at MU's expected incoming class of 2008:

Nick Williams, 6'4" SG from Mobile (LeFlore) Alabama: Williams was the first class of 2008 player to commit to Marquette. Williams plays for one of the most successful high school programs in the State of Alabama, and leads his Rattlers in defense of their 2007 State Championship. Williams is a big, strong guard in the Wesley Matthews/Tony Smith mold who should see immediate playing time next winter. Big Nick scored 32 points in LeFlore's season opener earlier this month.

Joseph Fulce, 6'7" combo forward from Plano, TX via Tyler (TX) Junior College: Fulce originally signed with Texas A&M thanks to then assistant coach Buzz Williams. However, grades forced Fulce to a prep school where he reopened his recruiting after the coaching change in College Station. Soon after, Fulce signed an LOI to play for the University of New Orleans -- and then head coach Buzz Williams. Now Buzz is at MU, and Fulce is coming to MU. Third time lucky for Marquette? That's what Tom Crean is hoping for. Fulce will have three years of eligibility at Marquette.

Tyshawn Taylor, 6'3" PG from Jersey City St. Anthony's. Taylor, who committed to MU over Georgia Tech, KU and UNC, looks to be the point guard of the future for the Golden Eagles. Because of the load of backcourt talent on his high school team, its doubtful Taylor will begin his career as a classically trained point guard but his strength and size mark a sea-change for the rather undersized stable of point guards currently on the MU roster. With Williams, Christopherson and now Taylor, Marquette should have have one of the bigger, more physical young backcourts in the Big East. Given Taylor's upside and heritage -- St. Anthony's, Bob Hurley -- he could be one of the most vital recruits for MU since Dominic James.

Chris Otule, 6'10" 245 pound PF/C from Fort Bend (TX) Bush. The man in the middle. Finally. Otule was the final piece to the puzzle for the 2008 freshman class, and maybe its most vital component. While Tom Crean aggressively pursued Frank Ben-Eze (who ultimately committed to Harvard), he didn't fall for other bigs who expressed high interest in MU such as Maurice Sutton, Garrett Stutz or Josh Crittle. Crean waited until he found what seems to be a player with better tools, more potential and higher upside. Although Otule only averaged 5 ppg as a high school junior, that does not seem to be an indication of what to expect down the line. Check out this Q/A with Jim Hicks for details.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it a little premature to call these guys "late bloomers?" I'd think we should wait to see if they actually "bloom!"

TB said...

Late bloomers in terms of their respective high school careers. Taylor fits that description as does Otule.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the breakdown, I hadn't put the class together in my mind before. These guys are definitely giving me hope for the future of MU basketball.

It's obvious we will be getting taller, if nothing else than just within our backcourt. How important is this really? Will this alone help take us up a notch, or what?

Anonymous said...

Class certainly loses some luster when compared to what Pitino brought to Louisville or what Thompson brought to Georgetown. It certainly would be nice to get some ready made stars instead of the proverbial "late bloomers." Another example - look at Syracuse!!

Anonymous said...

Anybody happen to know what happened with Andy Polka? He seems to be putting together some nice numbers at Loyola. He is just the type of kid we could use at MU...a local boy, some decent (not great) size, somewhat athletic. At the very least, he's better than Burke, just not quite as big. Is this a philosophy thing?

Why do we need to go after JC guys in Texas (!) when there are servicable big guys right in our backyard!

Anonymous said...

Nice article in S.I. about the history and how this letter is a bad deal for the players.

Anonymous said...

Georgetown's class would indeed be the goods, as they have three very good 3-4 year players besides Monroe.

On the other hand, I think Louisville's may be a case of smoke and mirrors after Samardo Samuels. If Terrence Jennings even sees a college classroom, it will likely be for one year only. Kuric and Bolding did not even sign, and I'm not exactly heartbroken that Swopshire chose Louisville over us.

Our class should be a very solid group that will complement Mbakwe, Christopherson and Hayward nicely, with a big time player in Erik Williams on the way for 2009.

Anonymous said...

It would be hard to find another unheralded & under-recruited success story like Wade, but getting taller in the backcourt would give us a competitive advantage as long as we don't sacrifice speed.

Anonymous said...

Be nice if we could ever get a top 50 player. Polka at Loyola has been solid especially on the boards. My overall evalution of this class is a B- or C+. Like Taylor and Williams. I don't think anyone has any idea what to make of Fulce or Otule. Apprently Otule could a diamond in the rough. More size also doesn't hurt. They deperately need shooters, and neither Williams or Taylor are known for there touch. Decent class nonetheless but not great. I don't think any of them will play a lot of mins as Freshman. Maybe Otule.

Projected 2008-9 Starters:
D. James(not going pro)


My guess is Fulce and Blackledge will be odd men out unless James leaves which would be pretty stupid considering he's no way near an NBA player.