"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, July 31, 2008

Wrap up: 1st Annual Warrior Day Golf Outing a huge success

It's official, the 1st Annual Warrior Day Golf Outing was a huge success.

Earlier this week Bo Ellis, his family, and the board members of The Nicole Ellis Foundation welcomed more than 110 participants, including 30 former Warrior basketball players, to The Bog and raised more than $37,000. That's right, $37,000 was raised to benefit the Nicole Ellis Foundation. Well done!

CrackedSidewalks was honored to be an official sponsor for the inaugural event. Please click here to see the full list of sponsors, board members and participants in this year's event.

Finally, we want to thank our intrepid field reporter, Jim McIlvaine. Jim, who in addition to his fine work with Camp Anokijig and the Marquette radio network, is also a freelance writer and photographer. Jim put those skills to work and sent along this terrific collection of photographs from the event -- as you can see, the Marquette basketball family turned out to support Bo and his family.

BTW, doesn't Earl Tatum look great (light blue shirt)! Remarkable, looks like a strong recovery for Earl.

Great shots, Jim, thanks. But wait, we're not done --

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dwyane Wade basks the cover

Dwyane Wade takes the cover of ACCESS DIRECTV magazine. He is pictured on the cover along with fellow US Olympian Natalie Coughlin a they pursue their chase for the gold medal. This will be Wade's second Olympic games.

The magazine includes a two page article on Wade who is quoted as saying:

"Everybody will always be compared to the dream team. But 2008 is going to write its own chapter, and we will be very special."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cadougan's sizzling summer

Marquette commit Junior Cadougan continued his eye-opening play this summer, leading the Grassroots Canada Elite squad to the title in the prestigious Adidas Super 64 tournament. Cadougan scored 22 points in the double overtime win over the Compton Magic in Las Vegas. How big was this win for our neighbors to the north? Grassroots coach Ro Russell calls the title "the biggest win in....Canadian amateur basketball history."

According to coach Ro Russell's Q/A with Todd Rosiak, the future Warrior is wowing everybody this summer and was the key player in Grassroots' run to the title last week.

The unexpected title caps a remarkable summer for Cadougan, who told Rivals.com "this is the best summer I've ever had." As Todd Rosiak reports today in a Q/A with Cadougan's AAU coach Ro Russell, the future Warrior is wowing everybody this summer.

In June, Cadougan exploded back on the national scene when he was named the top playmaker (and 18th best player overall) at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. Cadougan followed that effort with a strong showing at Reebok U where ESPN said he was "as good as advertised" and "is excellent at being the coach on the floor." Not content, Cadougan led his team to the title in Vegas this weekend.

With his string of elite performances against the best players in the nation, Cadougan has done more to strengthen his ranking and reputation than anybody else in the 2009 class this summer. In fact, when new class rankings are released in the coming months, Cadougan might see his rank improve more than any other player in the national top 100. The pre-summer RSCI composite rankings pegged Cadougan as the 70th best player in the class of 2009 despite no ranking from Rivals.com or Dave Telep from The Insiders Hoops.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Saturday: Meet the Author

Tomorrow, Saturday July 26th, you'll have a chance to meet John Pudner and see a few pages of his new book, Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University. 

You know Pudner from his guest columns on Cracked Sidewalks .. Top 100 MU Players of All Time, and Top 20 Recruiting Classes.

We here at Cracked Sidewalks take full credit for inspiring John (Jour '88) to write this book, and are waiting patiently for our royalty checks to start rolling in. (cough)

You can meet Pudner at the Ambassador Hotel, from 8am-12:30pm on Saturday.  Signs will direct you.  Feel free to tell him how wrong he was on so many of his Top 100 of All Time.

Oh, and click here to pre-order the book.  Please.  The guy's got NINE kids, for crying out loud.  He needs your cash.

Here's his promo material, and a couple pages from the book:




Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Ticketing Questions - Q&A with Mike Broeker

Recently, Cracked Sidewalks lamented the inclusion of the Wisconsin game in the Marquette 5-packs, which we faulted for an unusually large percentage of Wisconsin fans in attendance. This prompted some immediate follow-up from the Marquette Athletic department. After much back and forth, we realized in a subsequent update that you are to blame for the Wisconsin fans that attend the MU-UW contest at the Bradley Center.

The vigorous exchange of emails between Cracked Sidewalks and the MU Athletic Department opened up an avenue to explore additional questions. As a result, Mike Broeker has been kind enough to respond to some of our questions in a Q&A. Mike is Deputy Athletic Director at Marquette University, serving in a COO role for the Athletics Department. He came to Marquette in 2003 from the NBA, where he was the senior manager, basketball communications. In addition to having a professional tie to MU, Mike also married a Marquette grad and now has a plethora of MU in-laws.

This case study on the financial and marketing realities of a basketball-only athletic department also drew the attention of SportsBiz, the Business of Sports Illuminated -- a terrific blog that tracks the economics of sport. Check it out. Now, here's Mike Broeker.

We all know that basketball is the #1 sport at Marquette, and by far the highest revenue producing sport. Plus we know that season attendance continues to grow. Are there any further insights you'd like to share about tickets and attendance? You’re absolutely correct. Men’s basketball tickets sales are the largest revenue stream for our department. In fact, when you factor in ancillary revenue directly tied to men’s basketball, somewhere between 95 and 97% of athletic department revenue is attributed to our men’s basketball program. The numbers are staggering. As satisfying as it is to see the Bradley Center full, it is equally as satisfying to know the impact that has on the rest of our athletic programs.

There's a presumption among the fan base that MU has to play X number of home games to fund the rest of the athletic department. How do you address the concerns of paying fans who would like to see a better non-conference schedule? We certainly appreciate our fans desire to see their program play the best but scheduling is just not that simple, particularly for our program. We could dedicate a lot of space to “scheduling philosophies”. Ours is two-fold, build a schedule that first and foremost prepares our program for conference and postseason play, and of equal significance, provide enough opportunities to generate the revenue necessary for all of our athletic programs to compete at a national level.

Simply, we should never play less then 18 home games in any season and, with new scheduling legislation passed a few years ago, could play as many as 21. Once the Big East Conference went to 18 league games, it really limits us, based on our philosophy, to three to five non-guarantee non-conference opportunities a year. Understanding Wisconsin will always be there doesn’t provide a lot of flexibility.

Under what circumstances would MU be willing to sacrifice a home game? We’d give up a home game if Coach Williams believed it was in the best interest of the program. In fact, we’ve done this in the past by limiting ourselves to one exhibition game because Coach Crean felt, as does Coach Williams, so strongly about the benefits of a scrimmage. Other factors that could come in to play are television and recruiting.

What's your strategy for dealing with the challenge of marketing Marquette basketball in a city like Milwaukee where there are various entertainment options? Like any of the other entertainment options, we must convey to potential customers the unbelievable value and experience that is Marquette Basketball. As much time as we spend brainstorming about ways to attract people to our games, I’d guess we spend twice as much time discussing how to make their experience different, special and meaningful from start to finish.

How has being a non-football school caused you to alter your approach?
Because we don’t have another significant revenue stream, our marketing and sales staff MUST spend a portion of every day, not just basketball season, thinking about ways to maximize our 18 to 20 opportunities at the Bradley Center. We can’t take our recent success for granted nor expect it to continue. I can assure you we have a talented, driven and highly motivated group of people working each day to move those numbers.

Obviously, times are tough with the economy. Has the economic status altered your approach to sales and marketing with Marquette, and to what extent? We build packages, programs and plans that are attractive and affordable to as many people who are interested as possible. I believe it is that simple. Today, people are spending more time analyzing and evaluating discretionary purchases. We must show them as much value as possible. In the end, that will be the deciding factor. This should answer your question regarding this year’s plans.

Since their inception, we’ve made an effort to distribute evenly our 10 best games over the five-game plans. Those plans have become haven for season ticket holders who can no longer make a larger commitment but still want to enjoy our program and a nice stop over for people considering a larger commitment to full season tickets. It’s made a significant impact on our business and we couldn’t be happier.

There have been a few posts on Cracked Sidewalks about the mini-plans. Why not exclude the UW game? UW with four non-premium games was never an option. That is a disservice to fans we are asking to spend $45; what could be the only $45 they spend on a sporting event this winter. People are overvaluing the number of UW people who actually buy those plans.

Why not include a few more "non-premium" games in the 5-packs to maximize revenue?
For example, we believe a plan consisting of UW and four non-premium games would have the opposite effect due to a significant decrease in the attractiveness. If you were to study NBA mini-plans you would see the majority of teams are attempting to put together as attractive and affordable packages as possible. Also, because of the number of games they can also offer a certain amount of flexibility, which unfortunately we can't.

Because of the financial impact to our department and the limited amount of opportunity, remember only 18-to-20 games, our practice is to not discount tickets. Instead, we've tried to create a model with varying degrees of affordability. We believe our ticket prices have great value to a wide variety of customers, reduced ticket prices or plans sends the opposite message. Fundamentally, I oppose massive reductions as means to stimulate demand. We prefer to focus on added value to the purchase, ie our group plans, in which a premium item is added instead of a ticket discount. A mutually beneficial option, in my opinion.

Is there anything we have not asked you about how Marquette markets the program that you’d like to share? I’m an avid reader of the blog and appreciate you affording us the opportunity to talk about the program. We are proud of the work our staff has done, particularly in this market and economy, but believe greater accomplishments are on the horizon.


Cracked Sidewalks appreciates your readership. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Mike!

MU updates from the past several days

Let's get caught up on the program, shall we.

Marquette's 2008-2009 out of conference schedule is nearly complete. The Warriors have agreed to play at North Carolina State this winter, with a return game at the Bradley Center the following year. The Wolfpack finished last season 15-16. After losing its top three scorers from last season, including first-round pick J.J. Hickson, NCSU should be one of the worst teams in the ACC next season.

CNNSI's Luke Winn is blunt about the upcoming season for the Warriors noting that making the Sweet 16 is a baseline expectation for new coach Buzz Williams, despite his relative anonymity.

Buzz Williams sure can recruit. HoopScoop rates the current 2009 class as the second-best in the nation. Impressive stuff -- and Buzz Williams is likely not done recruiting for that group.

Interested in golfing with a Marquette basketball great? Sign up for the 1st Annual Warrior Day Golf Outing to benefit the American Liver Foundation, Marquette University's non-revenue sports and the Hank Raymonds Educational Center. The event will be held on July 28th at The Bog.

In case you didn't catch it, GoMarquette.com is now podcasting. Check out the podcasting section of the website, where you can download interviews and video highlights to your iPod. Don't have your iPod with you? Download the *.mp3's directly. We highly recommend the interviews with Jimmy Butler and Joe Fulce. As some commentary, one of the best parts about being a Marquette fan is that our players represent themselves well. The players are easy to root for, so it's nice to see Butler and Fulce carrying on with that tradition.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BBQ Interviews from Time Warner Sports - Krause

Here's a video that played last week on Time Warner Sports - Dennis Krause's show.

Krause interviews Jerel, DJ, Wes, and Lazar during the BuzzBQ.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Top 20 Recruiting Classes - Ranked

Last year, Cracked Sidewalks asked John Pudner ('88) to do a guest column, and he gave us his take on Marquette's Top 100 Players of all time. A week ago, after this discussion on MUScoop, I asked Pudner to use his database for new, evil purposes.

On request, he's put together Marquette's Top 20 Recruting Classes.

The Top 20 Recruiting Classes of All-Time

The recruiting class Buzz Williams has produced in his first couple of months looks like it could be one of the greatest recruiting classes in MU history. We won’t know until their careers have all concluded, but the signees have spurred some posts on the greatest recruiting classes so far.

I recently compiled a rating for all 669 players in MU history, so with that in place I decided to proceed to add the total ratings of the players that have made up MUs first 89 recruiting classes (still to early to rank Hayward & Company and beyond) to determine the best 20 of all time.

If you want to see how every player was evaluated and rated, I’m afraid you have to go to www.collegeprowler.com/basketball and buy my new book, Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University, but for purposes of this article let me condense 100 pages into a few lines. I simplified the points, rebounds, steals, blocked shots and assists for every MU player from 1917 on to one rating number based on the context of the conditions under which they played. For example, a player scoring 7 ppg in the 1920s when MU was giving up 28 points per game will rank about the same as a player scoring 20 ppg in an early 1960s season in which MU was giving up 80 points per game because they are both scoring about 25% of the points needed to win each night.

In the end, each player ended up with a rating between 0 and 55, with the following distribution:
RatingNumber of Players

5 – 9
0 – 4

1st to 6th best
7th to 19th best
20th to 49th best
50th to 110th best
111th to 207th best
208th to 310th best
311th to 669th best

For purposes of this article, I then added up the ratings of each player in each class to get a class rating for the first 89 MU recruiting classes with the following notes:
  • Highest rating awarded a class for one player is 50 points. Once I completed the project, it was clear Jim Chones, Bo Ellis, Butch Lee, Dean Meminger, George Thompson and Dwyane Wade were the top 6 players in MU history, but I am rounding each of their 6 ratings to an even 50 points to avoid turning this article into a rehash of who the top individual players are.

  • Lowest rating awarded a class for one player is 5.1. The average class has had 3 to 4 players who ended up with a rating of more than 5, so there is no reason to give any credit for a player lower than that.

  • Class is defined as the players who all started playing the same year. Because I don’t have data for the year in which each player actually signed his commitment so I can’t distinguish between true freshman, redshirts and JC transfers for many of the seasons. This leads to some situations such as Wade and Diener being grouped together in the 2001 class because Wade sat out his first year, but it was the only way I could run the numbers.The following are the Top 20 recruiting classes of all time:


Class Started Playing Together

Eventual Career Value of Top 5

Top Players in Order



Kuffel 22.3, Skat 19.7, Chandler 18.1, Millunze 14.1, Bril 10.4 – MU started the 1940s with a solid recruiting class but these five only got to play together their sophomore year of 1942, as the draft took different players in different years and some finished their careers as late as 1947. On top of that, after a strong start in 1945, Chandler was ruled ineligible early in 45. The result was MUs only losing decade.


Deneen 25.8, Hesik 18.3, Adams 16.1, Graf 13.2, Amsden 11.3 – MU already had recruited its first all-world player in Dave Quabius (45.3 rating, 1st NBA player, 2nd All-American) in 1936, and added a great supporting staff in 1937. The result was a team that had marquee wins and probably missed the first two Elite 8s only due to close losses at Kentucky in 1938, and at the 1st two national champs (Long Island and Temple) in 1939.


Rand 45.9, Bugalski 26.6, O’Keefe 12.7– Rand as the superstar that would be carried off the plane in 1955 after returning from a Sweet 16 victory in the season in which MU to their incredible 24-3 season and their first national ranking (8th at the end of the year). Bugalski was a key to that team as well, and once they added Hopfensperger the next year they were loaded.


Novak 34.7, Jackson 31.0, Chapman 14.0, Grimm 6.0 – Obviously this is dependent on counting Jackson who was a senior in 2002 after three years at Mississippi State and sitting out the transfer year. With Novak as the best shooter in MU history, and Jackson as the only legitimate big man of the decade (until this year J), this was the ultimate inside-outside one-two punch.


Miller 32.9, McCaskill 32.6, Gates 11.9, Smith 9.0 – In addition to the inspirational recruit of Gates and him single-handedly getting MU through a tournament win his freshman year, Miller and McCaskill were the two great additions to great 1990s class. Both proved key pieces to get to the Sweet 16 (Miller to break Kentucky’s press, and McCaskill to step up when they got McIlvaine in early foul trouble).


Meminger 50.0, Cobb 32.1, McMahon 6.7 – George Thompson’s senior year was supposed to be a rebuilding year after the 1968 Sweet 16, but the rebuilding effort turned out to be the first year for Meminger and Cobb, who teamed up with Thompson to get revenge on Rupp and Kentucky to go Elite 8 in the trios only year together.


Crawford 32.4, Pieper 23.9, Abraham 22.0, Joseph 11.8 – A very solid top 3, and this team not only contributed as freshman for the Sweet 16 run, but went 22-9, 23-8, 21-12 the three years after O’Neill, Key and McIlvaine were gone, and beat 7 of 8 ranked teams during that stretch!


Ellis 50.0, Walton 41.5 – What more do you need when you have Ellis, but to also activate Walton that year (just like activating Wade during Diener’s first year below) is all you need for a top 20 class.


Thompson 50.0, Smith 23.4, Burke 20.2 – OK, if you get George Thompson in a class, who cares how good the other guys are? The other two were very solid players though.


Dunn 34.7, Quinn 34.5, McKenna 16.2, Deford 10.4, Cardinal 9.4 – This class put in place the incredible combo of Dunn and Quinn that went 15-5 and then 19-2, and once they were gone MU didn’t have another winning season for 8 years.


Whitehead 44.5, Toone 40.2, Payne 20.5 – If McGuire had needed more than three players that year, this class could have easily become the 3rd best class ever.


R. Wittberger 31.1, Shulz 28.0, Walczak 20.2,Van Vooren 15.5, Gill 11.1 – Put the first piece in place in Shulz that would become the incredible 24-3 Elite 8 team in 1955, as well as setting up to win the National Catholic title with this group.


Wade 50.0, Diener 42.7, Townsend 13.4 – Wade was on campus in 2000, but didn’t start playing until Diener’s first year to form a combo that propelled this class to No. 8 even though Townsend was the only other player of any note.


Mullen 38.7, Gorychka 23.4, Kukla 21.5, Casterton 18.2, Blask 7.4 – Mullen was the first All-American as MU dominated in football and basketball, whipping the Big 10 for two great seasons.

105.5 / est +8 in 2009

James 37.4, McNeal 36.3, Matthews 25.4, Burke 6.3 – If they were done now this would rank as the 9th best recruiting class ever, but with all four having one year left they are sure to move up to the 6th best recruiting class of all time. There is a big gap between that and the 1960 class however, so it would take a big year from Burke and a monster year from at least one of the three Amigos to finish in the Top 5. An Elite 8 run could push their class ranking as high as 3rd best of all time.


Erickson 29.4, Glaser 28.1, Hornak 24.4, Nixon 22.7, Borowski 18.0 – By far the most balanced class, with no superstars but five new excellent players. This class led the MU to a 51-31 mark closing with the NIT, and as soon as they left the 1964 team went 5-21.


Wilson 38.5, Worthen 37.4, Marquardt 23.3, Green 17.7, Shimon 6.0 – I think people forget this class was ranked 10th at the end of 1979 and went 60-27 even if you don’t count their first year together when they still had Whitehead and Lee (24-4)


McIlvaine 41.8, Curry 32.0, Key 31.2, Logterman 18.9 – This class really is amazing when you consider O’Neill inherited a program that had gone 23-33 the two previous seasons without even PLAYING a single ranked team. Certainly it helped to have Tony Smith go All-American his first year and at least get the team back to 15-14, but I view this class as nothing short of amazing and really wonder if the program would have ever come back without it.


Lucas 48.9, Tatum 46.2, Homan 24.8, Neary 9.9, Delsman 9.7 – Can’t get much better than two absolute superstars plus Homan to lead the team to the National Title game – plus the great roll player in Neary who red-shirted 74 and started in 77.


Chones 50, Lackey 38.2, McGuire 33.9, Frazier 23.8 – One of the top 6 catches of all-time was Chones, and with Lackey clearly the best class of all-time. From day 1 together they played exactly 50 games as a group, and went 49-1, only losing 60-59 to Ohio State in the NCAA after OSU got a bye, there was a bench clearing fight, and Meminger fouled out with 5 minutes to go.

I’m sure the first question is how McGuire could only have two of the top 9 classes. The answer is simple, he always had the roster stacked with so many All-Americans and future NBA players that he typically only needed one or two players in each class. Most of the great recruiting class occurred when the cubbard was bare an MU coach went out and landed four or five very good players. McGuire rarely had room for four or five players in a class. If we instead ranked each class based on only the top two recruits, McGuire would have seven of the top 12 recruiting classes of all time. From 1st to 12th place, the top classes based on just the top 2 recruits would be: 1972, 2001, 1970, 1973, 1975, 2005, 1978, 1971, 1990, 1966, 1953 and 1968.

Please do reply if you spot someone you believe I have in the wrong starting year. As I said at the outset, this was not an issue I considered when putting the book together, so I had not done verification on the set of years I had listed for all 669 players. These years look right, and if they are these are the 20 classes that have proved to be the best on the court. Hopefully in a few years we will be verifying that this year’s class was ultimately the best ever!

John Pudner, graduated from Marquette - Jour ’88. Inspired by Cracked Sidewalks, he decided to work with a student to compile every stat on every MU player in history, and has recently completed a book called "Ultimate Hoops Guide – Marquette University", that is being released by College Prowler next month (www.collegeprowler.com/basketball).

John lives in Alabama, but he will be in town during Marquette's Reunion Weekend. He will be hosting a "meet the author" type session at the Ambassador Hotel, Saturday July 26th from 8am-12:30pm. Please rsvp to jpudner@concentricgrasstops.com

I think I heard him say he was buying anyone who shows up, free beer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Warrior Day Golf Outing Update

Don't forget, the 1st Annual Warrior Day Golf Outing will be held on Monday, July 28th at The Bog in Saukville, Wisconsin. There's still time to secure your spot on the course with a number of Marquette basketball greats, and to ante up for one of several worthwhile sponsorship opportunities.

Marquette great Bo Ellis is hosting the event to honor his daughter, Nikki, a 2000 MU graduate who passed away from a rare liver disease called Budd-Chiari. The golf outing in Nikki's memory will benefit the Nicole Ellis Foundation, a 501(C)3 corporation. All proceeds will benefit the American Liver Foundation, Marquette Men's and Women's non-revenue sports, and the proposed Hank Raymonds Educational Center.

C'mon, let's make this first Warrior Day Golf Outing a big success by raising awareness and money for these worthy causes.

For more information, please click this .pdf document link , visit their web site at the Golf Digest Planner, or email the good folks managing this event at nicoleellisfoundation@yahoo.com

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Update: You are to blame

Ok, Tuesday I wrote that I thought MU made a bad decision on adding UW to the 5-pack slate because in the end, Badger fans will buy the package, profit from selling the other 4 games and essentially go to the biggest game of the year for free.

That got Marquette's attention, and I've swapped many emails with the Athletic Department about the issue. The MU/UW game never went on sale to groups, nor individually to the public.

While it is still true a number of Badger fans get their tickets through 5-Packs, MU believes most of the trouble is the Season Ticket Holders themselves.

See, in 2006 each Season Ticket Holder got to buy 10 extra tickets, all in the upper bowl. With where the red invaders were sitting, Marquette contends that the majority of the problem rests with the Season Ticket Holders selling their tickets to our hated rivals.

Additionally, about a fourth of the lower bowl was red, which means Season Ticket Holders are giving their own seats up.

I am dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. Astonished. Horrified.

So I am writing to you, my fellow Season Ticket Holders. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?

For a couple seats, you drop around $1,500 each year, schlep to the Bradley Center in the cold and snow 20 some times. You wait two years for this day, the biggest game of the year in the whole state, and give up your seat to our most hated rival? HAVE YOU NO SOUL?

As for the uppers you are apparently selling .. again. Have you no loyalty? Have you no Marquette friends? I know it's a down economy, but come on. You need money that bad? That you'd sell out your own team?

YOU were the reason we lost in 2006. It wasn't Tim Higgins or Ed Hightower who screwed us. IT WAS YOU. It was the 6k-7k Badger fans YOU let in that screwed up our home court ju-ju. You're like the guy who buzzes the burglar in to the apartment complex.

In 2006, I bought my 10 tickets for Warrior friends, and told them days before: No gold, no ticket on game day.


Oh, and I promise you this. Ever go to FandAFanPhotos.com? We'll be sure to compare some before/after shots and publicly shame lower bowl offenders. (Especially guys named Larry.)

Marquette University, 77002

Since Marquette University has become the collegiate destination of choice for some of the Houston area's best basketball players, we went back to H-Town's resident expert on hoops, Jim Hicks of RCS Sports, to learn more about Junior Cadougan and for an update on fellow MU commit Erik Williams. On his site, Hicks notes that Buzz Williams has "one helluva recruiting class for Marquette who could become the first "out of state college" to land a pair of Top 5 players from Houston High Schools in the same year."

Jim, can you break down Cadougan's game for Marquette fans? He could be the most experienced incoming point guard the school's ever inked, when comparing resumes. Junior is a floor general who is patient and poised and he doesn't get rattled easily. Plus, he's smart enough to know what he can't do on the court.

**Pardon the interruption -- the Big East Basketball Report agrees with Jim's glowing assessment of Cadougan, based on point guard's fine play at Reebok U this week. According to Jeff Borzello, "A really solid all-around player, Cardougan played as if he was still being recruited. Immediately, you notice that he is a leader on the court." Read the full review at the link above.

...now back to the Q/A....

Based on reviews of his game, Cadougan relies on strength to succeed at the high school level. First, is that true. Second, does Cadougan have the requisite speed and quickness to succeed in the Big East?
Let's not forget Christian Life Academy has been by far the most talented prep program in all of Texas each of the past two seasons. It's not like he's toting a program on his back, yet Junior is still a lock to be on RCS Sports' Pre Season All Greater Houston Team.

It takes talent and he has certainly been surrounded by plenty of it. The kid simply relies on one of the fundamentals of basketball - like keeping your body between the ball and defender. Some didn't think DJ Augustine had the speed and quickness to attain the all-Big 12 accolades he earned. Ditto for Nic Wise at Arizona (although he doesn't have the same resume as DJ). Junior will be fine in the Big East.

What are Cadougan's greatest assets as a point guard?
Experience. Not to mention economically, you get the support of an entire country (Canada) along with this kid.

Has Marquette's visibility in the Greater Houston area become more pronounced in the months since Buzz was hired?
No doubt about it! Buzz could have been anywhere in the country to kick off the July live evaluation period, but he was in Houston complete with dip cup in hand watching future prized possession Erik Williams at the Southwest Invitational Camp (directed by John Lucas).

Erik Williams is finally back on the court more than six months after breaking his ankle. How is Williams playing so far this summer?

Based on the bell curve, Erik is about 75% back to his previous rare form. Williams had 19 points in his return to action earlier this week at the 2008 Southwest Invitational Camp.

For more about Erik Williams, check out the Q/A Jim completed with us late last year.

Jim, thanks very much for your time. We'll check in with you again during the season.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Note to MU ticket office: BAD IDEA

Marquette announced their "5-pack" ticket plans today.

BLUE PLAN: Georgetown, Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova and St. John's
GOLD PLAN: Wisconsin, West Virginia, DePaul, Cincinnati and Seton Hall

Notice anything unusual about this scheme? In past years, they've packaged in 1-2 cupcake games with 3-4 solid games in each 5 pack. Not this year. All 10 games are quality Big East games.

As you can see, the hottest ticket of the year, the MU v. UW game, is also in a 5-pack. MU did this 2 years ago, forcing the hated Badger fans into buying 4 unwanted games, so they could get the UW game and befoul our Bradley Center.

What happened two years ago
? Half the upper deck of our Bradley Center was decked out in red. Nothing pisses me off more than having UW (or UL) fans smelling up our home court. -- Oh, and we lost.

What happened later? Those same Badger fans SOLD THEIR TICKETS ON EBAY. And guess what? With auctioning off a couple good BE games, they were able to come out ahead!

This year, the UW package includes 4 high quality games. Guess what? They'll dump those tickets, and actually MAKE money buying this package.

On the other hand .. Two years ago, the demand from MU season ticket holders purchasing extras for friends was enough to sell out the place TWICE. I realize some Season Ticket Holders will commit the sin of buying for their red-devil friends, but the majority will not.

It's not too late, Ticket Office. Change the ticket packages right now, and keep the red out.

I swear to god, let me buy 100 tickets. I will find 100 Warrior fans to sit in those seats, and come back for more.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Junior Cadougan commits to Marquette

As reported first by Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Buzz Williams completed his 2009 freshman class today when highly regarded point guard Junior Cadougan from Humble, TX verbally committed to Marquette University. Cadougan, a 6'1" 195 pound point guard from Humble Christian Academy, committed to MU over Memphis and Wake Forest.

Cadougan, a Canadian native who moved to Houston after his freshman year of high school, was recently named the top playmaker at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and will participate in Reebok U this week in Philadelphia.

Cadougan rounds out a promising 2009 class which includes three RSCI top 100 players, the first at Marquette since the Three Amigos. Cadougan (#70) will be joined by Erik Williams (#78) and Jeronne Maymon (#85) and soon-to-be redshirted Liam McMorrow as freshmen in 2009.

Much more to come on the Cadougan commitment and the early returns on Buzz Williams' fast start on the recruiting trail..........

Friday, July 04, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Commentary: 2009 BE Schedule is favorable to MU

Now that the Big East schedule is out, there has been a flurry of commentary about how brutal MU's schedule will be. There is a certain amount of truth to that--EVERY team in the Big East plays a brutal schedule. The more relevant question is whether the schedule provides any advantage or disadvantage in getting to the 12 to13 wins that will likely be necessary to secure a top four finish and two-round bye in the newly revamped Big East Tournament.

In this light, I believe MU has a very favorable schedule.

The conventional wisdom is that you want your tough games at home--thus, when three of four toughest games--Pitt, UL and ND--are scheduled on the road, it leads to concern about the schedule being too difficult. However, if Pitt, ND and UL are truly top 10 teams, then they would be a tough win even if we played the games at home.

The ideal schedule would put both the easiest and most difficult games on the road, and the most competitive games at home. The logic is that you're more likely to lose some of the tough games anyway and win the easy ones anyway regardless of venue. Home court advantage is wasted on the easiest and most difficult games. Where the home court advantage comes into plays is with the toss-ups.

  • Top Quartile: @UL, @Pitt, @ND, UConn
  • 2nd Quartile (MU in this group): Syracuse, WVU, Georgetown @Georgetown
  • 3rd Quartile: VU, @VU, UC, SHU, @Rutgers
  • Bottom Quartile: Depaul, @Depaul, @USF, @PC, St. Johns.

Now, no road game is a gimme--but I like our chances of winning at Providence and Rutgers a whole lot more than games at Syracuse and WVU.

I think this is a decent schedule--8 of 9 home games are winnable given our home court advantage--most of our home games are against teams that are equal or below our level. On the road, if we can take care of business against PC, Depaul, Rutgers and USF, take one of the other two mirror games, and steal one from ND/Pitt/UL, we'll be at 13 wins, which should put us in the hunt for a double-bye in the BET.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Big East Opponents Announced for 2008-2009

from Marquette University..........

BIG EAST Conference Announces League Matchups for 2008-09

MU to face defending champion Hoyas twice

July 2, 2008

BIG EAST Press Release

MILWAUKEE - The Marquette men's basketball team will face Georgetown, Villanova and DePaul in home-and-home series in 2008-09 BIG EAST Conference play the league office announced Wednesday morning, highlighting the squad's 18-game conference schedule.

The Golden Eagles have learned where they will take on their fellow league programs next season, but the layout of the actual schedule has yet to be determined.

HOME GAMES: Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia.

ROAD GAMES: DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, USF, Villanova.

The upcoming season will mark the second campaign for the 18-game BIG EAST schedule, which features three home-and-home opponents for every school and one matchup against each of the remaining 12 league opponents.

In 2007-08, Marquette's crossover trio of Louisville, Notre Dame and Seton Hall combined to post an overall conference record of 35-19. No other school in the BIG EAST had its three repeat programs reach that win total and MU finished 3-3 in those outings.

2008-09 season tickets start at $180 and will go on sale July 14. Five game mini plans will also be available later in the summer and start at just $45. The five-game mini-plans will include the nine BIG EAST home games and non-conference opponent Wisconsin.
For more information on ticket packages or to contact a ticket representitive, call 414-288-GOMU or go to gomarquette.com/tickets.

Recruiting updates

With Liam McMorrow officially on campus, Buzz Williams and his staff are turning their attention to filling the final slot for the 2009 class and planning ahead for the class of 2010. Here's a series of updates on kids that MU has demonstrated a high level of interest in:

From the class of 2009, Junior Cadougan visited MU last weekend. Cadougan is a 6'1" point guard from Canada by way of Humble, Texas. Reports indicate Cadougan is down to three schools -- MU, Memphis and Wake Forest, and was named the top playmaker at the NBPA camp last month. Cadougan will participate in the prestigious Reebok All-American Camp next week in Philadelphia.

Even with the Dwight Buycks commitment there will be a gaping hole at the point guard position for MU heading into the 2009-2010 season (unless you're impressed with the role players MU currently has in the stable). Filling out the 2009 class with a point guard is the logical choice.

Of course, recruiting can be illogical, and MU is not done recruiting 2009 kids at other positions despite the apparent scholarship logjam and the acute need at the point. Consider:

The moral of the story ...... don't count on verbal commitments and realize that attrition happens.

Oh ...... looking ahead to 2010, The NBE Basketball Report filed a detailed update on Tobias Harris, a 6'8" 215-pound forward from the 2010 class. Harris recently participated in MU's Elite Camp and has or will visit Texas, UCLA, USC, Rutgers, Kansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Louisville and St. John’s.

Nice work as always by the guys at the NBE Basketball Report.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Charm Offensive

After embracing a quiet, guarded public persona during his first few months on the job (which was incredibly refreshing given the media whoring we'd seen in previous years) Buzz Williams is emerging, ever so smartly and measured, in the media. After nearly wrapping up the bulk of what looks to be a solid-to-very-good 2009 recruiting class, and in advance of the vital open recruiting season, Marquette fans (and others) are getting to know their head coach.

First we had the Buzz BBQ, a spectacular success by all accounts. +1

Next we had an article from a media outlet that we're not comfortable mentioning given their bassackwards and unclear demands of new media. Still, Colin Fly is a fine reporter and a few days ago he re-introduced Buzz Williams to the masses on the backs of the program's greatest current strength, the Three Amigos. +1

Now, we have the Holy Grail of sorts--- a big, fat feature on the Marquette program and Buzz Williams on ESPN.com. The Adam Rittenberg article is a home run. Williams is positioned as a decent, down-home fellow who worked his tail off to make his own breaks. More importantly, coach Williams comes across as a player's coach (if there can be such a thing at the college level) and the accolades from Billy Gillispie and Jerel McNeal reaffirm the potential upside of the hire. +1

While the media firehose we'd been drinking from in the past nine years has slowed considerably, one gets the sense that the coverage now is much more about the Marquette program than the coach himself. Blatant self-interest (self promotion?) has its limitations -- and a well executed media strategy on behalf of the basketball program, rather than the coach, is bound to pay dividends.