"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 28, 2008

Sunday Media Updates

Just a few quick media updates for a Sunday

  • Season previews are starting to roll in, and Rivals places Marquette at #20 for the season. The preview is decent enough, and it's always just nice reading about Marquette.
  • BoysHoopScout reports that a 6'9 Serbian big man will visit Marquette Madness. The link is well worth visiting, because there is some great insight about Sasa Borovnjak and Buzz's thoughts on the 2009 class.
  • Speaking of Marquette Madness, Rosiak woke up from his sixteen day slumber (just teasing) to provide some details about the event on his blog. Although practice officially begins 10/17, the event will be Oct. 25 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Al McGuire Center.
  • The wait was well worth it from Rosiak, because he also checks in with a look at Snaer. In case you weren't aware, Marquette was hosting Michael Snaer, who is the #17 RSCI player in their most recent rankings, and he would certainly step in and contribute from day one. My only quibble with Rosiak's report is that he suggests the addition of Snaer could make the 2009 class "perhaps the best class in the country." UNC has TWO commits that are RSCI Top 10, and nobody is catching that class
  • Here are some youtube clips of Snaer (Number One and Number Two)
  • Finally, Rosiak really delivered as well with an interview with Jeronne Maymon. This is another great link to follow to catch up on Maymon. Best part of the article is that he got an "A" and a "B" in summer classes. Keep it up, Jeronne!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chicago Coaches Luncheon Recap

"Whenever the Chicago Luncheon happens you know that basketball is right around the corner."

This was one of the first things that Terri Mitchell said at the Chicago Coaches Luncheon this afternoon, and she happened to repeat it twice. Soon enough, Marquette fans, basketball season will be in full swing. As Coach Mitchell mentioned, one of the first signs of basketball season is the Chicago Coaches Luncheon, and Cracked Sidewalks was there to cover it.

Coach Terri Mitchell

After an introduction and the blessing, Coach Mitchell took the stage. She talked about how last year's team was young, with seven underclassmen on the roster, and how many times the team didn't know how to finish. While not being dismissive of the NCAA, Coach Mitchell was grateful of the opportunity to play (and win) in the NIT. She specifically mentioned how the women's team had a change in mentality in the first game of the NIT against Creighton.

Her team motto for this year is "Winning's fun." Coach Mitchell then spent time talking about the schedule, mentioning a tournament that will happen around Thanksgiving as preparation for the upcoming Big East schedule. Also, as a special bonus.....did-you-know that Krystal Ellis has a chance to be the all-time leading scorer at Marquette for both men and women. Overall, it was nice to hear Coach Mitchell discuss the women's team, because they so often get overlooked (including by us).

Coach Buzz Williams

Coach Buzz Williams then took the stage. He started off by saying that the team had a bad day of focus yesterday, so he stopped practice after only 17 minutes. Practice resumed this morning, and after thirteen minutes, he stopped it again. He said that he would restart practice later today after study hall. Sounds like Coach Williams is laying down the law with his veteran squad. Then, Buzz mentioned that it's his 168th day on the job. While he admitted that even his wife gets on him for being repetitive, Buzz indicated that he does it as a reminder to focus just on today. This is an area that he mentioned several times throughout his talk, involving performance on the court and in the classroom.

Practice officially starts on Ocotober 17. Buzz mentioned he's heard that many of the papers are saying that four of the top 10 teams in the nation play in the Big East. Although he doesn't read the papers, he believes that six of the top ten teams are in the Big East. Buzz was very upfront with recognizing that despite the caliber of the three guards, the team still needs two additional players to contribute as well.

In other news, David Cubillan was cleared to touch the ball (and shoot) for the first time since Buzz has been coach. Coach Williams also discussed that the new guys have "walked into a hornet's nest", in many areas of their transition. Buzz was complimentary of new big man Liam McMorrow and said he would play minutes this year if he was eligible.

The core the team is still going to remain the same. The team will be perimeter focused, with a need to create turnovers and make the game "longer". In a follow-up question later, Buzz mentioned that the team will need to play an unorthodox and unconventional style. I'm honestly not quite sure what he meant by this, but he was specifically referring to the fact that it would be hard for MU to match up with Hasheem Thabeet in a traditional format. Coach Williams also believes that the team will need to create extra shots and speed the game up, but that they can't forfeit rebounding opportunities as a result of faster pace.

Other than that, Buzz was really trying to minimize expectations. He didn't want to discuss any predictions for the season with the team, and said several times that he didn't know how good they would be. His focus was on trying to be better today. Buzz also said that they couldn't talk about recruits.

In the question and answer period, Buzz spent a decent amount of time talking about his coaching staff. He thought there was too much focus on the head coach, and spent a few minutes talking up each coach: Dale Layer (23 years head coach, several pros), Tony Benford (hardest worker and effective recruiter), Aki Collins (recruit where you play), Scott Monarch (industrious ops guy), Brad Autry (first hire and the guy who has to know everything about the players).

Coach Williams also tackled the Trevor Mbakwe question. As has been reported, Buzz found out at 5 pm on a Friday night that Mbakwe wanted out. What was interesting was that Mbakwe told Buzz "his people" thought he should go JuCo. Read into that what you wish, but there was nothing Marquette related associated with the transfer. Buzz felt that he wanted people in the program that wanted to be part of the program. Interesting recruiting note... Buzz doesn't ever mention other programs that might be recruiting a player because he wants players that are interested in Marquette.

One additional question was asked about the turmoil in April and how he managed the transition. Buzz said that his focus was about the eight kids in the program and him. They had twenty-two days for one-on-one time, so the players and Buzz spent a lot of time in the gym and talking in his office. Buzz said that the players were phenomenal in their approach to dealing with the transition.

A Cracked Sidewalks Magnet

Courtesy of an assist from another AD rep (thanks JT), I managed to catch Deputy Athletic Director Mike Broeker and Buzz Williams as they were leaving the event. Mike has been very helpful in previous posts relating to tickets and other items. While it was a little disappointing to find that Coach Williams was unfamiliar with Cracked Sidewalks, it did give me an opportunity to enlighten him. So, Buzz got a special edition Cracked Sidewalks magnet, which I hope made it back to Milwaukee.

Finally, it was a pleasure meeting Stan and his lovely wife... thanks for reading CS and donating to the Al's Run tip jar!

The luncheon was very well put together, and due credit deserves to the Chicago Marquette Alumni Association. As Coach Mitchell said, "basketball is right around the corner".

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marquette and the Summer RSCI

Let me start off by saying "thank you" to everyone that donated to the Al's Run tip jar. It really made me proud to be associated with such a wonderful community that chipped in for a really good cause.

The Summer RSCI Top 100 Rankings have just been released, and there is good news for Marquette fans. All three of the Marquette recruits for 2009 have undergone a decent jump up in rankings.

Junior Cadougan - Ranked 39 (jump of 31 spots)
Erik Williams - Ranked 62 (jump of 16 spots)
Jeronne Maymon - Ranked 68 (jump of 21 spots)

I looked at the Pre-Summer Rankings in a previous MUScoop.com thread. At the time of the pre-summer rankings, Marquette's class ended up about 15th overall among the other basketball programs. In addition, we were only 6th out of all Big East programs. Thanks to the revised rankings for Marquette, where are we now?

Rank College (Points)
1 North Carolina (364)
2 Villanova (218)
3 Arizona (153)
4 Texas (140)
5 Marquette (134)
6 Illinois (128)
7 Georgetown (121)
8 Indiana (108)
9 Georgia Tech (107)
10 Florida (106)
11 NC State (106)
12 Connecticut (105)
13 Louisville (104)
14 UCLA (99)
15 UAB (96)
16 Clemson (91)
17 Oklahoma State (88)
18 Kansas State (85)
19 Duke (82)
20 Minnesota (77)

According to the present RSCI rankings, Marquette has the #5 recruiting class for 2009. We're also now #2 in the Big East, behind Villanova (218), and ahead of Georgetown (121), UConn (105), Louisville (104), Pittsburgh (76), and Rutgers (3).

However, let's add a few caveats. First, this is not the final RSCI ranking so things are going to change. Second, recruiting is constantly in flux and I didn't bother to check every single recruit for every school to make sure the RSCI is accurate. Third, the RSCI ranking method isn't perfect, because it's based on a straight point ranking. I personally think that the method overweights a higher ranking instead of having multiple quality players. Fourth, the RSCI doesn't account for junior college players (like Dwight Buycks). Fifth, the RSCI can occasionally miss players that are diamonds in the rough (like this guy).

How does this class compare to other Marquette recruiting classes? Chicos had put together a nice summary of previous RSCI Rankings for Marquette. It's a little dated for the 2008 class but still shows where other classes ended with rankings. Junior's present ranking of 39, while good, is not the best RSCI ranking for any player. He's second best on the list behind Dominic James at 36. And it appears that this class as presently ranked is second (134 points) to the Three Amigos class (149 points).

How would this class look if Marquette signs another top 100 player for 2009? Based on all of the activity, Buzz is not done recruiting for the 2009 class. What if Marquette is able to sign a player like Michael Snaer (RSCI rank of 17) or Jamil Wilson (RSCI rank of 48)? At that point Marquette would end up with solidly the #3 recruiting class in the nation or possibly even the #2 recruiting class.

Again, there are plenty of caveats, especially since this isn't the final RSCI ranking. Regardless, it's nice to see the numbers provide some justification for what people already suspect... the 2009 class has some talent.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Al's Run Wrap 2008

What a year.  We are really honored by the 90 people who dug into their wallets and donated to Al's Run.

By Friday, I'd moved the goal posts 3 times, and the Marquette Basketball community rose to the occasion every time.  Friday's donations came in so fast, I gave up trying to figure out where to set the goal.

We ended at $4,430 .. more than doubling last year's record.   Amazing!

I filmed a little "Thank you" video that's going to win an Emmy.  (Sound needed)

And here's a great slide-show from the Run. There's a great shot of 17,000 people marching down Wisconsin Ave.:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Last Call for Al's Run. Let's double 2007.

Ok, we've kinda been beating the horse here, so this is it.  Al's Run is tomorrow.  This is the stretch-run.

We hit the $2,000 goal, so we moved it to $2,750.  Then $3,000.  I'm sorry I underestimated your generosity.  Now we're going with $3,280 as our new goal.

Why?  That's exactly double last year's contribution.  Just a few more bucks, and we're there.

Amazing.  I want to thank the SEVENTY-THREE donors to date.  That's just phenomenal.  

Still one more day to hit the tip-cup, whether that's $5 or $50.  Al, Children's Hospital, and Cracked Sidewalks appreciates it!


Hilltopper Challenge .. Double your Dough

We have just 2 days left before Al's Run, to hit our new goal.

Last year .. we did a 1-hour match challenge to spark donations. It worked great.

So I'm putting down $100. Anyone donates over lunch, from 11am-1pm TODAY, I will match up to a total of $100.

So if you want to double your dollars, remember Al, support Marquette, and Cracked Sidewalks, please donate TODAY over your lunch hour!
Takes about 2 minutes .. credit cards accepted, naturally:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Al's Run......and actual updates on the program

There is no truth to the rumor that the Cracked Sidewalks staff is actively refusing to post news and opinion about Marquette hoops until the new stretch goal for Al's Run is met.

Of course, if we could collectively get to that lofty $2,750 donation level, the world would be a better place and kids in need would get even more help through the wonderful programs at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (subliminal message......the tip jar is hungry, very hungry. fill the tip jar and warm your hearts).

OK, back to Marquette basketball.

More on McMorrow
The Toronto Star checks in on the tallest Canadian to ever earn a scholarship at Marquette University, Liam McMorrow. McMorrow will be redshirted this year and retain three years of collegiate eligibility. What an amazing story -- the kid didn't even play hoops two years ago. Luckily for MU, he won't play competitively this year either.

The 'Help Wanted' signs are still out for the program.
Coach Buzz Williams remains active on the recruiting front, apparently set on adding more high-ceiling talent to the roster beginning next season. The prospect generating the greatest interest on the boards of late is 6'4" shooting guard Michael Snaer. Snaer, who hails from California, is one of the top 15 players in the country for the class of 2009, and will visit Milwaukee this weekend.

Snaer is down to Marquette, Missouri, Florida State, UCLA, KU and Stanford. He visited Tallahassee and Columbia earlier this month. (Edit: thanks to BMA725 for his real-time updates.)

In addition to Snaer, Marquette remains involved with a pair of highly sought after big men, seven-foot JUCO center Jerrid Famous and 6'9" Turkish strongman Deniz Kilicli. Famous is hearing from UConn, MU, Mizzou and OkState, while the skilled Kilicli recently fielded an offer from Kentucky. No word on visits from these fellas (or several others, we'd wager) just yet.

How is the team looking?
Todd Rosiak offers candid reviews of a recent open gym session at The Al, and provides good news on the long, slow recovery of David Cubillan.

Finally, congratulations to Joe Krysiak and his bride Pam!
Joe and Pam were married last weekend. Below is a photo from the wedding that includes a few faces you might recognize (left to right: John Wolf, Joe Nethen, Jim McIlvaine, Joe Krysiak, Jeff Zavada, Tommy LaChance)

Finally, legendary basketball coach Al McGuire will be inducted into the inaugural class of the Belmont Abbey College Athletics Hall of Fame on October 2. Coach Al was obviously a no-brainer in the selection process -- just like it should be a no-brainer for everybody to pitch in and help us meet our fundraising target of $2,750 in support of Al's Run. Every little bit helps!

(subliminal message......the tip jar is hungry, very hungry. fill the tip jar and warm your hearts).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wait .. the Germans didn't bomb Pearl Harbor?

Ok, you might have read the post this morning, where I wrote "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO."

I just received this classic piece of email, from a professor at Marquette. I have redacted the name to protect their .. uh .. innocence.

From: Dr xxxxx
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 10:20 AM
To: hilltopper91@gmail.com
Subject: Cracked Sidewalks

Hello! My name is Dr. xxxxx. First off, let me say that I thoroughly enjoy Cracked Sidewalks, and the terrific job you do with the site.

I am writing regarding your post today regarding Al’s Run. It’s fantastic that the contributions keep rolling in, but I just thought you might want to let your readers know that you were joking when you said the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor – that job was done of course by the Japanese.

Your writing is usually so good that I assume you were joking with that wording, but you didn’t really make that clear to the readers.

Again, thanks for a great and informative site – keep up the good work, and we will see you at the games!


Dr. xxxxx
Marquette University

Moving the goal posts!

It's been a FANTASTIC week for Al's Run.

8 days ago, we started at zero, and with some fantastic support from the Marquette Basketball community, we've smashed last year's record of $1650, and broke right on through the goal of $2,000 this year.

Hmm. What to do with the next 5 days? Should we sit on our butts waiting for Al's Run to start? Is that what the Americans did when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO.

So .. while I'm thrilled, through the support of so many, including a big donation from Sir Larry to push us over the original goal .. let's move the goal posts.

How about $2,750.   5 days to go!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Video: Buzz talks Schedule

Last week, Dennis Krause (Time Warner Sports Channel 32) interviewed Coach Buzz on MU's schedule for 2008-09.

I've uploaded the video for you out of staters.

Oh, and while you enjoy this video .. think about dropping something in the Al's Run tip cup. $19.77, perhaps? Yesterday was Al's Birthday, and you haven't gotten anything for him yet.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Al.

Today is Al McGuire's birthday.

You know what he would have wanted?

A donation to Al's Run.

How about $19.77 ? Or maybe $76.77 ? $67.59? Or how about 295.80?

Click here, and plop down a few bucks, your annual homage to our patron saint. Al would want you to: http://www.firstgiving.com/MarquetteFans

So far, 36 hours in, we're off to a fast start, but have a ways to go.

Also .. if you are feeling rich .. last year, we had some great success with 1-hour match-offs. Tell me your maximum "match" and I'll post it .. all the pledges we get in that hour, you match. Even a $100 match works well. Worked like a charm, to double your money. (Email: Hilltopper91@gmail.com)

It's time to cowboy up.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Al's Run .. gentlemen, I want my two dollars. No, make that 5.

It's that time again.

Al's Run is right around the corner, two weeks from Saturday.

Last year was a huge success, as Marquette Basketball fans raised $1,645 for the cause. We've been raising money for three years running, setting a new record each year.

This year? We're gunning for $2,000. Our traffic has nearly doubled since last year (a coaching change will do that for you) and we're going to capitalize on that.

Hell, we added Henry Sugar to the team, and he's gotta be worth an extra $500 by himself.

We don't sell you stuff here, we don't even show you advertisements, we just give you pure Marquette Basketball goodness.

All we ask for is a few bucks every year, for Al's Run.

So do us a solid, and pony up a few bucks, put a little something something in the tip jar. It all goes to a great cause, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Sure, some will pledge $25, $50 .. but imagine if all our loyal readers gave FIVE measily bucks? Bingo, that's $10k.

So, click here, whip our your credit card and pay your respects to Al, and Marquette: http://www.firstgiving.com/MarquetteFans\

UDPATE: WOW. One hour, and we're 10% of the way to our goal. Keep it going!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

MU Releases Schedule

Here it is, Warrior Fans:


Colorado State-Pueblo Sun. 11/8 1:00 (exhibition)
Houston Baptist Sat. 11/14  7:30
Chciago State Tues. 11/17  7:00
UWM 11/22 Sat. 7:30
Texas Southern Tues. 11/25 7:00
Northern Iowa Fri. 11/28 7:30 Chicago
Dayton Sat. 11/29 7:00 Chicago


Central Michigan Tues.12/2 7:00
Wisconsin Sat. 12/6 8:30
IPFW Sat. 12/13 1:00
Tennessee  Tues. 12/16 8:30 Nashville
Western Carolina Fri. 12/19 7:30
@ NC State Mon. 12/22  6:00
Presbyterian Sat. 12/28 1:00


Villanova 1/1 1:30
Cincinnati 1/4 TBA
@ Rutgers 1/7 TBA
West Virginia 1/10 TBA
@ Providence 1/17 TBA
DePaul 1/24 1:00
@ Notre Dame 1/26 6:00
Georgetown 1/31 TBA


@ Depaul 2/3 TBA
@ South Florida 2/6 TBA
@ Villanova 2/9 6:30
St. John's 2/14 TBA
Seton Hall 2/17 TBA
@ Georgetown 2/21  11AM
UConn 2/25 6:00


@ Louisville 3/1 11AM
@ Pittsburgh 3/4 6:30
Syracuse 3/7 TBA

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Media updates

Its media update time........Canada's National Post offers a glimpse into the difficult circumstances that MU recruit Junior Cadougan escaped when his mother decided to send him to the United States to complete his high school education. Count your blessings, wow.

Also, the curious adventures of Trevor Mbakwe continue. The former Warrior is presently enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College. Although Mbakwe sparked the second greatest thread in MUScoop history, (this thread is the greatest), we're just not sure what to say about the Mbakwe situation. Probably best to leave it alone, or talk about it here on MUScoop. Still, best of luck to Trevor.

John Pudner's triumphant entry into the brave world of publishing continues to draw attention. Today, the Journal-Sentinel's Bob Wolfley takes the time to offer a synopsis of the new book, “Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University.” Good stuff; buy the book here. In related news, two of the three entries from Wolfley's column were covered initially in the blogosphere. Just sayin'.

Also, if you're a Marquette student, the MU hoops team is hosting walk-on tryouts. Make sure you have proof of insurance if you want to be the next Tommy Brice or Robert Frozena, or even the incomparable Ben Peavy. If you're 6'8"+, that probably helps too.

Finally, the pre-season Rivals Marquette Team Report is up. It's always just nice to read extra information about Marquette -- this one is essentially recaps the program from April 1 until now. Of course, there are just a couple inaccuracies in their report. See if you can find them all, or just check here for the answer key.

**Thanks to Henry Sugar for his contributions to this post.
**Edit: Maybe we should have read the Rivals report more thoroughly. :)