"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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Future looks fantastic as MU subs drub UNC starters for 8+ minutes

Since 1994, only five Marquette seniors have finished their careers with a Sweet 16 appearance; Robert Jackson (2003), Jimmy Butler, Dwight Buycks, Joe Fulce and Robert Frozena. Congrats guys! We knew it would end at some point, but not only do you leave with this great accomplishment but having successfully passed the baton to set up what could be a deep run next year ...

With 17 minutes to go in the game and UNC cruising to their 20th win in the last 22 tries with a 14-3 edge in turnovers, Buzz went to the bench.

For the next 8:30, Marquette fans got a glimpse of just how good this team will be next year as MU subs (who will all be back next year) dominated the UNC starters:

Subs 25-10 runFGFTAst.Reb.Stl.TOPts.
Vander Blue, Fr.0 of 12 for 200102
Junior Cadougan, So.1 of 14 of 421006
Jae Crowder, Jr.3 of 60 of 003016
Davante Gardner, Fr.3 of 31 of 102007
Starters2 of 20 of 002104
MU totals for 8 min.+9 of 137 of 7282125
UNC totals same 8 min+3 of 134 of 6060310

Vander Blue's defense was fantastic, including following a Jimmy Butler score by stealing the ball and going to the hoop to draw a foul. He swished both free throws to make it a 4-0 run in 5 seconds.

Junior Cadougan simply cut off the turnovers and added two beautiful assists and added a jumper and two drives to the hoop that resulted in four of four from the line.

Davante Gardner, the star of the entire game with a near dominant 16-point performance, hit all three of his shots during the stretch.

MU actually would have started the stretch with a 15-0 run except for two calls against Jae Crowder, first a technical after he pulled consecutive offensive rebounds away from taller UNC players to put in a shot, and another call for a "bump" right after MU stole a pass and had a path for a breakaway.

Seniors end on Sweet 16 and give others key experience
The key to the job Jimmy Butler, Dwight Buycks, Joe Fulce and Robert Frozena (nice trey to end your career!) did with the Sweet 16 run is prepare an MU team that is loaded to go further next year.

Tonight we started to see the huge jump good freshman usually make after one year with he play of Blue, Gardner and Cadougan (I know, technically a sophomore due to those 14 minutes I am really regretting from last year). With the point guard question looking solved tonight (Cadougan) and the potential to finally have a dominant inside scorer (Gardner) and the incredible leap 5-star sophomores usually take for their second season, the potential for Crowder to be a go-to leader of a very special team next year.

I've said this whole season - this year a bid and a tourney win to get the team experience for next year was the key. To get a taste of the Sweet 16 is way beyond what was needed to set up a deep run next year.

Now to the four that were so dominant today, MU also returns:

Darius Johnson-Odom (Jr.), who may be a preseason 1st team All-Big East player after going 2nd team this year.

Chris Otule (So.) and Erik Williams (So.), who have finally given MU a true front line that can block and alter shots.

Jamail Jones (Fr.), who is projected to be our best NBA prospect and gives us another 6-foot-6 inside/outside threat.

Dave Singleton (Jr., 6-4 guard) and Jamil Wilson (So., 6-7 4-star) who have been able to practice with the team all year while redshirting, making a smooth transition likely that could prevent some of the inconsistencies this year from not having played together.

And to that MU is going to add:

Going coast-to-coast to get two of the top swing men in the country in Virginia's Jamal Ferguson (6-4) and the top rated small forward in the west in Juan Anderson (recruited at 6-foot-6 but reportedly has grown a few inches since then - wow our line could actually look imposing).

The brother of one of the best players in the NBA in guard Todd Mayo.

Another point guard so tough he had Division 1 football offers as well in Derrick Wilson.

As one of only 12 programs to make the NCAA the past six years in a row, MU has now broken into the second weekend a year before it appeared they would be ready. Great job, and 2012 could be even more fun.

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