"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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Buzz unmatched in turning non-prospects into NBA players, and now 8 of current players/signees are top 100 recruits

In just two years Marquette has had three players drafted who were not ranked in the RSCI top 200 out of high school.  The fact that Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom have all achieved this under Buzz Williams is simply unparalleled and can let Marquette tell recruits that no other program TURNS PLAYERS INTO NBA PROSPECTS better than Marquette.

I posted a more in depth piece on the math here, but here is the math for the players who have come and gone at Marquette since the RSCI ratings started in 1998.

RSCI rankRSCI of ex-MU players%NBALikely NBAActual NBAMade NBA/Did not
1 to 900.8800 
10 to 3000.4500 
31 to 4010.220.220None / James
41 to 7060.150.93Diener, Novak, Matthews / McNeal, Maymon, J.Jones
71 to 10040.10.40None / Mason, E.Williams, Merritt, Mbakwe
101 to 14060.080.482Wade, Hayward / Howard, Bell, Henry, Bradley
141 to 20010.030.030None / Blankson
NR360.010.363Butler, Crowder, DJO /33
Total54 2.398

Dominic James is MUs highest recruit WHO HAS FINISHED PLAYING since RSCI started, but only 22% of players ranked between 31st and 40th like James was make the NBA.

Marquette has had six players ranked 41st to 70th, and normally only 15% of them are drafted, so you would expect just one of the six to have been drafted.  If we fudge a little to count Wesley Matthews, then he joins Travis Diener and Steve Novak to give MU three produced.  Jerel McNeal almost gave MU an amazing 4 of 6, and actually Jeronne Maymon and Jamail Jones could still make it, but since they have left MU I count them as gone.

MUs success continues to grow as both Dwyane Wade and Lazar Hayward were in the 101st to 140th spots that usually only gives you an 8% chance to make it, so on average you have less than a 50/50 to get an NBA player out of six players in this category, and MU is way ahead of the curve with two - one of them still being the 3rd best player in the NBA according to ESPN/Hollinger.  So let's give Tom Crean credit for finding or developing diamonds in the rough.

However, I'm pretty sure that statistically there is no coach in the nation nearly as good as Buzz Williams has been at turning players into NBA players over the past few years.  In addition to the huge jump Matthews took in his one year with Buzz at the helm, with only 1% of non-RSCI players making the draft, a team with 36 such players would normally not have even one make the NBA - but certainly not three.  And when you consider that these three were actually in just two years, I almost doubt any coach has EVER turned three non-top 200 players into NBA players in just two drafts.

Add it all up, and based on the recruits MU has had since 1998, you would expect MU to have produced 2.39 NBA players and instead MU has produced 8.

Current Roster and Recruits

Now let's look at where the current roster ranked on the same table:

RSCI rankRSCI of current%NBALikely NBACurrent & Recruits
1 to 900.880None
10 to 3010.450.45Blue
31 to 4000.220None
41 to 7040.150.6J. Wilson, Cadougan (2014 Du. Wilson, Burton)
71 to 10030.10.3Lockett, Anderson, S. Taylor
101 to 14010.080.08Ferguson
141 to 20010.030.03D. Wilson
NR50.010.05Otule, Gardner, Thomas, Mayo (2014 McKay)
Total15 1.51

Vander Blue is MUs highest RSCI player ever, squeezing into the second category at 30th - where almost half of players have been drafted.  Blue is not projected to be drafted now, BUT the new piece on Wages of Wins shows any NBA Scout watching that players improve dramatically each year until they are 25.  At the beginning of this month, Blue was still 19 and Crowder was 21 - both very young for a sophomore and senior respectively.  As a rising sophomore, Todd Mayo turned 21 in March.

So while players normally make their biggest jump after their sophomore, based on age it could still be coming this year for Blue.

Not only does MU have it's highest RSCI recruit ever in Blue with two years of eligibility left, but of the 19 RSCI top 100 players MU has signed in 16 years, an amazing 8 are either on the MU team now or have signed.  MU has put together top 25 teams with rosters that were not Top 25 rosters by finding diamonds and coaching them up.  Now MU has crafted a true top 10 roster moving forward, and if Buzz can coach up high 4-star players the way he has coached up 3-stars and low 4-stars, the future could truly be bright.

Then you start to look down to the bottom of the table and see players like Gardner who could be All-Big East and McKay who could follow in Crowder's footsteps as JUCO player of the year, and a 2014 run looks realistic.

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