Author: Dave Klinger (Editor), firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s the amount of points that Marquette averaged per game last season.
It’s also, however, the percentage of those points it lost from roster turnover.
Seventy-two percent of seventy-two is fifty-two, the total amount of points that this season’s team faces the issue of replacing. It’s not an issue of “how,” but “who,” as the squad enters the season with more talent, chemistry, and leadership than last year’s team ever possessed, which was the favorite to win the conference against a much more talented group of opponents. Whether this season’s squad surprises or not will ultimately depend on the performances of the players, which is the reason we annually write a preview on our candidates to shoulder the scoring load. And speaking of surprise, it’s no jaw-dropper to see who’s perched atop the list.
1. Deonte Burton (16.7 PPG ceiling — 14.0 PPG floor)
Buzz Williams wasn’t crossing his fingers when he said that Deonte could end his career as “the best player he’s ever coached.” (And if he was, it was about the idea of coaching him until the end of his career, not a knock on his talent). Burton, more or less commonly known as #BANE, has frequently drawn comparisons to former Marquette standout Lazar Hayward, due to their powerful, athletic frames, versatility in and around the paint, and thunderous dunks similar to those below.
Burton not only performed at a more efficient and productive level than Hayward did during his first year, but did so while averaging four less minutes per game. Although Hayward’s freshman-to-sophomore year scoring only (and we use “only” loosely) jumped from 6.6 points per game to 12.8, he shared an offense with Jerel McNeal, Dominic James, and Wes Matthews, who all ended their respective careers in the top ten of Marquette’s all-time scoring list. Burton, however, has an expectation to contribute in a leading role this season, and considering his many talents (and dunks like the one above), it’s a safe bet that he fulfills it.
2. Jajuan Johnson (13.0 PPG ceiling — 11.2 PPG floor)
Although Johnson received only 13.5 minutes per game last season, he flashed his athleticism and shooting ability on offense in a countless amount of instances, previewing for fans his undoubtedly bright future at Marquette. As the highest-ranked prospect in Buzz Williams’ 2013 recruiting class, “JJJ” is expected to produce on the offensive end at a superior level, and at least compete on defense, since that weakness granted him a warm seat on the bench in his only year under Coach Buzz.
3. Duane Wilson (12.0 PPG ceiling — 8.5 PPG floor)
Duane Wilson may possess similar offensive talent compared to Johnson, but considering that 1) it will be his first year experiencing college basketball games, 2) he shares the backcourt with seniors Matt Carlino and Derrick Wilson, Johnson, and sophomore John Dawson, and 3) he’ll utilize his passing ability more often than other guards, his scoring output could vary from game to game. He’ll provide leadership and produce in multiple categories, but considering those listed asterisks, it’s hard to picture him leading our team in scoring on a consistent basis.
4. Matt Carlino (11.0 PPG ceiling — 9.0 PPG floor)
He can score, pass, rebound, steal the rock, and sink threes at a prolific rate — so why were BYU fans, well, for lack of a better phrase, not unhappy when Carlino announced his departure from the Cougars? It’s an issue of efficiency versus production. For example: Jamil Wilson finished last season with averages of 11.7 points and 5.9 rebounds, so why did Marquette fans sigh with relief after his graduation? Wilson’s poor efficiency, whether encompassed in his subpar shooting percentages or tendency to foul, undoubtedly hurt rather than helped the team, despite his above-average production. A gut call says that Wojciechowski and his new, offense-oriented style of coaching won’t let Carlino shoot at the rate he did at Brigham Young, especially if his decision-making hasn’t improved, so one may expect slightly increased efficiency and slightly reduced production. Some might argue that he could thrive in the new environment, but after maintaining almost identical numbers for the past three years, it doesn’t seem like Carlino’s due for any radical changes in his statistical output. Hopefully, a new scenery and a more disciplined culture keeps Carlino from hurting in disguise of helping.
5. Steve Taylor (10.0 PPG ceiling — 6.0 PPG floor)
Which Taylor will Marquette fans witness this season? The uber-efficient, smooth-steppin’ power forward with potential from two years ago, or the defensively-challenged, possibly-injured hack who endured such a frustrating season it nearly caused him to transfer? Before answering that question, I must state that I believe 1) Taylor was physically handicapped in some way last season, as his quickness and footwork seemed to have vanished, despite his claims of healthiness, and 2) his horrendous, recreational-league defense rightfully pinned him to the bench. Considering that he’s undergone a full offseason and head coaching change since last season ended, I assume that Taylor is reenergized and as healthy as can be, and hopefully disciplined and conditioned enough to compete on defense. If so, expect double-digit point totals in his best performances and anywhere from 6 points to 12 in most matches, and even more so, expect his rebounding totals to exceed or trail closely behind his scoring output. If Taylor’s not healthy, then “Blame Bucky,” as a wise man (Marquette Nation) once said.
6. Luke Fischer (9.0 PPG ceiling — 7.5 PPG floor)
Fischer hasn’t played a full season of college basketball yet, let alone a healthy one, but he has enough college level experience to impact Marquette’s frontcourt starting with his first eligible game, a mid-December home match against Arizona State. A four-star recruit upon graduating Germantown High School in Wisconsin, Fischer possesses the athleticism to average up to 6 rebounds and 1-point-something blocks per game, and boasts enough savviness under the hoop to post double-digit scoring numbers (although, double-digit numbers closer to 10 than 20) at some point in his career. One should caution themselves in expecting gaudy numbers in Fischer’s first season with the Golden Eagles, but combining talent and minutes usually results in some form of positive contribution, so it’s safe to assume he’ll score, rebound, and block enough shots to satisfy Marquette’s fan base, and even more so later in his career.
7. Derrick Wilson (7.2 PPG ceiling — 5.5 PPG floor)
Besides writing a phenomenal blog for GoMarquette.com (which now continues throughout the rest of the offseason!), Derrick charted some 20,000 shots during summer workouts and has progressed notably due to shooting programs implemented by the new staff, according to assistant coach Brett Nelson, who’s quoted below (via Paint Touches).
“You take a guy like Derrick Wilson, he really committed himself. He’s never shot like that in his life, taken that many shots and worked on his game. That can only help him and build confidence. He’s not the only guy, but just an example.”
From the bleachers, Derrick Wilson has always seemed to be a motivated, hard-working player, and I have no doubt whatsoever that he’s bought into the new shooting program and worked ’til his tail fell off. But basketball players have a historical tendency to stay more or less the same as their careers drag on, and although his efficiency will likely increase with less minutes and little-to-no dependence on his performance (the polar opposite of last season), I can’t imagine him even surpassing eight points per game, especially with the amount of talent the backcourt possesses for this upcoming season.
8. John Dawson (5.2 PPG ceiling — 3.0 PPG floor)
Dawson is positioned to produce more than he did last year due to slightly increased minutes, but I doubt he tops 5 points per game with Duane Wilson, Jajuan Johnson, Derrick Wilson, and Matt Carlino ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s more talented than the casual fan would assume him to be, however, and better days could be approaching sooner or later in his career — it just doesn’t seem to be in this upcoming season.
9. Juan Anderson (4.0 PPG ceiling — 3.0 PPG floor)
Never change, Juan. Wait, do we even need to tell you that?
His role change to the perimeter last season was either nonexistent or a downright blunder, since his shooting percentages only plummeted even further down towards Derrick Wilson-esque territory. Rebounding and leadership will once again be demanded of the former four-star recruit in his last season as a Golden Eagle, so expect his on-court impact to be made in categories other than points (and also expect those statistics to be recorded in garbage minutes).
10. Sandy Cohen (??? ceiling — ??? floor)
You wouldn’t know Cohen was on the team if you hadn’t followed him since his commitment in July of 2013. No pictures or quotes from summer workouts. Completely MIA. Does Sandy Cohen exist? AMBER ALERT: FIND SANDY COHEN BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE (too late = Buzz kidnapped and dragged him to Blacksburg).
On a more serious note, Cohen could impact the team on a sporadic basis with his shooting ability, court vision, and athleticism. He should develop into a phenomenal player, but he doesn’t project to take a contributing role during his first season.
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