Author: Dave Klinger (Editor), email@example.com. Photo: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Who will lead Marquette in scoring?
It’s a question that isn’t important as much as it is interesting. Will Duane Wilson, the team’s leading returnee in scoring, default as the new squad’s go-to guy? Or will Henry Ellenson, the prized, freshman power-forward, storm through the Bradley Center gates as the team’s most overwhelming force on the offensive end?
In asking these questions, one must also wonder how the entire ranks of scorers shall unfold as the season develops. Everyone’s scoring output will likely increase; it’s just a matter of how much — or how little — the player’s bucket-getting will jump. Who will lead Marquette in scoring, and which players will follow?
1. Henry Ellenson — (Floor: 13.0 PPG, Ceiling: 17.0 PPG)
Henry Ellenson is going to be a very, very good basketball player. He led the team in scoring on the trip to Italy, and more importantly, he performed at an incredibly high level on many different types of plays. He was persistent under the hoop, he led the fast break, and he showed his ability to hit long-range jumpers. Hank isn’t yet a vocal, on-the-court leader, but he looks as consistent, comfortable and impressive on the floor as anyone in college basketball.
2. Duane Wilson — (Floor: 12.0 PPG, Ceiling: 15.0 PPG)
Duane Wilson, who posted one of the best freshman seasons in Marquette basketball history last year, should benefit from a number of things for the upcoming campaign. A year of experience, a leadership role, and a talented roster place him in a position to improve his production and efficiency. Although Henry Ellenson might be the best option for scoring, it shall be Duane Wilson — the tough, vocal guard — who will command the offense from tipoff to the final buzzer.
3. Luke Fischer — (Floor: 12.0 PPG, Ceiling: 14.0 PPG)
Luke Fischer posted very solid numbers last year despite suffering and playing through a shoulder injury. At full strength on the team’s trip to Italy, he looked even more confident, skilled and powerful on both ends of the floor, especially under the basket.
4. Sandy Cohen — (Floor: 5.0 PPG, Ceiling: 8.0 PPG)
Last season, Cohen played only 15 minutes per game, averaged only 3.8 PPG and ranked in the bottom half of the team in eFG%. However, the team lost six of the ten players on last year’s season-opening roster and gained another six in the process. Cohen is both a returnee and one of the few players on Marquette with college basketball experience. His bigger role will demand more responsibility, and judging from his solid play, quality minutes and starting role in Italy, it is safe to say the coaches trust him to fulfill the requirements.
5. Traci Carter — (Floor: 5.0 PPG, Ceiling: 8.0 PPG)
“The Engine” is a tough point guard who always plays the game at full-speed. This trait allows him to execute some impressive plays, however, it also gets him into some trouble in terms of turnovers and shot-selection. As he outgrows his “rookie mistakes” in his first season, I expect Carter to play as confidently and as intensely as anyone on the floor.
6. Jajuan Johnson — (Floor: 5.0 PPG, Ceiling: 8.0 PPG)
The nationally-ranked prize of the 2013 recruiting class has not risen to expectations in his first two seasons as a Golden Eagle. He shows flashes of speed in transition and in driving to the basket, but his underwhelming defense, questionable basketball instincts and poor shooting hinder him from exploiting the opponent. He worked on his shooting mechanics during the offseason with assistant coach Brett Nelson, and while he seems to be a more efficient scorer, he in return seems uncomfortable with himself on the court. In the most competitive game in Italy, Johnson barely saw the floor and scored one point. Even if Johnson has improved to some degree, it doesn’t seem like the coaches trust him as of now to utilize the new-found skills.
7. Haanif Cheatham — (Floor: 4.0 PPG, Ceiling: 7.0 PPG)
Cheatham, who many expected to play as a “combo guard” or “wing,” will be something like a point guard for the Golden Eagles in the upcoming season. He and Carter are practicing as the primary ball-handlers and Coach Wojo seems committed to this deployment. Although this role limits him in a sense of scoring, it shall garner him a good amount of playing time (and thus opportunity) in his rookie season as a Golden Eagle.
8. Sacar Anim — (Floor: 2.0 PPG, Ceiling: 4.0 PPG)
Anim, an excellent athlete and defender, will be something like a “utility player” for substitutions, energy, and defense. As a guard and forward, he possesses a good foundation of perimeter and inside-the-arc scoring, but his offensive abilities are not yet overwhelming enough to be a consistent threat. He will develop as his career unfolds, and, for now, he will be a good option off the bench.
9. Matt Heldt — (Floor: 2.0 PPG, Ceiling: 4.0 PPG)
Heldt will receive very little time in big-stage games and a lot of garbage minutes in blowout victories. He boasts size and skill, but the team already has Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer under the hoop. I expect him to play hard and flash his all-around skills until he progresses into a bigger role as his career develops.
10. Wally Ellenson — (Floor: 1.0 PPG, Ceiling: 3.0 PPG)
Wally Ellenson doesn’t do much other than look for putbacks, fast breaks and rebounds, and that’s totally okay. His incredible athleticism and unusual instincts will help us in many game situations. Hopefully, he can use them to achieve a spot on SportCenter’s Top Ten Plays.