#52 Marquette: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #52
Conference Rank: #8 Big East Conference
2009-10: 22-12, 11-7
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Buzz Williams (47-21 at Marquette, 61-38 overall)
Coach Buzz Williams did an amazing job getting Marquette back to the NCAA Tournament after losing so much talent from the 2008-2009 squad. Once again, the Golden Eagles lose a trio of quality players, most notably Lazar Hayward. Coach Williams has another talented group of freshmen headed to Milwaukee and if he could get Marquette to the NCAA Tournament last year, he can do it again this year.
Key Losses: G Maurice Acker, G David Cubillan, F Lazar Hayward
Vander Blue is the key to this recruiting class. The 6-4, 190 pound point guard is an explosive athlete who can beat just about anybody with his first step to the basket. He may not be a great scorer right away, but if he can create opportunities for his teammates and keep the turnovers down, there is a starting job waiting for him. Reggie Smith, another point guard, may be asked to fill in some minutes off the bench. The wings get some big time talent with the addition of Jamail Jones and some experience with Jae Crowder. At 6-6 and 210 pounds, Jones can play either forward position in this offense and that versatility will be very important for a team that needs help on the glass. Crowder is equally adept at playing either forward position and the reigning Junior College Player of the Year should be a huge asset right away. Davante Gardner has the size this team desperately needs, but he may need some time to adjust to the level of play in the Big East.
Replacing Maurice Acker and David Cubillan will not be easy. Those two really stepped up their game during their senior seasons and were a huge part of Marquette’s success. The good news is Darius Johnson-Odom and Dwight Buycks have some starting experience and more than enough talent to pick up the scoring load. Johnson-Odom is already a proven scorer after averaging 13.0 points last season. Johnson-Odom is a superb three-point shooter and connected on an impressive 47.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Buycks is not as prolific of a shooter or scorer, but he does have more size and can help what will be an undersized team on the glass. Junior Cadougan missed most of last season due to an injury and was the expected replacement at point guard for Acker. If he can stay healthy, he and Blue will be a dynamic point guard duo.
As tough as it may be to replace Acker and Cubillan, it will be even tougher to replace Lazar Hayward. The undersized forward led the team with 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds last year and nobody could find a way to stop him. Unfortunately for Marquette, nobody can replace him either. The options are 6-7 senior Joseph Fulce and 6-11 sophomore Chris Otule. This is a team that is used to playing small, but Hayward played a lot bigger than he really was. Fulce and Otule have more size, but neither of them are dynamic scorers who can stretch out the defense like Hayward. Otule has the most potential after missing nearly all of last season with an injury, but he better be able to hit the glass hard.
Who to Watch:
Jimmy Butler’s ability to rebound allowed Marquette to continue to play small. He will still be a solid rebounder, but without Hayward, rebounding will be a big problem. However, Butler is coming off of a season in which he averaged 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds and he is the big man, at least big by Marquette standards, who will stretch out the defense with his outside shooting ability.
This is a group that has more questions than answers. At least last season Hayward and Acker were an experienced inside-outside duo that the Golden Eagles could build around. Now there inside-outside duo is an inexperienced point guard and a center that has yet to prove anything. The rest of the probable starters are experienced players, but without an interior scoring threat and an experienced point guard, Marquette could need some time before they reach their full potential. Yet, when they do…watch out.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Vander Blue, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Darius Johnson-Odom, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg
Dwight Buycks, Senior, Guard, 6.3 ppg
Jimmy Butler, Senior, Forward, 14.7 ppg
Chris Otule, Sophomore, Center, 3.7 ppg
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