Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marquette Preview

The 'Quette comes in with high expectations, mostly because they return their top 7 players from last year. Numerous sources have them ranked in the general vicinity of 12th in the nation. This is a big year for Smiley Tom and his revolving door of assistants as he has yet to prove he can win a NCAA tournament game without Superman (Wade). Will it happen?

DJ Returns - Frankly, Domminic James embarrassed himself during the NBA pre-draft camps last spring. By some accounts, he was the worst player in attendance. Couldn't shoot, pass, or defend. To his credit, he's back at Marquette. He makes the engine go. Honestly though, he might be the most overrated player I've ever watched. When he can hit the 3-ball (which wasn't often last year), he's dangerous. When he's missing his outside stroke, teams sag off making him a non-factor. I compare him to the Bucks Mo Williams: sure, both have good looking numbers on paper but they don't know how to run an offense, control the tempo, or make guys around them better. DJ spent his entire sophomore season showcasing himself for the NBA, and it hurt MU late in the year. If he focus' on winning games at MU and finds his stroke, I'll eat crow.

The "Other" Two - Don't kid yourselves, Jerel McNeal is MU's best player. The Big East defensive player of the year is a lock-down defender who plays both end fearlessly. Seriously, I'd like to see how many non-centers or lightning quick point guards have won this award. His offensive game is unpolished, but gets the job done attacking the basket and offensive glass. Wes Matthews is MU's Swiss Army Knife. He is the jack of all trades, master of none.

Donuts Anyone? - This team is woefully thin in the middle. Ooze Barro has made significant progress since coming to MU (how many big men ever did that?), but MUST stay out of foul trouble. There just aren't enough big guys to go around. Dwight Burke will provide minutes, but isn't much more than JAB - Just A Body. Both are only listed at 6-10 and 6-8, respectively. Never thought I'd say this....I really wish Chris Grimm had another year of eligibility. He was solid at the end of last year…even if it took him 3.5 years to figure it out. Highly touted freshman Trever Mbakwe would have made a difference in the paint, but will miss the year with a blown out knee.

Bombs Away! - With the "Big 3" struggling to provide a consistent 3 point shot, Sophomore David Cubillan and Dan Fitzgerald become the designated 3 point gunners. This is a huge key for MU....they need to stroke it so teams pull out of a zone defense. This opens up penetration for DJ and the rest. Frosh and Co-Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin, Scott Christopherson, would have provided more outside shooting if not for a knee injury requiring him to miss the first few months of the season.

X-Factor - I'm big on Sophomore Lazar Haywood. He showed plenty of glimpses last year of being a stud player, in time. He's like a more physical Wes Matthews. He crashes the O-boards, plays good D, and can hit the 3 a little bit. Development by Lazar would be huge.

Newcomers - Tiny Maurice Acker was a nice pickup for MU. Two years ago he was the MAC Frosh of the year at Ball State. He'll be a nice backup to DJ with his speedy, up tempo style. Putting Acker and DJ on the floor at the same time basically eliminates the threat of the opponent's full court press. Patrick Hazel is another true Frosh expected to contribute.

Outlook - Much is expected of the Gold this year. Don't be surprised with a 2006 Villanova look at some point with basically 4 guards and 1 forward on the floor together. Obviously, this creates big time matchup problems for bigger teams, but also gets exposed by bigger teams (just like 2006 Nova). IF MU can hit the 3 with any semblance of consistency, and IF DJ isn't thinking "NBA" every time down court...look for the Warriors to reach the Sweet 16....not enough big bodies for a Great 8 run.


Train said...

I just wasted 6 seconds of my life just scanning through that drivel.

I don't even know who any of those guys are- except for D. James and I only know who he is because he can jump high.

Brad said...

Sorry there was no mention of big white guys from Randolph or Appleton. That would have held your attention longer. Ha.

Train said...

I would be remiss if I didn't mention I did recognize W. Matthews' name...he's the kid that didn't get along with his dad correct?

sleestak said...

just a body? don't you mean he's just a guy?

Tony said...

First I don’t think anyone who watches this team with any regularity would disagree with you Jerel is the MVP of this team not DJ.

Now that I got that out off my chest lets move on.

Burke is done riding pine, two years ago I had great expectations for him as did the staff, but he had a poor work ethic. Things have changed, he spent the off-season living in the weight room and individual workouts, he will be a contributor this year.

As for the four guard offence I think it is inevitable but they have to be able to hit shots. Also look for MU to go full court using their depth up front to wear down the opponents.

Ous, is great when they feed him the ball in the ally, this is where he has been most dangerous on the offensive end. Defensively he has shown improvements every year, I expect nothing less out of him this year.

Train don’t be turned off by fist impressions, Lazar is a big white guy. He can’t jump over tape and he has the work ethic, the banger mentality and fundamentals of anyone of Bucky’s snowflakes.

Acker played his HS ball with McNeal, and the team loves the spark of energy he brings to the team. He is a leader and don’t be surprised late in the game to see DJ on the bench and Acker and or Cubillan on the court.

That might be my longest post ever and I tried to keep it short, I could go on, but this is getting pretty long winded already. I say this team has Sweet 16 potential and if you can get there then you just hold on and hope you can ride the wave a little further. Should be an interesting year!

Anonymous said...

tony, I hope you were kidding about Lazar.


Tony said...

becasue you show a picture of him flexed up and yealling makes him a leaper? Don't get me wrong the guy can dunk a basketball but he isn't Kenny "Sky" Walker, his game is white. But he will be a factor if this this team is going to go any where they need him to continue to improve like he did last year.

Anonymous said...

no, it means he's black. Lazar in fact can jump over tape. Don't know his vertical, but do remember him throwing down some putbacks.

matt said...

I thought they were the Marquette Gold?

Brad said...

My bad, I called him "Haywood." It should be "Hayward."

Brad said...

Big guys just in there for 5 fouls - Just A Body. I.E. Jake Voskull, Mike Ruffin.

Anonymous said...

Marquette has looked big time mediocre in the first two games against cupcakes. They are overrated and will be unranked and a bubble team by the end of the season.

-Not so anonymous Jake