Buzz Williams and Marquette have one open scholarship remaining for both the 2012 and 2013 classes, and have reportedly shown interest in two intriguing players who could add a significant boost to the roster.
Virginia Tech forward Dorian Finney-Smith announced Wednesday morning he would transfer after one season with the Hokies. Seth Greenberg was fired two weeks ago and was replaced by former Virginia Tech assistant James Johnson. But Finney-Smith claims his decision had been “brewing for months,” but wanted to wait until exams were over to announce his decision.
Matthew Hatfield of VirginiaPreps.com said Florida and Marquette were two early schools that had interest in Finney-Smith.
A highly-touted recruit, the 6-foot-8 Finney-Smith was ranked as the 31st best prospect in the 2011 class by Rivals.com, and ESPN.com ranked the Portsmouth, Va. prospect 18th best in the nation.
He didn’t disappoint in his freshman season. Logging 29 minutes per game, Finney-Smith averaged 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in addition to 1.9 assists and 0.7 blocks per game.
His raw, 192-pound frame showed at times, as he made just 33.5 percent of his shots inside the arc. Forced to play inside, Finney-Smith struggled inside, but showed plenty of promise. he scored 17 points in a Feb. 12 win over Boston College, and secured 12 rebounds in an overtime loss to Duke on Feb. 25.
He seemed to pick up steam as the season ended, connecting on 10 3-pointers and 8.3 points in Virginia Tech’s final seven games. Finney-Smith was selected to the ACC’s all-freshman team, along with Duke’s Austin Rivers.
It’s obvious why Williams is interested in Finney-Smith.
His inside-out game would fit in perfectly in Marquette’s system, and with a transfer year to sit out, head strength and conditioning coach Todd Smith could help Finney-Smith put on weight and add muscle.
In 2013-’14, when Finney-Smith would potentially hit the floor, forward Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner would both be seniors, and incoming wing Trent Lockett would be gone.
Two years learning under Wilson, who Finney-Smith projects similar to, he would be able to step into a starting role his junior and senior seasons.
The talent is there, and Williams could have his next exciting project in Finney-Smith, if he ultimately chooses the Golden Eagles.
Another transfer Marquette has shown interest in is Wisconsin redshirt freshman Jarrod Uthoff. After a roller coaster of a process to ultimately secure his release and lift restrictions on future schools, Uthoff reportedly will visit the Marquette campus sometime this week.
A year ago, Uthoff was ranked as the 90th overall prospect by ESPN.com, and 149th overall in the 2011 class by Rivals.com.
One of the Cedar Rapids, Ia. native’s biggest strengths out of high school was his ability to run the floor. Uthoff said one of the reasons he decided to transfer was that he did not fit in Wisconsin’s offense, which has little fast break to it, if at all.
Uthoff’s athleticism is a question in terms of how it would fit in with Marquette, but he seems to hit the glass well and can shoot from outside as well.
At just 200 pounds, Uthoff could put on weight to improve his post play, but his role most likely would be from the 3-point line, with above-average defense and as a trailer on the fast break.
Of the two, Finney-Smith would be the bigger get for Williams. 2012 walk-on Jake Thomas could see the court this fall, allowing Marquette to take a transfer.
Williams remains active in recruiting the 2012 class, and there are other high school senior options, but these two transfers are legitimate options for filling Marquette’s final scholarship this upcoming season.