This is the third match-up of a 16-person bracket looking at the best individual season performances of the last decade. The complete bracket is at the bottom of each match-up. Vote early and share. The more votes, the better.
4. Jerel McNeal (2008-2009) vs. 13. Dominic James (2005-2006)
The case for McNeal: The senior’s Second Team All-American season was slightly overshadowed by the other two of the “Big Three” and Lazar Hayward, but McNeal was superb. He was third in the Big East in points, scoring 20 or more points in 11 of 12 games during one stretch, and played arguably the best defense of anyone in the league. If it weren’t for Luke Harangody, McNeal would have been Big East Player of the Year, and he saved his best performance for last, scoring 30 points in an NCAA Tournament loss to Missouri. He was Marquette’s first All-American since Dwyane Wade, earning Second Team honors. It was also in this season that McNeal passed George Thompson to become the school’s all-time leading scorer.
The case for James: There was plenty of hype for the Three Amigos freshman season and Marquette’s venture into world of Big East basketball. Living up to that hype was a tall task by anyone’s measure, but the diminutive point guard with the giant hops exceeded all expectations. James burst on to the scene averaging 15.5 points, 5.4 assists, 4.5 boards and almost 2 steals a game. His speed and athleticism helped put Marquette on the tube on a nightly basis with highlight-reel dunks becoming the norm. It wasn’t all flash though, James was third in the Big East in assists and was named the Big East Freshman of the Year. Not sold yet? When is the last time a Marquette freshman was legitimately considering entering the draft? Case closed.