Before the 2012 season begins, Paint Touches will look at how Buzz Williams and Marquette can finish their 2013 recruiting class. As it stands, Marquette has one open scholarship for the class. If Chris Otule does not return for a sixth season, Marquette would have two open spots. Todd Mayo appears to have done enough to be reinstated, but the fact that at least one player has transferred in each of Williams’ five seasons as head coach, multiple scholarships may still be available even if Otule does return.
Talk to this point on how Marquette can round out their 2013 class has orbited around whether or not Chris Otule returns for a redshirt sixth season. He should be eligible, but both Otule and the Marquette coaching staff must agree to it. Much will depend on whether or not Otule desires to play a sixth year, or if Marquette feels he can be an asset on a surgically repaired knee.
Should Otule return for a sixth season, Marquette’s defense would see a major boost. When healthy, and at this point that’s a question mark with his knee, Otule is as good an inside defender as there is in the Big East. His rebounding numbers may not compare to that of a Fab Melo or Henry Sims, and may never, but there’s something to be said for Otule’s inside presence and shot-blocking capabilities.
Marquette stands to have plenty of offense in 2013, so Otule’s niche seems to be carved out for the next two seasons. That, and Davante Gardner is as good a complement as there could be for Otule.
The 6-foot-8 power forward is fully recovered from a knee injury that hobbled him midway through the Big East season last year, and his stats through two seasons (56.1 and 57.6 field goal percentages, respectively) have been impressive, and much of it has come as the third option on offense. Gardner could easily be the No. 1 option by 2013, and whether or not he extends his range to 15 feet would be an added bonus.
Then there’s junior college forward Jameel McKay. The 6-foot-9 forward will arrive at Marquette with two years of eligibility, and will be a focal point of the offense from day one. Whether he starts is another question, as Otule, Gardner and Jamil Wilson all have legitimate cases to be in the lineup, but McKay will play. And what that means is Marquette will have four players taller than 6-foot-8 in their rotation in 2013 (Steve Taylor included).
McKay helps in that he can play the perimeter as a “switchable,” although his size may force him inside more often than not to help with Marquette’s lack of it in the paint.
Buzz Williams won’t need any size for the 2013 season, but recruiting a big in the class would ready them for 2014, when only McKay and Taylor remain. In that scenario, another junior college transfer might even make sense. Any college coach is willing to take as many “bigs” as possible, and while Williams’ recruiting classes have centered on guards and switchables, it’s only a matter of time before he hauls in a top-50 post player as well.