In last week’s breakdown of Marquette’s 2013 recruiting class, shooting guard was the position deemed most important to rounding out Buzz Williams’ class. Vander Blue and Todd Mayo will give Marquette a formidable duo on the wing, and incoming freshman Jamal Ferguson is an athletic project with a high ceiling.
But past those three, Williams has little on the outside. He has his switchables who can play the perimeter, and 2013 point guard Duane Wilson can play off-the-ball if need be, but the roster next year stands to be as short on guards as any team in his five years. That’s not to say the 2013 team doesn’t have enough depth in the back court, but Williams is all but set everywhere else.
It’s also worth noting Williams has signed a shooting guard in each of his Marquette recruiting classes, with the exception of his first recruiting class when he had Dominic James, Wes Matthews and Jerel McNeal returning as seniors. That 2008 class was built rather quickly, and Williams was dealing with balancing out an unbalanced roster.
And while Marquette plays its recruiting close to the vest, with names such as Davante Gardner and Todd Mayo coming out of nowhere, a handful of shooting guards have publicly been linked to Marquette in the past month (Note: There are of course more, but these are recent mentions). It’s no secret that Williams and assistants Issac Chew and Brad Autry are looking into bringing a shooting guard on board. Here they are:
— Kendrick Nunn (6-foot-1, Simeon Career Academy)
ESPN: 4-star, No. 56 overall
Rivals: 4-star, No. 37 overall
Scout: 4-star, No. 54 overall
Schools: Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Ohio State, UCLA
Analysis: Simeon’s shooting guard trimmed his list earlier this month, and Williams and Chew are hard after the undersized combo guard. Nunn has said Illinois is recruiting him the hardest, and the Ohio State offer came late in the process, but Chew’s father, Melvin, has been vocal about how Marquette would be a good fit for his son, and part of Kendrick is looking for an up-tempo offense. He’s an excellent slasher with solid range from beyond the arc, and he comes from a winning program, Simeon, that brought in Steve Taylor in the 2012 class.
— Ron Patterson (6-foot-2, Brewster Academy)
ESPN: 3-star, No. 143 overall
Rivals: 3-star, No. 131 overall
Schools: Ball State, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Dayton, Illinois, IUPUI, Kansas State, Kent State, Marquette, Missouri, Nevada, Providence, Virginia Tech, Xavier
Analysis: Patterson was released from Indiana after not qualifying for the school’s, not the NCAA’s, academic standards, and is reclassifying to the 2013 class after a year at Brewster Prep School. An elite defender,
— Darin Johnson (6-foot-4, Sheldon H.S., Calif.)
ESPN: 2-star, No. 54 shooting guard
Rivals: Not Ranked
Scout: 4-star, No. 83
Schools: Marquette, Oregon, Oregon State, San Diego State, Southern Cal, Texas A&M, Washington
Analysis: Johnson is on record as saying he has a good relationship with the Marquette coaching staff, and the appeal of playing in the Big East is enticing. The 6-foot-4 slasher has excellent size that he uses in the lane, and he is still coming into his own from the perimeter. Still, his Big East-ready body and quickness have high-major schools looking at him. He has a Sept. 20 visit to Milwaukee lined up, eight days after the Marquette staff will travel to Sacramento for an in-home visit. It may be tough to pry him from the West coast, but Marquette seems highly interested.
— JaJuan Johnson (6-foot-4, Southwind H.S., Tenn.)
ESPN: 4-star, No. 61 overall
Rivals: 4-star, No. 45 overall
Scout: 4-star, No. 31 overall
Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Miami (FL), Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech, ; Interest from Georgetown and Kentucky
Analysis: The cousin of Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Lou Williams, JaJuan is just scratching the surface of his full potential. Built similarly to Marquette freshman Jamal Ferguson, Johnson has plenty of athleticism and a solid outside game, but is still rounding out as a complete player. Louisville is his top school as of his latest interview, and he hopes Duke or North Carolina will enter the picture at some point. He has said he’s’ looking for an up-tempo style, so Marquette certainly fits the bill in that sense.
— Jordan Mathews (Santa Monica H.S., Calif.)
ESPN: 3-star, No. 31 shooting guard
Rivals: 4-star, No. 97 overall
Schools: California , Connecticut, LMU, Gonzaga, Marquette, UTEP, Wake Forest, others
Analysis: ESPN’s latest analysis of Mathews, in 2011, pegged him as a future point guard. But at 6-foot-3, Mathews looks awfully comfortable shooting from the outside. Marquette was the latest school to offer, extending a scholarship two weeks ago, and he will be in attendance at Marquette Madness on Oct. 12. His recruitment has picked up lately, and he will not make a decision until the spring, but he’s a name to keep an eye on if Williams does not sign a shooting guard in November.
— Dondre Alexander (6-foot-3, West H.S., Iowa)
ESPN: Not Ranked
Rivals: Not Ranked
Scout: Not Ranked
Schools: Bradley, Louisville, Marquette, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Wisconsin
Analysis: A wide receiver being recruited by Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, Alexander has a decision to make between football and basketball. The 6-foot-3 guard is leaning toward hoops, where Bradley and Marquette have shown the most interest. Alexander has a polished mid-range game and seems to enjoy having the ball in his hands when looking to score, both similar traits to Darius Johnson-Odom. He isn’t highly touted, perhaps because he had been focused on football until recently, but interest from high-major schools (Wisconsin, Louisville) is picking up.