Marquette putting emphasis on recruiting big

The past two seasons Buzz Williams has been given the task of replacing All-Big East guards Darius Johnson-Odom and Vander Blue, and he accomplished that feat in his 2013 class. Five-star shooting guard Jajuan Johnson and combo guard Duane Wilson–both incoming freshmen–will log significant minutes next season and beyond, and junior Todd Mayo has performed well in his first two seasons, relative to his three-star, unranked position as a prep recruit.

But as Williams continues to transform Marquette’s roster–and, really, the makeup of a traditional Golden Eagles lineup–he will be forced to replace both centers, Chris Otule and Davante Gardner, following the 2013-14 season. Williams has been spoiled the last three seasons–sans the second half of the 2011-12 season, when Otule played just eight games before tearing his ACL–with one of the nation’s best one-two punches in the middle, but it will leave a massive hole in the rotation when the 2014 team takes the court next November.

Junior-college forward Jameel McKay may see some time in the middle this season, and in 2014 he may be forced into a role similar to what Jamil Wilson saw two seasons ago after Otule went down, as a switchable playing center in an uptempo offense.

Williams is aware of what’s in front of him, and there isn’t a more persistent head coach on the recruiting trail. This past weekend he and the Marquette coaching staff offered scholarships to a pair of 2015 centers in Chris Egi and Stephen Zimmerman. Shooting guard remains a priority in the 2014 and 2015 class to help replace Blue and, eventually, Mayo. But the list of centers with offers from Marquette continues to increase, and that list is comprised of some of the most talented centers in the respective classes.

Playing time will be ample in 2014 and in 2015, when McKay finishes up his eligibility, meaning Marquette has reason to pursue such talented and highly ranked centers–the best of the best rarely commit to a school to sit their freshman season, and Marquette will use any of the players below early and often in their careers, should they choose Marquette.

2014 targets

– Martinas Geben (6-foot-9, 235 lbs., Hagerstown, Md.)
ESPN: NR; Rivals: NR ; Scout: NR

Listed schools: Villanova, Maryland, Notre Dame, Marquette (offered in May), St. Joe’s, Temple, Xavier, Towson, Virginia, Dayton, American, Loyola (MD), Bucknell, George Mason, Fairfield, George Washington, James Madison

Analysis: Academics are important and will be the main factor in his decision // is a fantastic rebounder for his size, averaging 12 boards per game last season // says he is more comfortable playing in half-court sets than uptempo // the Lithuanian native came to the United States after his freshman season

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– Tory Miller (6-foot-8, 250 lbs., New Hampton Prep, Mo.)
ESPN: 3-star, Not ranked (NR); Rivals: 3-star, NR; Scout: NR

Listed schools: Arkansas, California, Colorado State, Creighton, Marquette (offered in January), Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Providence, Tennessee

Analysis: Well-built center strong around the rim // reclassified to the 2014 class // per Scout.com, is active on the glass and excels shooting right hooks // a pure back-to-the-basket center with plenty of upside // working through an ACL injury he suffered as a freshman // has solid hands and feet //

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– Quadri Moore (6-foot-9, 225 lbs., Linden, N.J.)
ESPN: 4-star, no. 83; Rivals: 4-star, no. 80; Scout: 4-star, no. 71

Listed schools: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Florida, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Tulsa, Wake Forest

Analysis: Says Cincinnati, Marquette, Rutgets, Seton Hall and Wake Forest are the schools he “talks to the most” // a late bloomer, Moore says range out to the 3-point line // Has great hands and touch inside, while also showing the versatility to use his dribble to move about the paint // conditioning must improve, but he has worked to get down in weight // will take official visits toward the end of summer

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– Goodluck Okobonoh (6-foot-9, Wilbraham and Monson Academy, Mass.)
ESPN: 5-star, no. 19; Rivals: 4-star, no. 34; Scout: 4-star, no. 37

Listed schools: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Indiana, Kentucky, Marquette (offered in January), Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, NC State, Pittsburgh, Providence, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Tennessee

Analysis: Describes himself as an “animal” inside, which is accurate // is beginning to hone in his game to become more of a basketball player than just a shot-blocking athlete // played two seasons ago with Nerlens Noel // is intrigued by the interest Duke is showing, and spoke highly of the coaching staff // is looking to add a jump shot to his game, which will allow him to play more outside the paint

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– Sean O’Mara (6-foot-8, 220 lbs., Benet Academy, Ill.)
ESPN: 4-star, NR; Rivals: 3-star, no. 119; Scout: NR

Listed schools: Boston College, Dayton, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Marquette (offered July 2012), Xavier

Analysis: Mid-major talent with high-major upside // a physical post presence who does a solid job defending inside // back-to-the-basket center with solid offensive post moves // athleticism is a question // solid basketball IQ and is a terrific passer out of the post // has visited Boston College and Xavier, unofficially, most recently

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– Myles Turner (7-feet, 225 lbs., Trinity, Tex.)
ESPN: 5-star, no. 10; Rivals: 4-star, no. 78; Scout: 5-star, NR

Listed schools: Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Marquette, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA

Analysis: Has more or less exploded onto the scene in the past few months // one of the class’ best shot blockers and has incredible length that make him a stellar defender // still working on refining his post game, but has the ability to shoot from the perimeter // Buzz Williams watched him play in Dallas this summer while recruiting 2015 PG Nick Noskowiak // Turner is in no rush to make a decision

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– Johnathon Wilkins (6-foot-10, 210 lbs., La Lumiere School, Ind.)
ESPN: 3-star, NR; Rivals: 3-star, NR; Scout: 3-star, NR

Listed schools: Auburn, Bradley, Dayton, Marquette (offered in February), Massachusetts, Miami (FL), Michigan State, Purdue, VCU, Villanova, Xavier

Analysis: Lefty has a wiry frame but plenty athleticism to boot // moves inside the paint well, allowing drivers to slash with will and find him for open layups // contests shots at the rim // will need to put on muscle the summer before he begins his collegiate play // transferring from La Lumiere

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2015 targets

– Chris Egi (6-foot-9, 210 lbs., St. Andrew’s College, Canada)(offered June 15, 2013)
ESPN: NR; Rivals: 4-star, no. 48 ; Scout: NR

Listed schools: Harvard, Illinois, Marquette (offered June 15), Northwestern, Stanford

Analysis: Explosive leaper who plays above the rim on both ends of the court // Has a solid frame for his height, but could tack on a few more pounds of muscle // an intelligent student off the court, Egi plays with a similar smartness on the court // does not have much of an outside game or handle, but runs the court well for a big

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– Henry Ellenson (6-foot-9, 250 lbs., Rice Lake, Wisc.)
ESPN: 4-star, no. 29; Rivals: 4-star, no. 29 ; Scout: NR

Listed schools: Baylor, Boston College, Creighton, Georgetown, Iowa State, Marquette (offered April 2012), Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin

Analysis: An outstanding pick-and-roll/pop player who is tough enough to battle inside yet has a soft touch on perimeter jump shots // a solid rebounder but must prove he can guard more athletic/longer forwards and centers in the paint // plays excellent in transition and has a good feel for where he is on the court at all times //

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– Diamond Stone (6-foot-10, 250 lbs., Dominican H.S., Wisc.)
ESPN: 5-star, no. 4; Rivals: 5-star, no. 4 ; Scout: 5-star, no. 1

Listed schools: Marquette (offered April 2012), Wisconsin, Cal-Poly, DePaul, Texas A&M, UCLA, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgetown, Indiana, USC, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Tulsa, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland

Analysis: Has a 7-foot-3 wingspan and may not be done growing // Marquette remains in a very good position // Marquette freshman Duane Wilson and Stone are very close, won two state titles together at Dominican // strong around the rim, and has shown some range from 15 feet // a natural winner who has gained experience playing for national USA teams // is in no rush to make a decision

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– Stephen Zimmerman (7-foot, 215 lbs., Bishop Gorman H.S., Nev.)
ESPN: 5-star, no. 7; Rivals: 5-star, no. 2 ; Scout: 5-star, no. 5

Listed schools: Marquette, Oregon, UCLA, UNLV, Connecticut, Arizona, Oregon State, UTEP, Tennessee, Baylor, USC, Florida State, Auburn, Notre Dame, Kansas, Michigan, Memphis, Kentucky

Analysis: Dominated the recent NBPA Top 100 camp // is being recruited by just about every blue-blood school, and picked up a Kentucky offer earlier this afternoon // has a very thin frame, but still has two years to play in high school so it’s not much of an issue // a program’s recent successes with bigs will factor into his decision // very smooth around the rim, also has pivot moves to create space rather than dunking/shooting over small defenders // lefty has decent touch out to 15 feet, and is an above-average ball handler for his size

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5 Comments on “Marquette putting emphasis on recruiting big”

  1. Bob McKenna
    June 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Is Kevon Looney out of the picture now?

    • June 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

      Unfortunately, yes. I can’t understand why the school in his hometown, with a great program, doesn’t even make his final 8 schools. Makes no sense

    • Chris Columbo
      June 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      He has a an over inflated sense of his own value. Let him sit on the bench a few years somewhere else and then come home a little more humble

  2. June 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Great recap

  3. John Mazos
    June 18, 2013 at 1:31 am #

    he’s a shithead that’s why

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