Five Point Play V2, The Freshman Edition

Which freshman is most “Big East-ready” to contribute immediately?

Andrei Greska, Marquette TribuneDerrick Wilson. Ironically, I think he has the lowest ceiling of all the freshmen, but his football playing background means he has

Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

the body to withstand the pounding that comes with playing in the Big East. Juan Anderson is simply too skinny at this point and Todd Mayo needs more strength. Being the only pure point guard other than Junior Cadougan, Wilson will be relied on the most of any of the freshmen.

Cracked Sidewalks: None of them, which is good since there will be very few minutes for any of these freshmen to take on a consistent basis this year. Realize that each freshman will be an understudy to a roster of proven, veteran players. Todd Mayo – meetDJO and Vander Blue.  Derrick Wilson – meet Junior Cadougan.  Juan Anderson – meet Jamil WilsonJae Crowder and Jamail Jones.  Marquette is deep and experienced this year.  Moreover, it is quite possible that no coach in the Big East plays his freshmen less than Buzz Williams so don’t expect much from this bunch early in their careers.

Michael Wottreng, Marquette Radio: It has to be Derrick Wilson.  He is the only member of the class that has strength to handle the beating his body will take during Big East play.  He is known for his toughness and aggressiveness.  When you think of a guard in the Big East, his picture should be shown next to that definition.

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: Right now it’s Derrick Wilson, in limited fashion. Buzz Williams typically has not used his freshmen much, with the exception of Vander Blue last season, and this year will be no different. Wilson’s body-type will help him in the physical Big East, and he seems to be a smart enough player to make things happen, but I see him having the same impact Reggie Smith had last season before he transferred to UNLV (9.9 minutes, 1.4 points per game).

Alex Jesswein, Without having seen him play, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Todd Mayo will make the biggest impact of the group. I think he can come in and provide a nice scoring punch off the bench.  I think we will see quite a few three-guard lineups this year so Mayo should have the opportunity to prove himself.

True or false: Todd Mayo will average more than 5.0 points per game this season.

Andrei Greska, Marquette Tribune: False. Mayo won’t get the minutes needed to put up 5 points-per-game with DJO and Blue handling the bulk of the shooting guard

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duties. I’m not sure he can handle the point and know he is too small for the three-spot, so his playing time will be cut much too short to put up those stats. Remember, for all the monster games Davante Gardner had, he only averaged 4.6 points.

Cracked Sidewalks: False. I’m very intrigued by Mayo, more so than any other freshman on the roster.  With Darius Johnson-Odom and Vander Blue already commanding most of the minutes at the two-guard slot (not to mention minutes in any three-guard attack), Mayo’s contributions this year should be marginal. That said, if Mayo is an efficient scorer he could battle his way into the rotation given the limited offensive repertoire of both Blue and Cadougan.  Let’s face it, when DJO sits the Marquette backcourt is offensively bankrupt.

Michael Wottreng, Marquette Radio: False. The only reason I say this is because I don’t know if he is going to find time on the floor.  Buzz preaches defense and every scouting report on Mayo is that he needs to work on his defense.  There is no question that he can fill it up offensively, but I would not be surprised if Mayo redshirted this year. Then again I wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged double digits.

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: True. From what we have seen on a limited scale (YouTube videos, scouting reports), Mayo’s offense will be good enough to break the rotation in 2011. A year ago, Marquette’s offense fell into lulls at times without a scoring threat off the bench, and Mayo can be that player to provide the punch in 2011-’12. He will need to prove his worth on the defensive end, but his ability to shoot outside and take it to the rim with either hand will be too much to keep him off the floor. Five points per game seems just right for Mayo.

Alex Jesswein, True.  It will be awfully close but as seen in the post above I think he will be the second guard off the bench, after Blue.  Mayo may not be a great shooter, but he has a knack for scoring the basketball and, just as important, he will have the opportunity to do so.

Is Derrick Wilson a viable option to back up Junior Cadougan at the point?

Andrei Greska, Marquette Tribune: Yes. He seems to be a player in the Cadougan mold where he might not outrun you, but will out-muscle opponents and get to the hoop. I don’t see him getting more than the 10 minutes a game Reggie Smith was getting before his transfer, though. He won’t be called upon to score, just to take care of the ball and pass it to a scorer.

Cracked Sidewalks: Within this freshman class, Wilson has the clearest path to playing time.  Cadougan will not be a 38 minute per game point guard, and Wilson will surely have a shot to grab 5-10 minutes per game early in the season.  He’s apparently a smart, physical player but, given Buzz Williams’ preference for upperclassmen, I have modest expectations about Williams’ ability to contribute consistently.

Michael Wottreng, Marquette Radio: Wilson can step in and be a leader, and I don’t think he is going to be intimidated by anyone he faces.  He may not play like a true point guard, but I think he will be a great compliment to Cadougan.   If Wilson can drive as well as advertised, then he is going to make the other players on the floor better and give Cadougan much needed rest.

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: Right now? No. It’s a tall order to ask a freshman to join a consensus top-25 team and log minutes just because the depth chart worked out that way. His progress will be interesting to watch, but it’s scary to think about the point guard position for the Golden Eagles right now. Wilson undoubtedly has the talent, but whether that makes him “viable” is another question. Hopefully Blue and Johnson-Odom can log decent minutes at point guard early in the season.

Alex Jesswein, At this point I think Wilson might be the only viable option.  No one outside of Cadougan has experience playing the point guard position and Wilson comes in as a true point.  Wilson certainly appears to have a college-ready body so he should be able to hold up through the rigors of the season.  I don’t think he will play big minutes but he will certainly get some time at point guard.

True or false: Juan Anderson will play more than sophomore Jamail Jones this season.

Andrei Greska, Marquette Tribune: False. When you see these players stand side by side you’ll see exactly what I mean. Both are perimeter-oriented players but Jones has the size to be more of the switchable-type Buzz Williams reveres. He is a two or three with the capacity to defend a four on certain possessions. Anderson is much more fun to watch but doesn’t suit Buzz’s system quite as well as Jones does at the moment.

Cracked Sidewalks: True. Anderson figures to be a more versatile player than Jones was as a freshman.  In addition, the ticket for Jones’ success is his long-range jumper which just wasn’t there as a freshman.  Anderson should bring a broader initial skill set to the roster.  However, with Jones, Jamil Wilson, Jae Crowder and perhaps Vander Blue all taking turns on the wing, earning the right to play consistently will be a challenge for the Californian.

Michael Wottreng, Marquette Radio: Buzz always gives the benefit of the doubt to an older player.  Jones played sparingly last season, but when he was on the court he looked like he knew what he was doing.  Jones could be the breakout player on this roster.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Buzz Williams used Anderson at the four some this year to get him on the floor.

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: True. This could potentially be an interesting “position battle” to watch as both fight for a spot in the rotation. Anderson’s skill set is unlike anything Marquette has on its roster right now, but Jones has a year of experience under his belt. In the end, it will come down to who can contribute the most, and Anderson’s in-your-face defense, ball handling and smooth passing will win out by season’s end.

Alex Jesswein, False. As we saw with Jones last year, it takes some time to learn the system.  Anderson comes in with a lot of talent but also needs to learn what it takes to play at the Division I level. He needs to build up his strength to play at the Big East level.  Jones has been around the program for a year and has a better idea of what that means.  I’m not sure either guy plays a ton but if it comes down to the two, Jones might get the nod.

Which freshman has the biggest upside, and how high is that upside?

Andrei Greska, Marquette Tribune: Juan Anderson. He has a point-guard mentality and the type of floor vision that can’t be taught. On top of that he is long and uber athletic. Once he finds a consistent perimeter jump shot and spends a summer with Todd Smith, Marquette’s head strenght and conditioning coach, watch out. Anderson was born to ball. How high will that take him? It’s so difficult to predict, but I believe he can be a second round NBA pick.

Cracked Sidewalks: Juan Anderson. He is the quintessential Buzz Williams recruit.  He’s a 6-foot-6 switchable who was arguably under-recruited and under-appreciated as a prep.  With four years to develop in a system that is optimized for rangy wing players, I expect Anderson to differentiate himself from his peers year to year.

Michael Wottreng, Marquette Radio: Juan Anderson is everything Buzz wants in a player.  The biggest knock on him is he needs to add strength.  He needs to prove he can consistently make his jump shot.  In terms of pure skill, he is the best player on the roster other than DJO.  Once he tunes all aspects of his game, he will be the face of the Golden Eagles and could see his name called in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: Todd Mayo. It’s tempting to go with Anderson, but Mayo already has the “tougher” attributes down. He was a phenomenal scorer in high school in a tough-as-nails conference, he seems to have a knowledge of the game and defense is more about willpower than anything, which means that will be up to him on how good he can be. With Johnson-Odom leaving next year, the door is wide open for Mayo to be a three-year starter, and a darn good one at that.

Alex Jesswein, Out of the three freshmen, Juan Anderson has the biggest upside of the group.  He is a big (6-foot-6) and skilled wing who can play multiple positions on the court.  His dribbling and passing ability could definitely make him a tough matchup off the bounce.  The things he needs to improve on are his strength and long-range shooting abilities.

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