Five Point Play V18: Position-by-position

Marquette reached the 20-win mark under Buzz Williams on Monday for the fourth time in as many seasons and will look to add another tally in the win column on Saturday afternoon against Cincinnati.

But instead of breaking down the Bearcats, we decided this week to use each question and gear it toward each position on the court. As always, feel free to comment on anything you agree or disagree with, or just want to chime in on.

1. Should Junior Cadougan look to shoot more often?

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: Yes. Here are some numbers to crunch: In games where Cadougan attempts six or more shots (12 times), he is averaging 9.0 points on 44 percent shooting and 6.0 assists. In Big East play (5 times), he is averaging 8.0 points on 40 percent shooting and 6.2 assists. Cadougan is really beginning to assert himself without Davante Gardner and showing he is more than just a pretty passer. He is certainly a pass-first point guard, which has been beneficial to Marquette’s offense, but Cadougan should look to spread his wings more and be assertive going to the basket and on perimeter shots. Don’t play out of the offensive system by any means, but show off what you’ve got, Dougie!

Anonymous Eagle: It shouldn’t be his focus. When Cadougan’s capable of throwing passes like the bounce pass to Jae Crowder on the break against DePaul, he should focus on being one of the four best assist men in the Big East. But should he be willing to shoot more? If he feels like he has an advantage on his defender, he should use it. Junior’s shown a strong ability to finish at the rim.

Mike Nelson, Paint Touches: Cadougan shouldn’t look to necessarily shoot more, but he should certainly look to penetrate the lane more often. DJO is the only Golden Eagle who consistently penetrates the lane with success. Todd Mayo and Vander Blue do from time-to-time but neither has been successful as of late. When Cadougan does it, he’s typically efficient, but he often seems too focused on distributing the ball than creating for himself.

Alex Jesswein, Marquette Hoops: No.  He should continue to pick his spots, just as he has the last couple games.  As long as he is able to keep the defense honest, that’s all Marquette really needs from him scoring-wise.  His main role in the offense is to control tempo and find Johnson-Odom, Crowder, etc. without turning over the ball.

Mike Singer, CBS Sports: Junior Cadougan is playing his role perfectly now. He doesn’t need to shoot more especially with Wilson coming into his own offensively. When teams throw a zone at Marquette, Cadougan has shown an ability to penetrate into the lane, and then find a cutting Wilson or Blue along the baseline. He’s also an effective shooter when he can step into his shot. Although, if shooting more means more dunk attempts, then go for it.

2. Can Darius Johnson-Odom continue his torrid pace from beyond the arc?

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: His Big East numbers are ridiculous (2.8 3’s per game at a 41 percent clip) and I believe he can keep both numbers where they are. Buzz Williams said it earlier in the year and it was seen after he kept Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder on the court following the DePaul game: seniors need to get “it” as their collegiate careers are winding down. Johnson-Odom is doing exactly that (Crowder, too) and it could pay huge dividends by season’s end.

Anonymous Eagle: Absolutely, but it’s not up to him. He was able to shoot 47% behind the arc in his sophomore year, so it’s just a matter of enough other guys being enough of a distraction for defenses to allow Johnson-Odom to be open to shoot.

Mike Nelson, Paint Touches: Why not? I understand as the season progresses that players get tired. But it’s not like DJO hasn’t shot well from deep for long stretches or in the clutch during his Marquette career. As a sophomore he hit 47.4 percent from deep. In the final four games of that season (at the NCAA Tournament and Big East Championship tournament) he hit 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from deep and 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) during the Big East and NCAA tournament last season. This is his senior year. He’s got it.

Alex Jesswein, Marquette Hoops: Yes. Johnson-Odom has proven to be an elite shooter in his career at Marquette, despite the rough start he had last season.  While teams continue to key in on Johnson-Odom (as they should) Marquette still has enough weapons to create open looks for him.  Look for him to continue to be among the Big East leaders in both three pointers made and three point percent.

Mike Singer, CBS Sports: I believe Johnson-Odom can. Prior to Notre Dame, he had averaged 3 3-pointers over his last 10 games. Of the next 3 games – Cincinnati, UCONN, Rutgers – none of these teams are rated higher than 7th in the Big East in 3-point defense according to Kenpom. DJO doesn’t force his 3’s and it’s because of how lethal his first step is, that defenders are forced to sag off of him, creating space.

3. Are Todd Mayo’s days of being an impact freshman over?

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: His early scoring numbers probably hyped him in a bit too much, but his impact is still being seen on the defensive end. Mayo was given the task of shutting down DePaul’s Jamee Crockett after he scored eight of DePaul’s first 14 points on Monday, and he played great. He is a perfect fit for Marquette’s offensive style and can catch fire as fast as anyone on Marquette not nicknamed DJO, but his calling card down the stretch will be defensive, and he will perform.

Anonymous Eagle: Buzz seems insistent that Mayo is defending exactly the way he wants him to, so the answer to the question is probably no, they’re not over. It might not be important because we might not ever remember him making an impact in a noticeable way.

Mike Nelson, Paint Touches: He still gives Marquette good minutes off the bench as a defender, but the offensive firepower people came to know and love has been dowsed with water. He’s scored 16 points in the past five games (3.2 points per game). If Jamil Wilson continues to do what he’s doing offensively and Davante comes back continuing to do what he did before his injury then it is not a dire concern.

Alex Jesswein, Marquette Hoops: No. The explanation for Todd Mayo’s last few games is the classic case of a guy hitting the “freshman wall.” Combined with the recent emergence of Vander Blue’s offensive game, it’s been hard for Mayo to find his niche in the offense. Looking down the stretch, Mayo will be a critical piece to the Golden Eagles puzzle and I’d imagine we will see him rebound from this slump.

Mike Singer, CBS Sports: I think Mayo has definitely hit a wall, like most freshmen do. His last 5 games he hasn’t played more than 20 minutes. The last time he played that little was in mid-December vs. LSU. While his struggles absolutely coincide with his decreased minutes, I think Buzz is giving the freshman some rest before the Big East tournament and the NCAA Tournament, when confidence is a premium. Many people raved that he didn’t act like a freshman, and I expect him to rebound from a tough stretch. The team will rely on Mayo to defend come March.

4. If the season ended today, is Jae Crowder a first team All-Big East player? A first team All Defensive player?

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: Absolutely. Hopefully the voters use some subjectively when they vote, because Crowder’s performance following injuries to Chris Otule and Davante Gardner has been unbelievable. If they don’t, then Crowder’s numbers still speak volumes. He is one of the most efficient offensive players in the COUNTRY and is second in the Big East in steals. Playing alongside Johnson-Odom will hurt his cause but Crowder has been superb in 2011-’12. As for the All Defensive team, his rebounding numbers are good and his aforementioned steals are outstanding, and he has picked up some blocks. But as of today I don’t think he’s a first team All Defensive member.

Anonymous Eagle: Yes, yes, and you could make a solid argument that he’s the Defensive Player of the Year. In conference games only, Crowder is 2nd in steals by just a tenth of a steal, 11th in rebounds, 14th in blocks. And he’s a 6’6″ forward! Going back to the First Team nod, anyone who’s watching any amount of Marquette games can tell that Marquette flows better when Jae Crowder is on the floor. Combine what your eyes tell you with how dominant Crowder is on the stat sheet, and you can’t leave him off the First Team.

Mike Nelson, Paint Touches: Crowder should be both, but whether he is remains to be seen. Crowder is top-10 in scoring (16.0 per game) and rebounding (7.6 per game). If his defensive performance doesn’t get him onto the All-Big East First Team, barring a massive drop in his performance, then voters need to have their credentials rescinded. As for the defensive team, it is a warranted accolade but it won’t upset me as much if he doesn’t garner that.

Alex Jesswein, Marquette Hoops: Yes and Yes.  Crowder is the epitome of a guy that is jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none.  He amongst the best in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks and he plays on a winning team.  Without his versatility, Marquette would be in a real hole so his value is unquestioned.  Looking at stats alone, there’s no doubt Crowder is amongst the top defenders, as he ranks second in steals, 14th in blocks and 4th in defensive rebounds.  Consider he has to guard much bigger post players (and much smaller guards at times) and I’d have a hard time saying he’s not one of the five best.

Mike Singer, CBS Sports: If the season ended today, Jae Crowder would be absolutely be on the first Big East defensive team. His 2.3 spg are pretty absurd for a non-guard and he also chips in a block a game. Not to mention that he often plays undersized in the paint, and Crowder is a near lock.  The Big East first team is also a possibility but not necessarily a certainty. He’d be competing with West Virginia’s Kevin Jones and Seton Hall’s Herb Pope for one of the big men spots. I think Jones gets the nod and then voters may take into account Seton Hall’s vs. Marquette’s success. Crowder seems to have a decent shot.

5. How will minutes shake out between Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson when Gardner returns from his knee injury?

Mark Strotman, Marquette Tribune: This could be Buzz Williams’ biggest coaching decisions of the year. Jamil Wilson has proven himself to be a legitimate presence on the defensive end and his scoring numbers are on the rise. At the same time, Davante Gardner is Davante Gardner. He needs to play. It might be wise to have Gardner come off the bench like he did to begin the year. Overall, I expect to see Wilson’s numbers trend toward 21 to 23 minutes per game, with Gardner seeing around 27 minutes. Give Crowder 30 minutes and you have your 80 minutes between the two forward spots.

Anonymous Eagle: Gardner will play as much as he is capable of, whether that means how close to 100% he is, how many fouls he has, or how well he’s playing on defense. I think that Gardner will return to the starting lineup when he’s ready to go, but we may be seeing more of Wilson in crunch time.

Mike Nelson, Paint Touches: If Jamil continues to produce offense the way he has recently then he will see more minutes than Davante because his defensive abilities tower over Davante’s. Davante will obviously still play significant minutes, but unless Marquette’s battling an opposition with a bulkier interior where Davante’s suited to battle then expect more Jamil.

Alex Jesswein, Marquette Hoops: It depends on how healthy Gardner is when he returns.  If he is 100 percent, I think the minutes will be similar to how they were prior to the injury where we saw a lot of offense/defense subbing between the two.  Depending on matchups we could see more three forward lineups as well.  If Gardner is not 100 percent, Wilson will undoubtedly see a lion’s share of the minutes with more of Gardner’s contributions coming on the offensive end.

Mike Singer, CBS Sports: I think each will average around 25 minutes per game once Gardner returns from injury. Gardner isn’t as effective when he’s pushed more than that and if Wilson and Crowder can produce like they did at DePaul, Marquette actually has 3 very capable “bigs” even though only one of them (Gardner) is technically a “big.”  I think more importantly than minutes, it lets the players play their natural positions with Gardner down low, and Wilson on the wing, where he has said he’s more comfortable.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Five Point Play, Home


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: