Marquette received a verbal commitment today from Arizona State transfer Trent Lockett, a 6-foot-4 guard with one year of eligibility remaining.
Lockett tweeted this morning, “I’ve been a sundevil since 16. I love and appreciate the people and experience at ASU. Saying that, I am excited to finish my last yr at MU!”
A second team All-Pac 12 member last year, Lockett graduated today after three years at Arizona State. He majored in business communications, had a 3.3 GPA and also was named to the Pac 12 All-Academic team.
He chose between Marquette and Iowa State, telling the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Enlund that the Golden Eagles’ recent NCAA Tournament success and the school’s focus on basketball led to his decision.
The move to Milwaukee also puts Lockett closer to home and his mother, who is currently battling cancer.
So how does Lockett fit in, and where will he benefit Marquette most?
First and foremost, Lockett will provide senior leadership to a team losing its two seniors, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. Marquette’s two seniors next year, Junior Cadougan and Chris Otule, are not the most vocal leaders on the team, but Lockett should step in and lead by example from day one.
As seen by his three-year graduation and impressive grade point average, Lockett will also lead by example in the classroom. It never hurts to have a graduate student who is serious about schoolwork around the rest of the team.
It’s no secret Buzz Williams loves length, and Lockett plays bigger than his size. An athletic wing, Lockett grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game in 2011-’12, a year after he averaged 5.3 boards per game his sophomore season.
His 15.7 defensive rebounding percentage last year would have ranked second on Marquette, and his commitment to the glass will help ease the loss of Crowder, far and away Marquette’s best rebounder last year.
Lockett’s solid frame and long arms will allow him to guard more than one spot on the floor. His 2.7 steal percentage last year also would have been second on Marquette, and his ability to play multiple positions will help Buzz Williams rotate the rest of the back court with more flexibility.
Lockett isn’t the outside shooter Marquette could have used with the losses of Johnson-Odom and Crowder, but he is highly efficient with the ball. He is best when getting to the lane where he drew almost five fouls per game, more than Crowder and the same as Johnson-Odom. Lockett shot a 71.1 percent from the free throw line last year, up from 66.2 percent his sophomore season.
From the outside, Lockett seemed to pick his shot selection wisely. He only took 51 3-pointers last year, but made 21 of them (41.2 percent). He doesn’t look to shoot from the outside, but he can hit them when the opportunity is there.
Lockett stated his reasons for choosing Marquette over Iowa State, but one has to be that he will be inserted into the starting lineup. A potential NBA prospect, he isn’t coming to Milwaukee to play in a reserve role.
With Junior Cadougan all but a lock to start at point guard, Lockett should enter as the “small forward” of Marquette’s three-guard offense.
That would leave one open spot, where Vander Blue would give Marquette a defensive boost. Todd Mayo, however, would give the Golden Eagles a much-needed 3-point threat, something Cadougan and Lockett do not provide.
Another wildcard is junior college guard T.J. Taylor, who would give Marquette the most versatility as a shooting guard who can handle the ball if needed. The sophomore lefty seems Big East-ready, but will need to prove his defensive worth to have a shot at the starting lineup.
A potential lineup of Cadougan, Blue, Lockett, Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule would be one of, if not the best defensive starting lineup in the Big East next year. The biggest question for next year’s team, of course, is who will make up for Johnson-Odom’s and Crowder’s scoring.
With Davante Gardner and (potentially) Mayo coming off the bench, the balance of Marquette’s offense and defense is really rounding into form.
Williams also has one more scholarship for 2012, but may bank it to use on the loaded 2013 class. Sophomore walk-on Jake Thomas may see minutes, which would give Williams more freedom in using or not using the last scholarship.
Lockett fills Marquette’s two biggest needs in 2012: leadership and scoring. He isn’t taking any plays off and could really thrive in Marquette’s up-tempo offense. Last year the Sun Devils played one of the slowest games in the country (63.6 possession per game), so Williams must see something in Lockett’s game that will transition well to Marquette’s style (71.4 possessions).