Before the 2012 season begins, Paint Touches will look at how Buzz Williams and Marquette can finish their 2013 recruiting class. As it stands, Marquette has one open scholarship for the class. If Chris Otule does not return for a sixth season, Marquette would have two open spots. With Todd Mayo’s future uncertain, and the fact that at least one player has transferred in each of Williams’ five seasons as head coach, multiple scholarships may still be available even if Otule does return.
If another college coach in the country coined the phrase “switchable” before Buzz Williams, he certainly hasn’t used it as frequently or religiously as Marquette’s head coach in his four-plus years of recruiting.
Loosely defined, Williams’ switchables are forwards who have the athleticism to guard taller forwards and defend the perimeter. On offense, Williams’ perfect switchable can scrap around the basket and has range to the 3-point line.
Through five recruiting classes, Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder have best defined what Williams has tried to do with his switchables. Jamil Wilson certainly has the potential, but still has not tapped into his full potential like Butler and Crowder did by their senior seasons.
Wilson will be a senior in 2013, and he may even be Marquette’s best player in 2012 as a junior. And while he was asked to play more inside last year because of the roster make-up, his length and athleticism make him a perfect fit as a switchable. He says he feels more comfortable playing outside, but again, as any good switchable can, Wilson can do both and do both well.
Juan Anderson had a roller coaster of a freshman season, and while he didn’t project to play much anyway, a suspension and shoulder injury slowed his progression. It’s hard to determine where Anderson will be in two years, but added muscle, natural progression and more opportunities to play means Anderson could very well be a role player by 2013. As it stands, Anderson projects as more of a perimeter-based switchable.
Then there’s freshman Steve Taylor. The second option to Jabari Parker at Simeon Career Academy, Taylor was instrumental in helping the Wolverines to three state titles. His best asset in high school was his rebounding, and for what it’s worth he didn’t back down against Davante Gardner in the Milwaukee Pro-Am last month. That’s hardly enough evidence to determine where he will primarily line up at Marquette but, at 6-foot-8, Taylor looks like more of an inside threat, where he’s more polished at this point.
Incoming 2013 freshman Deonte Burton doesn’t have a post game at this point in his career, but he can get to the basket and has outside range. Based on a small sample size of film and scouting reports, he compares closest to Butler.
In 2013, it doesn’t seem Williams would pick and choose between an inside or outside-based switchable, because in a perfect would his recruits can do both.
But with Gardner and Chris Otule set to graduate after the 2013 season, 2014’s team is small inside. That could mean Williams looks for a power forward or center, but if he opts for a switchable that player is likely to be a stronger rebounder than anything, much like Taylor.
This is also the position where Williams has the most flexibility. Wilson, Taylor, Anderson and Burton are likely interchangeable at the “3” and “4” positions in Marquette’s schemes, with the three being outside and the four being inside.
Williams loves interchanging his switchables, as the name would suggest, so if he opts to recruit one, his track record says that player will be a contributor down the line. As Williams’ roster continues to transition, expect as many as switchables as he can his hands on.