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Marquette Madness news and notes

The 2012-2013 Marquette campaign kicked off in impressive fashion Friday night with Marquette Madness at the Al McGuire Center.

There’s not a whole lot to take away from Friday night’s activities, if anything, but if one thing is apparent it’s this: Buzz Williams has his most athletic team in five seasons since he took over for Tom Crean.

Marquette players weren’t overshadowed by the NBA players who arrived and highlighted last year’s events. Instead, the Golden Eagles took center stage in both the dunk contest and 24-minute scrimmage, leaving fans in anticipation for Marquette’s Nov. 9 matchup with Ohio State in the Carrier Classic.

Here are some of the key news and notes from Friday night’s event.

Friday night’s most impressive performer was Vander Blue. He seems to thrive in these up-and-down, back-and-forth scrimmages (Pro-Am), but he was active on defense, ran the break well and led all scorers, unofficially. He didn’t make any jump shots, which will throw up some red flags, but all signs point to Blue taking on an extended role this year.

Again, it’s only a Marquette Madness scrimmage. But Jamil Wilson looked great on the perimeter, knocking down an early 3-pointer from Lazar and Jae’s old spot at the top of the 3-point line.

Newcomer Trent Lockett is very active. In the first minute he grabbed two offensive rebounds and put both back for buckets. Vander Blue seemed to have his number on the perimeter, but that’s to be expected. Still, Lockett seems much more comfortable inside and around the basket (he did hit a corner 3). Overall, an impressive showing from the fourth-year graduate student.

Another day, another impressive showing from Davante Garnder in the post. When he makes up his mind that he’s going to the basket for two, he gets it. As it was last year, few bigs will have the opportunity to shut Gardner down without getting into foul trouble. To avoid picking up fouls, they’ll have to let him score.

Marquette’s weakness this year may be 3-pointers, but they looked comfortable from outside. Junior Cadougan hit multiple jumpers, Todd Mayo looked smooth, and Jamil Wilson and Steve Taylor even got into the action. There isn’t a dominant long-range shooter this year, but there’s plenty of talent from beyond the arc. It will be interesting to see who steps up.

I mentioned it earlier on Twitter, and I’ll say it again: Todd Mayo is changed from a year ago. I don’t know if it makes him a better basketball player or will help Marquette win games, but whatever Mayo learned during his suspension this summer it made him a new person. In a 15-minute conversation, Mayo admitted his faults, noted where he still needs to improve and what he hopes he can mean to Marquette these next three years. One year ago at media day, Mayo wouldn’t have touched on any of those three comments.

Derrick Wilson was good on the break but didn’t do much on the offensive end. There’s no real issue if he takes on a similar role to the one he had last year, but it appears that may be the case. He locked up Junior Cadougan well, but Cadougan thrives in these settings. Note* When Wilson sat, Todd Mayo played point guard and initiated a lot of offense with screens on the wing from Gardner and Steve Taylor.

All we had seen from Jake Thomas in highlight videos and Pro-Ams was outside shooting. That will be what gets him on the court this year, but he has some sneaky athleticism. He threw down a huge alley-oop dunk off a no-look pass and added a dunk off the side of the backboard with his left hand.

Chris Otule wasn’t expected to play in tonight’s game, but apparently talked his way onto the court. Earlier in the day he said he is 100 percent and will not have any limitations once the season begins. He is not expected to miss any time, which should be a huge benefit to a Golden Eagles team that is much more versatile with him in the lineup.

No one would have questioned Jamal Ferguson’s athleticism before tonight, but the 6-foot-4 guard’s back-flip display was a sight to see. He lost the talent competition to the women’s basketball team, who performed the “Gangnam Style” dance with head coach Terri Mitchell, but it was impressive nonetheless.

2013 recruit JuJuan Johnson said he had a good time on his official visit and enjoyed Marquette’s campus.

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Categories: Analysis, Game Recaps, General News, Home

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One Comment on “Marquette Madness news and notes”

  1. Tim Seeman
    October 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    more on the gangnam style dance, please

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