What does Dawson Garcia mean for Marquette?

Dawson Garcia, a 6-11 power forward from Minnesota, committed to Marquette on Wednesday afternoon, becoming the 3rd best recruit to choose Marquette in the modern era, and second best in Wojo’s tenure, according to 247 Sport’s combined rankings.

He’s really good.

Some are divided if he’s 1-and-done good, but needless to say, a near 7-footer who can dribble like a guard and has range beyond the 3-point line is an enormous pull for this staff. He will make an impact from Day 1.

In immediate terms, it vaulted Marquette’s class rating, which already included two long, highly-rated 4-star forwards in Oso Ighodaro and Justin Lewis, up to the top-10 at this point, and the top one in the Big East, with two scholarships still open.

Those are the facts. But what do those facts mean in relation to Marquette’s future?

WOJO CAN STILL RECRUIT

For starters, it confirms that Wojo still has it on the recruiting trail. After two relatively subpar classes (mostly due to lack of playing time available), the staff was able to sell the openings in the roster outlook to not just one coveted power forward, but 3 of them. Dawson, Oso and Justin will probably be used interchangeably in the 3-5 spots next year, but getting 3 commitments in a short time span from 3 players playing the same position really is a feat in and of itself.

But I don’t think many doubted Wojo’s recruiting in isolation, but rather there was a specific concern that the Hauser’s sudden departure in the face of a potential top-10 team would give potential recruits pause before committing to play for that coach. And yet, Hausergate had no immediate impact. In fact, losing Joey, a forward himself, probably had something to do with being able to land all these forwards. (That’s not to say it was a good thing to lose Joey or that these recruits themselves are better than Joey, simply pointing out where that loss might have made a positive impact in the eyes of these particular recruits.)

STAN IS THE MAN

But I’d be remiss to give the plaudits to Wojo alone on this catch. It appears that Stan Johnson was the lead recruit for Dawson. And seeing as Dawson listed his connection to the coaches as one of the deciding factors, Stan deserves yet another ovation.

CE: When it comes down to it, what will be the deciding factors for the one school that you choose?

DG: Deciding factor will definitely be my relationship with the coaches and their vision for me.

If you follow Marquette recruiting closely, you already are very familiar with Stan’s recruiting prowess. He got high profile five stars like Quentin Grimes and Nico Mannion to the table in the last two years, just missing out to Kansas and Arizona, respectively.

And he owns the Southwest. Arizona natives Markus Howard and Brendan Bailey both decommitted from Arizona State to follow Stan to Marquette, while Osa is just the latest Arizona recruit to make his way up North. And that’s not to mention the deft touch with western transfers like Koby McEwen, Jayce Johnson and Katin Reinhardt.

It’s safe to say Marquette hasn’t had anyone that connects with high schoolers better than Stan and Marquette has had plenty of great recruiters. This article gets at it from Brendan’s point of view.

The only thing that surprises me with Stan is that he hasn’t been nabbed by a school in the Pacific time zone yet.

HUGE SELL TO 2020 GUARDS

Marquette still has two opening left for net season, and with Markus coming off the books, I’d expect the staff’s full attention will turn to recruiting guards now.

It came up just short for RJ Davis last month, but with the frontline set, there will be an additional need for ball handlers, even if Koby, Greg and Symir are still returning.

The minutes are there to be won. The roster is constructed fairly well, too. What is missing is a bit of scoring and shooting prowess, so expect Marquette to target that specifically.

If you’re looking for a name, I’d think Karim Mane, a 5-star guard from Canada might be one to keep an eye on. He has an official visit set for January and could be an attractive piece to add to this particular class.

RAISED EXPECTATIONS

As for the actual on-court product, which is the only thing that matters, adding Dawson raises expectations for next season immediately. He is not a surefire first rounder like Henry was, just yet, but it’s also clear that the pieces in place around him are better than what Henry had to work with at Marquette. Two returning starting seniors in Koby and Theo John as well as experienced wings in Bailey, Greg and Cain  will bolster the rising youth.

Is that enough to say the post-Markus transition won’t be painful, that will depend on what we see from the team the rest of this year. But as of today, adding Garcia has raised expectations from a rebuild to more of a regroup.

COOL SEAT

One final observation. Wojo’s contract was restructured and extended with an implicit understanding that this was done for recruiting reasons, as we laid out in May.

So Marquette basically had 2 choices: extend Wojo and alienate a fed up fanbase, or fire Wojo and start from scratch. Letting Wojo coach for his job this season without any security would put 2020 recruiting completely at risk, and damage the program no matter who was at the helm.

And trust me, while the admins aren’t exactly effusive with their praise in public, Wojo does indeed have their backing, as the trajectory of the team has been seen as 100% positive, up until the Hausers transferred, at least. They didn’t want to rebuild and extend a 5 year stretch of poor results another 2-3 years.

I theorized that a season of negative results might still have him on the block. And yet, with this class in check, it’s almost guaranteed that outside of NCAA issues, Wojo will be the head coach going into the 2021 season and beyond.

Dawson Garcia’s decision has already had a profound impact on Marquette without even having to step on the court.

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Categories: Home, Recruiting

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