August 10, 2006
VERBAL COMMITMENT ALERT: Trevor Mbakwe (PF), Mendota Heights, MN
Article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Mbakwe's commitment: Forward from Minnesota Chooses Marquette
.Projected 2007-2008 Roster:Seniors:
Ousmane Barro (C), Dan Fitzgerald (F), Lawrence Blackledge (F)Juniors:
Wesley Matthews (WG), Dominic James (PG), Jerel McNeal (SG), Dwight Burke (BF)Sophomores:
David Cubillan (G), Lazar Hayward (G/F), Maurice Acker (PG)Freshmen:
Scott Christopherson (G), Trvor Mbakwe (PF)2008 Early Commit:
Nick Williams (SG)
With a talented stockpile of guards on the roster and only their only two scholarship seniors for the 2006-2007 season being big men (Jamil Lott and Mike Kinsella), the most pressing need for the Golden Eagles on the recruiting trail was for the frontcourt. Tom Crean and his excellent staff at Marquette took a major step forward in solidifying their frontcourt of the future with a verbal commitment from 6'8, 240 lb Trevor Mbakwe.
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Mbakwe also had serious interest in (and from) Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida and Georgetown, but it was Marquette's long standing relationship with him (he visited unofficially first as a sophomore) and their immediate need for big men that won him over. Mbakwe has also taken notice of Dwayne Wade, Steve Novak and Travis Diener reaching the NBA as a helpful factor in his decision.
Mbakwe should have a considerable impact early at Marquette as he is already a strong defensive player and rebounder with excellent athletic ability and strength. he definitely looks ready for the Big East and the Golden Eagles will give him every chance to play a lot early on. He has plenty of time to continue to improve his offensive skills, but he will have no problem giving Tom Crean's program a lift inside on both ends of the floor.
With Scott Christopherson and Mbakwe in the fold for 2007, and an early 2008 commitment from Alabama shooting guard Nick Williams, Marquette will continue to look for an additional big man with their last (currently) available scholarship. Keaton Nankivil of Madison Memorial in Wisconsin, Idris Hilliard from The Hun School in New Jersey, Nyal Koshwal of Boys to Men Academy in Chicago, DeJuan Blair of Schenley HS in Pittsburgh, George Good of Missouri and Jerai Grant of famed Dematha Catholic in Hyattsville, MD look to be the targets they are the heaviest on. Hilliard and Goode are more combo-forwards while Blair, Koshwal and Grant seem to be more of a PF, much like Mbakwe, so his commitment might soften some of the interest those players have in Marquette. Nankivil is also a 6'8, 245 lb PF, but his game could be more of a compliment to Mbakwe, but getting him over Wisconsin is a tall order (with Boston College making a push, too). They might also begin looking at more true centers in the class as well.
Although they look to be set on guards, they still have been spotted on occassion looking at players such as Jacob Pullen from Illinois over the summer. At this point, though, I expect Marquette to exhaust all avenues after big men first, before turning up the heat on any of the guard prospects in 2007.
As always, for more information on Marquette recruiting and their program, visit Cracked Sidewalks on the blogger network which is a blog dedicated to Marquette basketball.
We will also try and keep everyone up to date on Marquette's quest for a big man!