Thursday, April 17, 2008


April 17, 2008

COMMITMENT ALERT: Jimmy Butler, 6'6 G/F Tyler (TX) CC

Buzz Williams may soon turn Marquette into the UNiversity of Texas-Milwaukee with his recruiting efforts in the Lonestar State. His latest recruiting victory came quickly as Jimmy Butler from the Tyler (TX) CC program pledges to join the Golden Eagles next season. With the addition of Butler, Recruits Revolve In and Out (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) at Marquette as another is granted his release as well.

Projected 2008-2009 Roster:

Seniors: Wesley Matthews (WG), Dominic James (PG), Jerel McNeal (SG), Dwight Burke (BF)
Juniors: David Cubillan (G), Lazar Hayward (G/F), Maurice Acker (PG)
Sophomores: Trevor Mbakwe (PF), Patrick Hazel (F), Joseph Fulce (SF), Jimmy Butler (G/F)
Freshmen: Chris Otule (C)
Early 2009 Commitment: Erik Williams (F)

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The action has been fast anf furious at Marquette the last two and a half weeks. The wheels were put in motion on April 1st when Tom Crean accepted the head coaching position at Indiana University. What most Marquette fans felt was an April Fools joke turned into being reality and left the Golden Eagle program in an uproar. By the time the Final Four was completed in San Antonio, assistant Buzz Williams surfaced as the leading candidate for the position and was hired in the next few days. Shortly afterward, Scott Christopherson opted to transfer out of the program and recruit Nick Williams, who committed prior to Williams joining the MU staff, was released from his letter of intent in which he signed last November. Another recruit, Tyshawn Taylor of St. Anthony's in Jersey City, also requested to be released. Taylor was recruited by Williams who made a trip to Jersey City to meet with Taylor and his high school coach Bob Hurley. After the meeting coach Hurley reiterated their request to be released from the LOI, but as of April 16th, the Update on Taylor (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) showed little movement from Marquette, frustrating Hurley.

On top of that, Trevor Mbakwe, a promising young power forward was rumored to be leaving the program, and that shed some light on the peculiar choice of Tom Crean to play Mbakwe int he last several games of the season after missing the first 75% because of a knee injury. The latest Mbakwe Update from Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel puts an end to the transfer speculation as Mbakwe firmly says he will be staying put. He indicates his knee is 85% healed and he should be ready to perform full workouts sometime in May. Again, if he was never going to transfer, the decision not to redshirt him this season is VERY strange, especially, nearly a month after the season, he is still only about 85% healed and not cleared for full workouts. If he was going to transfer, he would have had to sit out another full season, essentially wasting two, so that seemed logical not to save the redshirt.

Rosiak also reports that Marquette has agreed to release Taylor from his letter of intent and both sides can now move forward.

In the middle of all this chaos, MU Moves Quickly and Signs Jimmy Butler (Milwaukee J-S) to a letter of intent as the Spring signing period opened. Butler, a 6.6 JUCO swingman from Tyler (TX) Junior College. The 6'6, 215 lb Butler was a teammate of November signee Joseph Fulce at Tyler this past season.

Butler was Tyler's leading scorer this past season, averaging 18.2 PPG and also added 7.7 rebounds a contest. Butler, like Fulce, will have three years of eligibility at Marquette and was also looking at Kentucky, Iowa State and Mississippi State.

Fulce also re-affirmed his commitment to Marquette, which was never in much doubt as he has long been linked to coach Buzz Williams. Fulce is a 6'6, 210-pound wing from Plano, Texas who, out of high school, Fulce committed to Texas A&M where he was recruited by Buzz Williams, an assistant at the time under Billy Gillispie. However, academic concerns derailed his attempt to join the Aggies and it was off to Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia. In one season there, Fulce averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds and re-opened his recruitment. In last seasons late signing period, Fulce signed with the University of New Orleans, who was coached by Buzz Williams. However, later in the spring, Williams resigned from New Orleans and opted to join the staff at Marquette as an assistant coach. Fulce was released from his letter of intent over the summer and has enrolled Tyler (TX) Junior College where he was once again recruited by coach Williams, this time to Marquette, where he will have three years of eligibility left.

Fulce and Butler joing fast-developing big man Chris Otule in the incoming class as it currently stands. Otule chose to commit to the Golden Eagle program over offers from Baylor, Rice and Nebraska. Otule is an athletic specimen for a 6'10 player, but has a ways to go yet in his basketball development. As a junior at Fort Bend Bush High School, Otule came off the bench and averaged about 5 PPG and 7 rebounds a contest. Another native of Texas, the Richmond (TX) product played this seasn for Ronnie Courtney at Fort Bend Bush. Courtney took over the high school program after a six-year stint as head coach at Division I Texas Southern University.

The connections to Texas do not end there as 2009 recruit Erik Williams is from Cypress Springs (TX) High School. Another recruit that coach Buzz Williams reeled in as an assistant will honor his commitment as earlier this past week Erik Williams Reaffirms Commitment to MU (Milwaukee J-S). The 6'7 forward had heard from Tom Crean since he moved on to Indiana, but his comfort level in Buzz Williams was the deciding factor to stay with his commitment.

As for underclassmen, in addition to Erik Williams, Jamil Wilson of Racine Horlick is the Golden Eagles top target for 2009. Coach Williams wasted little time in contacting Wilson to make it known he will continue to recruit the highly touted forward to Marquette, but the competition will include Wisconsin, North Carolina and other elite schools across America, including Indiana now as well.

With all this moving and shaking, the Golden Eagles still have once scholarship available for the 2008 season. It is unknown at this time if they are determined to use it, with all that has been going on the last two weeks, they may not even know themselves.

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.


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