Monday, November 24, 2008


November 24, 2008

VERBAL COMMITMENT ALERT: Aaron Bowen, 6'5 Guard from Wolfson High School in Jacksonville (FL). Class of 2010.

There has been no denying that Buzz Williams is a hard-worker on the recruiting trail and that hard work has paid off once again as MU Gaines a 2010 Commitment (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) from Florida shooting guard Aaron Bowen last week.

Projected 2009-2010 Roster:

Seniors: David Cubillan (G), Lazar Hayward (G/F), Maurice Acker (PG)
Juniors: Patrick Hazel (F), Joseph Fulce (SF), Jimmy Butler (G/F)
Sophomores: Chris Otule (C), Liam McMorrow (C)*
Freshmen: Erik Williams (F), Jeronne Maymon (F), Dwight Buycks (JUCO G), Junior Cadougan (PG), Brett Roseboro (PF)
2010 Early Commitments: Aaron Bowen (G)

* sitting out 2008-2009 season per NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility beginning in 2009-2010.

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The commitment to Marquette from Wolfson High School junior G/F Aaron Bowen took many by surprise. The Jacksonville (FL) native Bowen missed much of the summer AAU circuit because of an injured knee, so not a whole lot is known on him outside of his local area. Last season for coach Bruce Rosebrock, Bowen averaged about 17 points, over 5 rebounds and 4 assists a game, helping one of the state's top programs to another successful season.

A Closer Look at Aaron Bowen can be found at Todd Rosiak's blog on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's website. Bowen has recently received a visit from an Auburn assistant coach and Florida, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Jacksonville were other schools involved early. A sensational 41-point performance in last year's playoffs really go the ball rolling on his recruitment and Marquette came in and stole one out of the Sunshine State.

Since April 1st, Marquette seems to be a team in the news more than anyone else in the Big East. Although the original jolt on April 1st was probably bad news with Tom Crean leaving for Indiana, since then, the news has mostly been positive and the transition from Tom Crean to Buzz Williams seems to be going pretty well.

Brent 'Buzz' Williams has proven to be a hard worked on the recruiting trail and it seems that everywhere you turn you have a player listing Marquette as a school of interest. College basketball odds are greatly impacted by your recruiting efforts as recruiting is the lifeblood of your program. Williams has gone north of the boarder, down to Texas, locally and now to Pennsylvania for recruits in the class of 2010.

Brett Roseboro is a 6-foot-9, left-handed C/BF out of Quakertown (PA) High School. One the summer circuit, Roseboro showed to be a very fundamentally sound basketball player with good hands and nice footwork in the pain to score with several post moves. For his size, he has the ability to show himself quite agile and nimble. for more on his play this summer, you can check out his player profile at CAAInsider.com: Brett Roseboro.

One week after getting Canadian 7-footer Liam McMorrow in a surprise addition to wrap up the 2008 class, Buzz Williams closed on another Canadian native as Christian Life Center Academy's Junior Cadougan verbally committed to MU in early July.

Cadougan is a native of Toronto, but has been attending prep school in Humble (TX), averaged 21 points a game last season before breaking his foot in December. The 6-foot point guard is a tough lead guard with a stocky frame and recently had a very impressive NBA Top 100 camp. Marquette was wise to get him on campus and seal the deal with him as his stock was beginning to tick upwards rapidly.

While Williams had been busy with the class of 2008, he has also secured two commitments for 2009 from local players earlier, including Dwight Buycks, who thought he was headed to the Division 1-A ranks out of Milwaukee's Bay View High School as he was verbally committed to Bradley. However, academics caught up to him and forced him to head to Indian Hills CC to complete a couple seasons at the JUCO level. After just one season at Indian Hills, the interest in Buycks became intense, especially from the new Marquette staff led by Buzz Williams and Buycks has offered an early commitment to the Golden Eagles.

The 6'3, 185 lb guard led Indian Hills is scoring last season, nearly 16 points a game, as the JUCO power finished in 6th place at the NJCAA national tournament. Buycks was also generating interest from schools such as Tennessee, Memphis, Kentucky and Illinois.

The uptempo atmosphere of the Marquette offense was a big attracting to Buycks, as well the location and a chance to come back closer to home was equally important.

Earlier this spring, for the second year in a row, and third time in the last four, Marquette lands the state of Wisconsin's player of the year. This time it is Madison Memorial's Jeronne Maymon Committing to MU (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). As a junior, Maymon averaged 21 points and nearly 12 rebounds a game and he turned it on during the state playoffs, leading Memorial to a 2nd place finish while he averaged 30.0 points, 14.6 rebounds, 4.7 blocks, 3.7 steals and 3.0 assists per game for the Spartans in the WIAA state basketball tournament. Maymon visited Marquette May 20th and has been the top target of coach Williams and his new staff since he was hired in April.

NBE Basketball Report writer Doug Ferguson saw Maymon perform with the Illinois Bobcats at the GBOA North AAU tournament and was very impressed with his play. Here is the recap and detailed scouting report on Maymon included: GBOA North AAU Report.

Buycks and Maymon join Erik Williams, from Cypress Springs (TX) High School, as players in the Marquette class of 2009. Although Maymon and Williams are listed as combination forwards, they compliment each other perfectly. Maymon is a physical bruiser who is likely to play power forward and Williams is long, lean and athletic and could play more of a role on the wing. Williams was a recruit that coach Buzz Williams reeled in as an assistant and he will honor his commitment as earlier in April Erik Williams Reaffirmed 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.

The commitment of Roseboro, on paper, fills the last available scholarship for Marquette among the class of 2009. However, Jamil Wilson, one of the top players in the state out of Racine (WI) has long been a target of the Golden Eagles since Tom Crean was the head coach. Wilson has MU on his short list, but many feel Michigan State is the team to beat here. 2010 forward prospect Tobias Harris of Long Island and NYC forward Shane Southwell are also high on the MU recruiting radar and were among the expected guests for Marquette Madness. Other underclassmen visitors for the event-filled weekend included 6-foot-1 class of 2010 guard Lavonte Dority from Foreman High School in Chicago, 5-foot-10 class of 2012 guard Antonio “Bobo” Drummond from Central High School in Peoria (IL) and 6-foot class of 2012 guard Cameron Harvey from St. Joseph High School in Westchester (IL).

It is tough to say how much the last commitment for 2008 will impact the Marquette program. It is going to take some time to find out as Liam McMorrow, a 7-foot center from Toronto, Canada, has committed to the program. McMorrow is already on campus at Marquette and will join Chris Otule, Jimmy Butler and Joseph Fulce as the new faces in Buzz Williams' program. McMorrow will sit out as a transfer in 2008-2009 and work at developing into a Big East caliber player over the next 15 months before seeing live action at the college level.

McMorrow played just one season of organized basketball, avaregd 8.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 20 league games for Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. McMorrow had been a hockey and lacrosse player for most of his life, but a late growth spurt has him on the basketball court now.

In the middle of all the chaos follwing Tom Crean's departure and the sorting out of the aftermatch, MU Moved Quickly and Signed 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, McMorrow and Butler join 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 season 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.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


November 11, 2008

In today's game, college basketball odds of winning and making March Madness are greatly enhanced by having a top-notch backcourt. New Marquette head coach Buzz Williams has just such a thing and the cornerstone has become Jerel McNeal.

McNeal, a senior from Hillcrest High School in Chicago, is one of the top players in the Big East conference. The 6-foot-3 guard has long been considered among the best perimeter defenders and rebounding guards in the country, but last season he began to show more of a complete offensive game to his arsenal.

McNeal has always filled the stat sheet, and last year was no exception with averages of 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals a game. The points, rebounds and assists were all career high averages, but more evidence of his overall improvement was the reduction in turnovers. After averaging a frightening 3.8 turnovers a game as a freshman and a sophomore, McNeal lowered his turnover rate to 2.8 a game.

McNeal was at his best last season in the post-season, trying his best Dwyane Wade impersonation in an attempt to carry the Golden Eagles in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. In the five games under the bright lights and intense pressure, McNeal averaged 23.2 points a game, including 30 in the nail biting loss to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He also averaged 6.2 rebounds, shot 84% from the line, 38% from three (12-32) and 53% from the floor (44-83), all improvements from the regular season.

At the end of last season, McNeal briefly made himself available for the NBA Draft, figuring to strike while the iron was hot. However, he quickly withdrew his name and began concentrating on his senior season with new coach Buzz Williams.

McNeal is one-third of the senior trio of guards for Marquette that also includes Dominic James and Wesley Mathews. This trip is a great resource for coach Williams in his first year as the experienced trio still has some unfinished business to attend to in the college careers. It should be an exciting season in Milwaukee as they attempt to write a final chapter on their excellent careers.


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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


November 5, 2008

Even with his numbers and effectiveness sliding each year since a standout freshman campaign, Dominic James still ranks rather high among Big East point guards in the eyes of NBE Basketball Report staffers.

James took the Big East by storm as a freshman, averaging 15 points and 5 rebounds leading the surprising Golden Eagles into contention in their Big East debut and into the NCAA Tournament. James averaged over 16 points in Big East conference games that season and showed the nation how dangerous he was scoring 57 points in back to back road wins over West Virginia and DePaul.

As a sophomore and junior James saw his numbers dip as his lack of perimeter shooting has led to more and more teams to use zone defenses against Marquette. James is still an explosive athlete that is as fast with the basketball as anyone in the nation. James is also a defensive wizard that will disrupt and opponents' offense by pressuring the ball on the perimeter.

One area James did improve in last season was nudging his assist to turnover ration above the 2:1 mark, a standard for top point guards. However, his sub-40% shooting from the field and 31% clip from three-point range continues to haunt him and makes him easier to defend by teams will to play zone to contain his speed and quickness.

This season, James also has to adapt to a new coach as Buzz Williams takes control of the Golden Eagles from Tom Crean, who recruited James to MU and was always his staunchest supporter. It does not appear that Williams will tinker a whole lot with the schemes at Marquette, so expect James to have the ball in his hands often. If James can find a way to increase his offensive efficiency with improved shooting percentages, the college basketball odds of Marquette challenging for a championship should improve greatly. James is still a weapon because of his athletic ability and his improving assist to turnover ration with his experience is good enough to keep him in the top 5 of Big East point guards, according to the NBE Basketball Report evaluators.


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