"After two Marquette games we've seen two different Marquette teams play. We saw Marquette struggle in the first game to put up points. They only made 13 baskets the entire game. And the second game was on the complete opposite side of the spectrum putting up 114 points. Although Grambling State hasn't won a game in over a year, 114 points is still pretty impressive seeing that was the first time they have done that since 2010 against Mississippi Valley State (102-77). So through the first two games this is what stood out to me the most:
Free Throws: The charity stripe hasn't been kind to MU over the first two games shooting below 65% in both. The first game they put up a remarkable 53 attempts, but only made 33. And in game number 2 they put up only 31, but managed to make only make 19. The combined percentage through two games is an abysmal 62%. If the poor shooting continues at the line, you will see games lost by this team because they didn't take advantage of the freebies. And with all the fouls being called because of the new rules, it is imperative they start converting on those free points.
Derrick Wilson has not shown he's the answer at point guard: I know it's only been two games, but what I've seen so far doesn't make me confident in his abilities to be the number 1 guy. In two games Derrick has taken two shots and scored one point. I know Derrick isn't an explosive offensive player, but he at least has to attempt to look like he can score. He has had open looks, but passes them up and I have yet to see him try to drive to the basket. I don't care if he misses, I would rather have him take shot to keep his defender honest. If he doesn't shoot, it then becomes 4 on 5 offensively and that will not work against a good team. His turnover to assist ratio isn't bad. He has 13 assists and only 3 turnovers, but a bulk of his assists (9) came in the second half against Grambling State. He needs to show me more from the beginning. John Dawson subbed in at point for Wilson, and honestly I felt he did a better job running the offense. The biggest thing was that Dawson was not afraid to put up a shot, and by driving hard to the basket he was able to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Right now I feel more comfortable with freshman running the point than I do Derrick, and that worries me.
Deonte Burton is the best freshman so far: Burton's physicality has him the most ready for the physical beating that occurs in Big East play. His ability of getting to the basket and making some pretty tough shots has been really exciting to see. He is really good at creating his own shots, which is really important after the first game when only 3 guys really scored for Marquette. Burton put up 14 points and 6 rebounds against Grambling State. His instincts so far to find a way to the basket have really been impressive. Buzz even said he reminds him of Crowder in that Burton is able to create his shot when nothing is there. If Burton can continue to develop his game, he could earn some major minutes down the road.
The big test will come on Saturday against Ohio State, but through two games Marquette has shown us there's some talent here. The success will depend on how quickly they can put it together."
Our own Zach Klupchak will blog about the Marquette Golden Eagles all year! Here's his 1st installment:
Marquette opens the season tonight with one big question. Who’s going to replace 48% of their offense left from Junior, Vander, and Lockett? Stop me if you haven’t heard that before from a Marquette team. It seems every year Buzz Williams has to find a way to replace major holes left from players leaving, but with Blue’s abrupt departure this time seems different.
The good news is Buzz has his best recruiting class to date with Duane Wilson, Jajuan Johnson, and Deonte Burton, all top 100 recruits, who will look to make an impact quickly. Buzz will also return one of the best front courts in the country with Chris Otule and Davante Gardner and wings Jamil Wilson, Juan Anderson, Steve Taylor will look to improve on their success from last year.
The two guard positions will be were the most questions will come from. For the time being it looks like junior guard Derrick Wilson will run the point replacing Senior Junior Cadougan. Derrick has shown to be a great defender in his career so far, but his offense has been mostly non-existent. Buzz has already said he has begun to trust Derrick like he did Junior and with the injury to freshman Duane Wilson, Buzz will have to trust him even more.
The shooting guard position will be a battle between Jake Thomas and Todd Mayo to start out, but look for freshman Jajuan Johnson to push for minutes soon. Buzz has said Johnson has been the most impressive freshman so far. This team has the potential to be as deep as or deeper than last year. And last year’s team was able to play ten deep by the end of the season. The biggest challenge for Buzz to start off will be to find the right combination of players who fit well together and who will be able to put up the points left behind from Vander.
I honestly don’t see why this team can’t be as good as last years. They have returned everyone but three and have added a deep freshman class. As long as they can figure out the guard position and their front court stays healthy they have enough talent to make another late season run like in years past and with Buzz still the coach it will be tough to bet against that.