When I was I kid (boy, do I sound old saying that), we had a big sledding hill in our sub-division. Comprised of heaping amounts of dirt, the hill formulated due to the digging and development of our neighborhood back in 1994. Over time, it became a mountain. Growing up, I prayed for as much snow as possible. You can probably guess why…no school and lots and lots of sledding. All of my friends in our small neighborhood made a routine pilgrimage to the ‘big mountain’, as we called it, for an entire day’s worth of sledding, creating new slopes, having snowball fights, and forcing deliberate crash collisions while sending four sleds down the hill at once. “The more snow the better!” I use to say. Now, that I’ve grown up…
…I hate snow, cold weather, and the seasonal nightmare of winter (except for one specific time during the year. I’ll explain shortly).
First and foremost, I hate driving in it. My little 2001 Honda CRV (the ultimate road-trip car, mind you) doesn’t have anti-lock brakes or four-wheel drive. While going through a blizzard, I’m out there driving like a little old woman, 20 under the speed limit. Back in high school, I crashed my car into a snow pole at night after a lane hadn’t been plowed. I lost complete control of my car because the brakes locked up. Another time, I almost rear-ended somebody because my car refused to come to a complete stop on a snowy road. So, any time I depart while it’s snowing, I always fear of a bigger accident. With all the commuting I do between K-town and Milwaukee, I pray that I can get through the winter without driving through too many snow storms. Snow has become my worst enemy.
Secondly, just the thought of being cold, gives me the chills (no pun intended). I’m convinced my bedroom has poor insulation. Of all the rooms in our house, mine is the coldest; perhaps colder than the basement! To make matters worse, there’s only one vent in my room! When I sleep, I have four layers of blankets, including a heated-blanket. Even though, I manage to sleep well, I dread getting out of bed in the morning. My parents do the best they can to save money on heating, especially when they’re not home. Since I’m the only Zenzola in the house on the weekdays, why would they want to keep the heat on just for me? I don’t even bother to argue…
I also hate when my hands are super dry; I hate scraping ice and snow off my car; I hate shoveling it off the drive way. Winter does not put me in the best of moods…
Finally, with old man winter kicking me in the butt, I can’t improve on my golf game. No wonder why the top professionals in the world come from the south! If I could play year-round, my odds of breaking 40 would greatly increase. Instead, my game is put on hold for close to five months. Indoor driving ranges and my little putt-putt in the basement is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t improve anything. The only way you can measure your game is by playing the course. It’s a recurring theme every year, though, with my golf game. I struggle between March and May, get things moving from June to August, and then I’m on fire going into October.
Here’s the only thing I like about winter – cross country skiing. Although I’ve grown out of sledding, cross-country skiing is a hell of a workout! I pray for a ton of snow when I’m in Door County. Our timeshare has a large trail going around the property and through the woods. Their snowmobiles create ski tracks, allowing us to glide through the snow. Plus, I enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, the wonderful and distant sounds of nature, and taking in the fresh air while skiing through the beautiful scenery of Door County.
No matter how far I go in this business, I would prefer to stay in Wisconsin. I’m crazy, right?! Outside of the insanely brutal winters, the other three seasons are great! At least in Wisconsin, the threat of earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes are obsolete. A few thunderstorms and a rare tornado are easy to cope with. When winter rolls around, though, get me as far away from this state as possible.
Luckily for 18 days in January, I’ll be in a slightly warmer climate – Europe. In London, it’s typically in the 50s, while Barcelona gets close to 60-70 degrees. Munich will probably be just like Wisconsin, though (thank God, I won’t have to drive!)
Speaking of Europe, if you’re a fan of European soccer (or football), stay tuned for some soccer blogs as I get closer to my trip…
But yes, if winter ceased to exist, I doubt the majority of the world would miss it.
I hate to say it, but don’t expect too much from Marquette this season.
There’s too much uncertainty. While Buzz Williams and his staff continue to be outstanding recruiters (when they follow the rules), there’s no way to tell how good this year’s team will be. You have to remember that they lost two of their BIGGEST weapons during the offseason – Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom.
To show a sample size of what those two meant to the team, take a look at this. Between both players, they averaged 35.8 points per game and 11.9 rebounds per game. If you do the math, those impressive numbers amount to 47.5 and 32.8 percent of Marquette’s team totals from last season. There’s no question that the players on this year’s roster will have some serious shoes to fill. The question is - who’s going step up?
If Marquette can stay healthy, unlike last season, they could be a little more legit. The return of center Chris Otule is a major boost. I’m expecting a big year from Otule because he’s going to have something to prove as a senior. Forward Davante Gardner is also an intriguing figure in the low post. At 6’8’’ and 290 pounds, this big boy was a force to reckon with last season, while he was healthy. His height has been an issue, but Gardner makes up for it in his bulky weight. Driving to the hoop, opposing players may be running into a brick wall. If Buzz decides to start Otule with Gardner, that could be a dangerous combo. I’m also a big fan of Jamil Wilson. While he doesn’t have the height or size of the other two, that kid can shoot and get you boards. He’s going to get a lot of playing time going forward. Also, Juan Anderson is a good off-the-bench defender and freshman forward Steve Taylor, Jr. is getting a lot of love from Buzz. These frontcourt players can get you points in the paint as well.
From a frontcourt perspective, Marquette can survive if those five players remain healthy. However, when it comes to the backcourt, I’m very skeptical. This team has a boat-load of guards (eight to be exact). To me, they all have question marks on their heads. It appears Buzz Williams will start Junior Cadougan, Vander Blue, and transfer senior Trent Lockett against Ohio State tonight. Can these three players make up at least some of the offense that Crowder and DJO left behind? Let’s look at the numbers…
Last season with significant minutes, Cadougan averaged 6.3 points per game, shooting only 38 percent from the field, 24 percent from three-point land. When it came to free throws, he was close to 69 percent. He averaged close to two rebounds and three turnovers per game as well. Like Otule, Cadougan is a senior this year. While his numbers last season are disappointing, he still has a lot of talent. His speed, agility, and mobility could play a big factor in hisperformance. I’m hoping he has a more improved season.
With so many expectations coming from Madison, Vander Blue has underperformed. I’m still waiting for this kid to take his game to the next level. Taking a look at his numbers last season, Blue averaged about 26 minutes, shooting 41 percent from the field, about 25 percent beyond the arc, and around 70 percent in free throws. Blue averaged 8.4 points per game. He was a decent rebounder with close to five boards per game. It’s time for Vander Blue to show who he really is. Will the real Vander Blue please stand up?
Then, there’s Trent Lockett, a transfer guard from Arizona State. Of the three starting guards, Lockett is the most intriguing. In his last two seasons with ASU, Lockett averaged 13 points per game. Playing over 30 minutes per game, Lockett has maintained a shooting percentage around .500 in his last three seasons. Last year, he was 41 percent from three point land. He can get you rebounds and assists, but his turnover rate has been a little high. If there’s someone that can make up for some of the offense, I would choose Trent Lockett. It will be interesting to see how he makes the transition from the PAC-12 to the Big East, though.
As for Todd Mayo, I don't know if he's going to amount to anything. He needs to get his act together quickly. I guess him and Buzz have established a better relationship...Only time will tell if this team needs him badly...
As for the other five guards on this team, I don’t know too much about them. Once MU gets into Big East action, we’ll see which guards become solid off-the-bench options for Buzz Williams. I am expecting sophomore guard Derrick Wilson, though, to have more of an expanded role this season, than last season.
As you can see, there is a lot of talent here, probably more defensive than offensive. I can’t say any of these players are garbage either. Once again, though, you’re asking for a lot of players to take their games to a level like Crowder and DJO did. I don’t believe any of these players on this Marquette team are NBA bound as of right now. Marquette will be competitive and may crack the Top 25 throughout the season. Don’t expect them to reach the Top 10, though. With a chance of being on the bubble, they should still make the NCAA Tournament in March.
Final record for the season: (this excludes invites and the Big East Tourny) 18-11
Big East record: 11-7
Where will they finish in the Big East?: 7th place overall