Long-time Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski was introduced as the new Marquette head basketball coach on Tuesday. The first-time head coach has helped recruit some of the top talent in the country for the past decade but now faces a new challenge at Marquette because let’s be honest; Duke recruits itself and Marquette is not Duke.
At the McDonald’s All-American Game Media Day on Tuesday, I spoke with several players who Wojo helped recruit and they had nothing but positive things to say about how Wojciechowski gets after it on the recruiting trail.
Duke has four McDonald’s All-Americans in the 2014 class. Steve Wojciechowski was the lead recruiter in getting 6’4 shooting guard Grayson Allen to choose the Blue Devils. “I always liked talking to him,” Allen said when I asked him about Wojo’s style of recruiting. “He was straight forward with me and always told it how it was… The recruiting process and how it is now, it can get hectic with the unlimited calls and texting rules. He did the perfect combination of keeping up with me but not being over-bearing and annoying.”
“His honesty really stood out,” Allen continued. “I always knew I could believe what he was saying because it was always backed up. No promises, no guarantees or anything like that, and I always respected that. It’s sad to see him leave the Duke program. It’s a loss for us. I’m really happy for him. I think he’s going to do really big things at Marquette.”
Wojciechowski wasn’t the lead recruiter for small forward Justice Winslow but did make a memorable mark on the top 20 recruit. “I wish he was coming back,” Winslow said of the new Golden Eagles head coach. “I had a lot of fun with him on my visits. He has a great sense of humor. He was always someone I could trust, get an honest opinion from.”
“From the basketball side, he has great knowledge of the game. He’s learned a lot from Coach K; playing for him and being an assistant. I think from a recruiting standpoint, he’ll be great.”
Blue Devil point guard recruit Tyus Jones chimed in, “(Wojciechowski) has a great passion for the game. He has a great work ethic in terms of coaching and really has pride in that. I think he’ll be very successful at Marquette.”
Wojciechowski was the lead recruiter for power forward, Reid Travis as well. Travis ended up choosing Stanford but echoed the sentiments of the Duke commits about Wojo’s abilities to recruit. “Just his connection. I feel like some coaches there is just a generation gap. I felt like I could talk to him about anything. It was nice to be able to build that relationship and he’ll do just fine at Marquette.”
The first recruiting task for Steve Wojciechowski to tackle at Marquette is contacting the commits Buzz Williams had signed before bolting for Virginia Tech. Top 100 recruits Ahmed Hill and Sandy Cohen have already signed their letters of intent as has forward Marial Shayok and seven-footer Satchel Pierce. Forward Malek Harris committed to Marquette but has yet to sign his NLI.
During his introductory press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Wojo said he had yet to reach out to any of the 2014 recruits but planned on doing so as soon as possible. “The transition of losing a coach is a difficult one. The number one thing I need to do is work right away to build a great relationship with the young men so we have the same vision for what’s gonna be going on moving forward. That is my priority over the next couple of days and I will be working tirelessly at that.”
Hopefully Wojciechowski will also work tirelessly to land one of the top 2015 recruits, Diamond Stone of Whitefish Bay Domincan High School near Milwaukee who has been a major target for Marquette. If his past is any indication of how the future will play out, Marquette should be in good hands with Steve Wojciechowski hitting the recruiting trail.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks