99 in 99: #33 Marquette Golden Eagles

Marquette basketball

I realize I might be homering a tad bit by placing Marquette this high especially when my college hoops man-crush Jay Bilas picked them to finish 10th in the Big East.  Low outside expectations are nothing new to a Golden Eagle team that has not finished lower than 5th place in the Big East since entering the conference in 2005-2006.  So on second thought, I think 33rd is a perfect pre-season fit for MU.

Be warned; this edition of our “99 in 99” college basketball preview series is not like the others.  It is wordy, nerdy, and more in-depth than the others.  But it is my team… so deal with it.  Click here if you missed teams #34-#99.

By: David Kay
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2011 Marquette Basketball Recruiting Update

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Recruiting is the lifeline of college basketball.  These days, the battle for a kid’s commitment is exponentially more competitive and begins earlier and earlier (Tom Crean and Indiana just received a verbal from a kid in the class of 2014 who has not even played in a high school game yet.) And sometimes, that commitment doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight.  With the open recruiting period beginning today, college coaches around the country are putting their foot on the gas in hoping to land the top available talent.

Entering his third season as head coach at Marquette, Buzz Williams has done an incredible job in landing recruits who are filled with talent. (Check out the latest installment of Marquette: Revealed for Buzz’s difference between talent and a talented player.  Good stuff.)  He has also brought in players who did not last long at MU and ended up taking their talents elsewhere or never even enrolling at the university.

Whatever the case may be, the 2011 class is starting to hone in on their college decisions and the Golden Eagles are in the mix for several top recruits including a consensus top five player in Quincy Miller.

By: David Kay
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Vander Blue spurns Wisconsin for Marquette


By: David Kay

After committing to Wisconsin at the end of his sophomore year and then de-committing in May to re-open the recruiting process, Madison Memorial senior guard Vander Blue has decided that he will play his college basketball at Marquette.

I spoke with Blue’s grandfather, Art Wilson, early Sunday evening and Wilson told me that Blue made the decision on Sunday after a family meeting; choosing Marquette over Wisconsin and UConn.  Blue plans to officially sign with MU during the November signing period.

blue-3Wilson said that Blue, who attended Marquette Madness Friday evening, picked Marquette because of the chemistry he felt with the current players on the Golden Eagles’ roster which includes Blue’s former high school teammate, Jeronne Maymon.  Former Golden Eagle Wesley Matthews is also a Madison Memorial graduate.  Wilson also said that Blue took into consideration the styles of play when making his decision which makes sense since he excels in transition which is more Marquette’s style than Wisconsin’s.

This is a major get for Buzz Williams as Blue is a consensus top-40 national recruit by every major scouting web-site.  A 6’4 combo guard who can handle the basketball, run the floor, and was an improved outside shooter during his junior season at Madison Memorial, Blue helped lead the Spartans to a state championship in which he was named tournament MVP.

The addition of Blue solidifies the Marquette backcourt for the next few years.  Freshman point guard Junior Cadougan will take a medical redshirt year after rupturing his Achilles tendon during conditioning this off-season and will still have freshman eligibility at the start of the 2010-2011 season.  Add in Juco transfers Darius Johnson-Odom who is a sophomore and Dwight Buycks, a junior, and the recent tradition of strong guard play at Marquette will almost certainly continue.

Plus, Williams has already received a verbal commitment from 6’6 wing player Jamail Jones, ranked 61st in the class of 2010 by ESPN.com.  Jimmy Butler still has two years of eligibility remaing while fellow wing players Erik Williams and Maymon are freshmen.

vander-trophyBlue’s commitment leaves Marquette with two available scholarships for the 2010 class.  With the backcourt and wings seemingly set, it would make sense for Williams to pursue a big man or two to add some depth inside especially with the recent legal issues involving one-time commit Monterale Clark, who will not suit up for the Golden Eagles.

Badger fans are ticked off and deservingly so, because Blue is a tremendous pick-up for Marquette and could really be a college stand-out.  Having covered Blue for the past two seasons, I cannot begin to describe how excited I am for him to be joining the Blue and Gold.