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
Unlike the past two years when Marquette had six scholarships available, only three roster spots will need to be filled as Jimmy Butler, Joe Fulce, and Dwight Buycks will have used up their eligibility. Of course, the Golden Eagles know that could easily change with the possibility of players transferring during or after the season.
Ranked as the number two overall prospect by Scout.com and fourth by ESPN, Miller is one of the crown jewels of the 2011 class. At 6-9, he is as athletically gifted as any high school senior and defines the phrase “high flyer.” The Chicago native who now plays for Westchester Prep in North Carolina is reportedly considering Kentucky, Baylor, Kansas, UCLA, Duke, Wake Forest, and Oklahoma, and visited Louisville this past weekend.
He recently tweeted, “Yea I just added Marquette to my list.” I am sure a big reason why MU is now on Miller’s radar stems from the friendship that he struck with Golden Eagle freshman Vander Blue when the two were playing for the U.S. U-18 team this summer in San Antonio. If Buzz and Blue can pull the coup of the year and convince Miller to choose Marquette rather than the national powers on his list, it would undoubtedly be the biggest score in the history of the program. It is thinking big, but realistically I would not hold my breath.
Marquette has also recently made the short list for three talented shooting guards. Nick Faust, a 6-4 Maryland native, has narrowed his finalists to Marquette, Maryland, Florida State, and Oregon State with Memphis and Kansas also in picture. Faust is the 25th-ranked recruit in the 2011 class by ESPN and 41st by Scout.com.
Buzz has a track record of dipping into the talented Texas pool to find recruits and could be doing so again with 6-3 D’Angelo Harrison who is ranked 60th and 44th respectively by Scout.com and ESPN. His list has been trimmed down to three schools: Marquette, Baylor, and St. John’s. Another Harrison, Demarcus, includes Marquette among his final four with BYU, Clemson, and Florida State. Demarcus is 6-4 and the 38th rated shooting by Scout.com, 93rd overall prospect by ESPN.
Scout.com recently updated their top 100 rankings for the 2011 class and four others on that list are considering Marquette:
30th-Rashad “Ky” Madden, SG from Arkansas (According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, he has reportedly set up visits with Baylor, Arkansas, Ole Miss, UConn, and may visit Oklahoma State. No mention of Marquette though.)
49th-Rodney Hood, SF from Mississippi (ranked 30th by ESPN)
66th-Mike Shaw, PF from Illinois (ranked 69th ESPN, reportedly has an in home visit with DePaul today)
94th-Naadir Tharpe, PG from New Hampshire (ranked 66th by ESPN)
17th ranked B.J. Young, a point guard from Missouri also had an offer from Marquette but gave a verbal commitment to Arkansas over the holiday weekend. ZagsBlog.com also just reported that Phil Greene, a 6-2 combo guard from Chicago, has the Golden Eagles listed as one of nine schools he is interested in.
Buzz is also battling Tom Crean and Indiana for a recruit in the 2012 class. According to IndyStar.com, 6-5 wing DeJuan Marrero from Indiana has already visited MU and has a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers. He is also expected to visit Xavier this weekend.
St. John’s Steve Lavin and Rutgers’ Mike Rice have already made recruiting splashes just a few months on the job while Oliver Purnell figures to land better talent at bottom-feeding DePaul making the always competitive Big East even more of a battleground. If Williams can keep up what he has been doing in his first couple years on the job, In Buzz We Trust.