The Marquette Men’s basketball team officially began their 2008-9 basketball season with a Midnight Madness over the weekend. I thought that this made it a good time for a preview of
Luckily for Buzz, he inherits one of the top backcourts in the country with Seniors Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews. These three came in as one of the most highly regarding recruiting classes in
James struggled down the stretch last season with a wrist injury, and hopes to return to the form that he exhibited during his Freshman year. If his teammates can continue to rise in offensive production, James can probably excel as the team’s #2 option, while focusing a bit more on distribution of the basketball as he did as a Freshman playing with Steve Novak.
James’ struggles allowed McNeal to step into the role as the team leader on both ends of the court. He has always exhibited strong defensive skills (Big East Defensive Player of the Year, two years ago) which helped a team that last year relied heavily on its defense, holding opponents to just 93.8 points/100 possessions, which was 10th best in the country when adjusted for strength of schedule. McNeal’s improvement on offense will help the team to have reliable scoring options.
At the power forward position,
The bench provides many question marks going into the season. Key backcourt reserve David Cubillan, is recovering from double shoulder surgery to repair both rotator cuffs. It is unknown how his recovery will progress and if he will return to the impressive shooting behind the arc that he exhibited two years ago. The other returning backcourt player is Mo Acker, who last year distributed the ball well, and was able to knock down shots when he was open; however, listed at 5’8”, he is simply too small for the college game and opponents were able to take advantage of him defensively.
The departure of Crean led to the decimation of
With the return of their core from a team that was a last second shot away from the Sweet 16,